10 steps to bring INNOVATION to your BUSINESS
How can I take my business to the next level? And get into the innovation mood?
How can I take my business to the next level? And get into the innovation mood? These are questions that I hear from entrepreneurs all the time. Unfortunately, most of the content focuses on how to get inspired by new ideas, but not about how to follow a process to change the culture of innovation in business. Being an Industrial Designer and Business Strategist I know that having the right steps can enable you to take your inspiration to new heights and motivate your team to think and act differently. Here are 10 steps that can bring innovation to your business:
1. Always LISTEN!
We always hear in business about vision, but I wish the conversation included more about listening. Most companies don’t fail for lack of ideas. There are many ideas out there, but they tend to be out of time and context. It is fundamental that we always listen to what is going on in the economy, the market, the industry, and the trends.
2. Know your BUSINESS!
Believe it or not how you describe your business can limit your ability to innovate. Let me explain. If you define your business as a company that makes chairs, you will always be limited to making chairs. However, if you say that you create furniture that people want to sit in, you open the space to create amazing furniture solutions.
3. Dig into and understand the NEEDS!
The world is evolving and with that our needs. Most businesses only meet their clients’ expectations and desires. But if you search for unrecognized needs, you will have a more significant chance to innovate. Talk to your audience, understand why they buy your products and services and if you could grant them a wish, what would they desire.
4. Identify the GAPS!
Not all ideas are worth the expenditure of your resources and here is why. First, check the size of the market. If there is an exciting market and you already have the capabilities, then move ahead and use the new benefit as your key differentiator. If an unsatisfied need has a sizeable market, yet you don’t have the capabilities, then build them. This could be your future innovation. But, if the market is tiny, even if you have the capabilities, stay away, as it most likely will drain your resources. And remember, resources are not just money or materials, but it’s also your valuable time and attention, that could have been put to better use elsewhere.
5. Be ready to LEAP!
If you cannot visualize your company in the future, you will never leap and get to where you want to go. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and in the Digital Transformation era this becomes a fact. The transformation goes beyond technology, it is also a new way of working and relating to others. The new leadership role is about believing in your skills and abilities to work in groups, where you can inspire and engage others to leap with you.
6. Be a DESIGNER!
Designers always talk about alternatives that are different solutions to the same problem. Wear your designer hat and think of all possible solutions you can bring to your client needs that will improve your product, service, processes, technology, the way you connect with your users, or even your pricing strategy.
7. Love is BLIND!
Be careful, don’t fall in love with your ideas. If you get stuck with one, you will start to fall behind. Innovation is the combination of products and services that bring value and uniqueness. If your product or service only delivers value, you will be competing in price. If it’s unique but doesn’t have value, then there is no market.
8. It’s not YOURS!
You will be amazed to discover that despite the original use and purpose you determined for your products or services, clients may use them in ways you never expected, or value benefits that you didn’t consider where the most important ones. Let your customers own your products and learn from them.
9. Be BRAVE not PERFECT!
Perfection is a major innovation killer. None of the ideas you see today were ideal at the beginning, in fact, they went through a lot of hurdles. But only those who dared managed to achieve something new and different, they broke paradigms and brought innovation to life.
10. CONNECT with your AUDIENCE!
But there is more. Once you have your new ideas and innovations ready to pitch, make sure you prepare yourself to talk the same language as your audience. Many outstanding ideas fail because potential clients don’t understand the product, or service, or feel afraid about the change your innovation will bring.
Always remember, innovation is about executing ideas that create unique value. Today is the day you can start the innovation mojo in your business. Explore each of these 10 points and evaluate if you and your company are taking the right steps toward innovation.
Adriana Madrinan is the Managing Partner at Concepta Strategies. Her areas of expertise relate to business strategy and innovation. www.conceptastrategies.com