In the face of increased competition, innovation activities are becoming one of the priority types of companies' functioning. None of the business entities can implement an active policy on the market without the use of innovative potential. The main task of innovations management, as one of the conditions for improving the efficiency of its development, is to ensure its effective operation and development in the long term due to grounding and choice of promising areas for attracting innovations that significantly differentiate products (services) of the company from competitors' products. So today, investing in innovative projects that ensure the production of competitive products based on progressive means of production and management is particularly relevant. In addition, the current economic environment requires companies to pay special attention to the analysis and evaluation of the prospects for innovation.
Innovative development involves, first of all, the definition of the place and role of innovation in implementing the general policy of company development, which is being developed to achieve long-term goals in a competitive environment. Achieving success requires continuous investment attraction, the effectiveness of which is impossible without the formation and justification of business area in the long term. Moreover, such a strategy should be based on the activation of innovation activities as improving the susceptibility to innovation and their realization by industrial enterprises.
The main condition of modern economic development is not only the creation and increase of potential as such, but also the more effective use of already existing potential and ensuring its growth in those areas that can provide real socio-economic returns. In this regard, in the framework of the study, the most relevant is the study of the use of innovative potential of a company, which can be implemented on the basis of management improvement (Wang & Vergne, 2017).
Innovative companies must have a strong innovative potential (especially a sufficient material and technical part), and for "'followers'" the most important are the financial and market parts of the potential (Hyon, 2017). It is proved, that in order to carry out innovation activity, it is necessary to have a certain amount of innovative potential of the company, which determines the choice of the way of innovative development.
Each innovation requires investments, the volume of which depends on the technological complexity of innovation, the conditions of creation and development, external factors. It is especially important to provide the optimal time for innovation, which is an important factor in the sustainable development of the company (Yahia et al., 2018). Thus, untimely development or introduction of innovation causes the bankruptcy of seven firms out of ten, and successful implementation of a well-grounded innovation helps the company overcome the crisis periods (Ionescu, 2017).
Results of company innovative potential assessment provide information for developing innovative development ways at different levels: for the company as a whole (corporate level) or for a separate business unit (structural unit, activity direction, type of product, etc.).
The essence of innovation activity activation is to create conditions for effective management of innovative potential, containing an adequate information and analytical base, the mechanism of its functioning, as well as recommendations for the adoption of management decisions on the development of innovative potential. The main areas of innovation development can be: timely entry into a market with new goods (services); innovations in systems of production (supply); technological leadership; imitation of leading competitor's innovative actions; defining the limits of innovations in the product (market) portfolio; innovation activities in relevant product categories, etc.
Depending on the state and position of the company, various innovative strategies are possible on the market, the basis of which are classical strategies of "attack", "defence", "imitation", "dependence", etc. Strong innovative potential enables companies to use innovative ways of development even under adverse conditions, and favourable conditions even allow weak innovative potential to improve market positions by increasing innovation activity.
Management methods of company innovative development should be based on the results of economic diagnostics in general and the properties of its innovative potential, in particular. To do this, it is necessary: to develop a tool for assessing the achieved position of the company in the innovation development, based on the ratio of "susceptibility-realizability'to develop a unified structure of possible ways of innovative development at all levels of the company activity; to create a balanced map of company innovative development ways...