Robert Gonye —
“We must be innovative” has become a mantra for the business community. However, few really know what it is and how to go about it. This has become paramount not only for survival but for profitability. In fact if you are to be around in the future that is 3-5 years from now the ability to innovate will be indispensable. It is now considered a serious business risk to be doing things the same way. What is working today will be irrelevant tomorrow.
Firstly, I must differentiate innovation from invention. Invention is defined as creating, forming or ground breaking something completely new that has never existed before in the history of mankind. Now innovation is taking a product or a service and improving it to your advantage. It is boldly or marginally re-thinking a process, product or service and making it better.
Most business people adapt, that is respond to the innovation of their competitors which is not a bad thing in itself. However, if anything great companies are leading the change in the environment we are in for your benefit and everybody else responds to you. There are four main ways to innovate according to Alastair Campbell in his book Winners and how they succeed:
(1) By seeing a new opportunity: It is looking for new products, services with you can add to your current existing offering. What can you do to change the game and increase profits?
(2) Addressing a problem: Many aha moments come as one thinks about, define and understands the problem roots and effects. These are problems affecting you and your business. Asking the question how your business can improve is an innovative question, which many ignore to their own peril.
(3) Exploiting the problems of others: It comes from looking at what others are doing and establishing what they are doing wrong and even what they are doing right but you can do better. Understand customers’ dissatisfaction, disappointments and criticism of their current offering and you come up on way to address them now and stay ahead of future critics is the winning formula in business.
(4) Making innovation a culture: This is consciously making it a deliberate exercise in your business to improve your product or services constantly. Never arriving to the fatal destination of perceived perfection. Always looking at what your competitors are doing right and you can do better. Having an endless desire to be better and becoming better.
I must say that innovative ideas have no rank meaning, anybody within your sphere as a business can be a source of the innovative spark that your business needs as it goes into the future. One last thing so as to maintain the culture, there is need to celebrate and reward innovative ideas so as to generate more.
Robert Gonye offers corporate, individual business coaching and training to enhance business performance and profitability as a consultant. Robert will not be liable as the information given is for educational purposes and advice. User to consult their business advisers. For views and comments contact us at: [email protected]