It's easy to apply for the Innovation Accreditation Programme. Simply complete the self-assessment to discover where you are on the Innovation Framework today.
Innovate NI’s Innovation Framework helped Pocket Box discover how to innovate successfully - they have used the latest technology to create an intelligent automotive app to give drivers peace of mind by managing all aspects of owning and maintaining a vehicle on one platform.
Now a Gold Level Innovator, tech entrepreneur Jim Finnegan’s Pocket Box used the four-stage Innovation Framework to take his idea to market success.
Jim, CEO of this rapidly expanding start-up which is based in Newry, identified a business opportunity; he thought he could create something to help those who found it time-consuming to locate important vehicle-related documents when they needed to pay bills, make claims or renew policies.
He believed technology could provide the answer, but how?
While innovation is crucial in developing new products and services, having a good idea is just the start of the process. That’s why the Innovation Framework is essential for businesses in Jim’s position. It supports businesses through a proven innovation management system to help develop their ideas and successfully commercialise them to create value.
The first step of the journey was ideation. Here, innovators assemble a team of people with different but relevant perspectives, from marketing to tech, including those with knowledge of the needs of potential customers, to generate ideas. Jim had identified the problem, and he wanted to create a solution that would help people manage their vehicle comprehensively, avoiding being off-road due to missing deadlines or pitfalls like penalty points and fines.
Now it was time to analyse the ideas and choose the best. At this stage, each idea is looked at and given a score, based on several criteria. Jim looked at potential budgets, was there enough value in the end product to justify developing it? How big was market demand and how much money would it take to bring it to market?
The feedback was clear, there was a definite opportunity for an innovative app to support drivers with the regulatory requirements associated with vehicle ownership. The app would allow users to move away from the traditional methods of vehicle management, and instead enable them to store and manage vehicle history and documentation electronically. It would also alert users about important renewal dates for important activities such as MOT, tax, insurance, etc.
Supported by an Innovate UK grant throughout 2019, Jim tested and refined the concept to the prototype stage. After extensive market research, he discovered that 90% of his 300 plus sample did indeed keep these documents in a drawer or shoebox, clearly validating his idea. A large percentage said they would use such an app. Jim then developed a prototype app and trialled it with potential customers, engaging with members of the automotive industry and insurance sectors as well as other colleagues. It scored well for usability, quality and performance.
This is the time to prepare essential areas such as marketing, including developing a launch strategy and selecting promotional and distribution channels.
Jim’s product has a powerful USP, an innovative automotive vehicle management app that provides a single safe and secure platform for vehicle ownership administration, with built-in renewal reminders, providing users with instant access to their vehicle data at the touch of a button.
He developed his marketing strategy which included developing an engaging brand and a fully optimised website. Pocket Box obtained approval to be listed on the App Store and Google’s Play Store and to date almost 3,000 people have downloaded the app, registering a similar number of cars on the app.
The company has also successfully secured high value deals with the key comparison websites CompareNI and Quotezone, bolstering its consumer appeal further.
Pocket Box succeeded in reinventing the way car companies communicate and interact with customers, whilst streamlining automotive work processes through the new software.
Innovation doesn’t necessarily end when a new product is launched. Companies return to the Innovation Framework to continue to innovate - Jim added a suite of updates to his smart app after launch, including a unique partnership with Belfast-based price comparison platform Seopa.
If you have a new business idea, get in touch to find out how we can help you bring it to life, creating value for your business.