We hear a lot these days about “innovation” and the need to be innovative to be competitive. But what is innovation?
Innovation is much more than just having a good idea, because ideas in isolation are of little or no value.
My colleague, Michael du Plessis defines innovation as the “Practical Implementation of New Ideas”
Sure, innovation has to start with an idea, and these ideas can come from anywhere. Generate new ideas by scouring the world, watching the market and your competition, have brainstorming sessions in house, asking your customers, but make sure you nurture “germs” of ideas from anywhere or anyone.
But an idea without action is still just an thought. It may provide inspiration, but you must do something to make that idea valuable, you must take action!! Only practical implementation of your idea will deliver results, so have a go.
And innovation is not just the domain of the business owner, managers or R&D. It is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone in your organisation can be innovative, so create a business culture that supports and encourages innovation – thinking outside the box. Support your creativity in your people. And make sure their creativity is be acted on and provide feedback on the success or otherwise of the innovative idea. Always encourage going that extra step to act on their ideas.
And innovation must take the customers point of view – this is something that is often lost in the enthusiasm of getting new ideas into practice. If the innovation is not of value to the customer or simplify the way you do business, maybe it’s not as innovative as you thought.
Innovation shouldn’t be something that needs special attention, it should become part of the way you do business – continually asking “what could I do to improve the customer experience? What could I do to simply this process? What could I do different to increase sales?
Research shows that innovation is a powerful driver for achieving better business results.
Innovation is linked to:- increased market share- high rates of growth- more profits
And when you implement a new idea, how do you know it is helping develop your business? MEASUREMENT!
Measure everything:- number of leads- value of each order- revenue- profit- time to deliver etc, etc, etc.
Innovation is critical to the ongoing success of any business, because if you are not making changes, your competition no doubt are, and you can bet the person making the changes that are most appreciated by the market will come out on top.
It’s all part of the Practical Implementation of Good Ideas!