Is this what we mean when we think about ‘Innovation’?[/caption]
(Or, how to outperform the your competitors, your industry and yourself)
Innovation is associated with heavily-tattooed people, with blue hair and beards. Either that or Steve Jobs who wore black every day because he didn’t want to precious creative time worrying about what to wear. He wanted to spend all his creative energy on being creative.
But innovation is different from creativity. Here are some tools that will help.
Believe that innovation is necessary
Most companies don’t innovate because they are in a comfort zone. You’re making money, you’ve got customers, your competitors are stable. Why innovate? That’s what they tell themselves.
But if you could go back to the start of their business, you would find a different story. Back then, as the “new kid on the block,” that business was innovating like mad! It was trying to carve a niche in a new market with a better offering at the same or a better price.
What that means is that innovation was necessary, once. Back in the beginning. Without innovation nobody would earn a salary.
But now? They’ve done the innovation. They’re comfortable. It’s no longer quite as necessary.
Every month that goes by, there’s the chance that some upstart will look at your business and decide to come after a part of it. If you don’t think it’s necessary, wait until those new kids on the block come for your lunch!
What is your number one reason to innovate?v Believe innovation is doable. Start here.
Of course innovation is possible. But is it doable?
What holds most companies back from innovating is they don’t know where to start.
Never mind your products or services. You’ve already probably thought about how to improve those. Let’s think a bit differently:
How can you improve your sales experience? Think about your business from a customer’s point of view for a moment.
How do they find you?
How do they buy from you?
How do they receive the product / service?
How do they pay you?
The idea is to think about the customer’s frustrations with any or all of hose four steps — and eliminate them. Get a sales person, a marketing person and somebody from accounts in the room and spend half an hour thinking about frustrations. Can you think of any improvements? That’s innovation.
How can you improve your customer experience (not the product/service itself)
How does the customer store the product?
How / where does the customer use the product?
How does the customer dispose of the product once it’s finished
What care or precautions does the customer take in using the product?
The idea is to think about what else you could offer the customer. For this brainstorm you need 30-60 minutes and a sales person, a technical person and maybe even a customer!
Take action on the ideas
Once you’ve done your two brainstorms (maybe 90 minutes in total) you will have some clear ideas of a “no-brainer” way of improving your product. You should be excited at this point. Imagine how impressed your customers are going to be! You’re making it easier and better to do business with you, and you’re making it easier and better to use your service!
No so fast! You need to make sure you turn those ideas into a project plan!
Appoint a team leader — who will make sure these no-brainer ideas get implemented?
Set a budget — how much are you going to spend on executing these ideas?
Set a follow-up meeting to make sure that the idea got implemented — or to explore what prevented the execution.
Consider a full-day innovation session
Stratervation has 20 years’ experience in implementing different kinds of innovation in businesses small and large across all sorts of industries. Consider asking us about our one-day Innovation for non-creative types. Visit stratervation.com/innovation
No blue hair-dye, beards or tattoos necessary.