Innovation does not have to be a profound, a revolutionary success in design, invention or technology. It can be progressive – a number of baby step changes that encourage a business to adapt to the changing economic condition or marketplace.
You could view this as a method of altering the way your business functions, so that it adds extra value to the already existing products, makes things more cost-effective, improves a service or introduces a new technique.
Innovation is the backbone of many successful businesses and sometimes becomes instrumental in a firm’s ability to thrive and survive. It may not involve a brand new invention, however, does involve capitalization of your existing knowledge for the benefit of your business.
In order to create the culture of innovation, businesses should view innovation as a mandatory requirement. It should be embedded into the DNA of the business and provided an eminent place in all processes and performance evaluations. When you do what you feel is right, incorporating the small improvement that you make every day, you create a culture of innovation. A year of one small improvement made every day may lead to a revolutionary product over 365 days.
You could use innovation as a tool to fuel your company’s success. At 3M, employees spend 15% of their time in creating what they want. This time is used by the employees to generate an idea and then champion it through the 3M system. At Google, employees are expected to spend 20% of their time on whatever projects they want; this is a part of their innovation structure.
It is important to understand that failure is a stepping stone to success. If you view your failures as something that takes you step closer to success, you are bound to look at the positive value of failure and learn from your mistakes.
In this constantly changing and evolving marketplace, you require a system that collects real time feedback, analyses data and reports authentically, enabling you to decide on corrective measures. You need to monitor the marketplace, at a constant pace! You should change your approach based on what works now. What worked yesterday might not be good enough today!
3M and Apple innovated when they did not have a choice, they could either innovate or risk dying. Hence, this was done out of sheer necessity. Some companies work on this principle of feast or famine. Today, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels; that way you would have to risk failure to achieve continued success. You need to sometimes let go of the rigid assumptions, the self-doubt and the fear that limits you to innovate. When you are committed towards innovation, you will not wait for necessity and take all the necessary steps to stay competitive in the marketplace.
According to the profit equation, the most obvious method of growing your profit would be to manage or reduce costs. This is sometimes not enough. It may allow you to stay in the game; however, if you wish to flourish, innovation helps you create your position.
When you are a good observer, you become the best assimilator of information. Your brain stocks up this information for future direction. Training your brain to acquire information, asking the question “how” all the time may just lead you to your next invention.
Shifts in customer behaviors take shape quite slowly. Instead of waiting for this behavioral shift to materialize, smart businesses can play into existing behaviors and innovate to create better access for their customers. That’s how Apple created the iPod. They could have just designed a great-looking music player; however, they removed the barriers and connected customers to sharing and buying music in one simple step. Today, Apple owns the delivery of digital music via iTunes.
If you make your idea very clear at the beginning, keep it focussed, assess your capabilities carefully and look for partners who could support you with things that you do not do – you could just be on your way to creating the perfect innovative product.
Passion stimulates enthusiasm, which is required to convince your partners of what you’re doing, particularly when you require funding. Innovation is sometimes a repetitive process, with lots of trials and errors. Passion helps you progress through your failures, convinces you to continue to believe in yourselves, sometimes pushing through when things aren’t working and need revision. It constantly motivates you to persevere.
Innovation always implies creative thinking. Customers and suppliers can both be a fruitful source of inventive transformation. Your talents may actually lie in recognizing the value and the practical use of these ideas.
It is certain that your ability to innovate, even in a small way, can offer your business many advantages. It can enhance productivity, reduce costs, help forge new partnerships, attract seasoned staff and most importantly, drive up your profits. In today’s scenario, innovation is important for the survival of your business.
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