Innovation in the equestrian world: challenging accepted wisdom

Credit : Pôle Hippolia

Tuesday 27 November - 14h35 | PH (translated)

Innovation in the equestrian world: challenging accepted wisdom

The massive Paris Horse Show, whose 2018 edition is now underway near the French capital, is an important showcase for innovation in the equestrian sector. Today, a look at some of the misconceptions regarding this term 'innovation', which is often thrown around in discussion but not always fully understood.   

 - Innovation in the equestrian world: challenging accepted wisdom

· “Innovation only happens in start-ups”: False. Every organization can innovate: businesses of all sizes, training facilities, equestrian structures, event organizers and even public and semi-public institutions. Indeed, the biggest equestrian brands have not stopped developing new products and services over the years. 

· “Innovation only has to do with computers and technology”: False. Innovation impacts every aspect of the equine industry – horse care products, nutrition, equipment, infrastructure, transport and services. While the technological evolution of the equestrian sector is real, the horse world is also witnessing other changes linked to economic, social and environmental issues.
· “Innovation only entails the creation of new products”: False. Innovation also consists of the incremental improvement of a product or service already in the marketplace, and the optimization of its performance and usage. With that in mind, a rider who appears to be using equipment resembling that of 20 years ago – whether boots, pants or anything else – likely now has a version in which numerous upgrades have been incorporated into the original design. 

· “Innovation always involves an invention”: False. What often characterizes innovation is in fact the transformation of an idea into a product or service (or an improved product or service) commercialized in the targeted market. While innovation initially concerns creators and the team that develops an idea, the full process of innovation involves numerous actors doing tests and helping respond to various requirements. From a child on a pony to a veteran Olympian, by way of jockeys and breeders, innovation concerns everyone. 

· “Innovation is always more expensive”: False. On the contrary, disruptive innovation aims to facilitate access to a certain product or service to make it more accessible to a greater number of people in terms of cost and usage. Moreover, new services like collaborative economic initiatives allowing everyone to benefit from new solutions.  
· “Innovation creates monopolies”: False. It is not because a business has a good idea that it will be the only one to do so. A monopoly is not created by an idea but rather by industrial documents like the patent. Today, hundreds of patents linked to the equestrian sector are filed every year.

Given the pace of technological evolution and the competitive environment in which companies find themselves, innovation seems more than ever essential. Depending on the type of business and product, as well as the objectives for them, one must chose the best-suited form of innovation and master the different stages of it.

For more on innovation in the equine industry from a French perspective, see here (in English). 

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