Innovation is an ongoing process that is essential to the survival of any organization, regardless of size or focus.
No matter what kinds of businesses they own, entrepreneurs all know one thing: you eat what you kill. A successful hunt means survival — or maybe even dominance. But how do you get there? More importantly, how do you get there consistently? The answer lies in innovation and your ability to perpetually harness the potential of new ideas.
Innovation is an ongoing process that is essential to the survival of any organization, regardless of size or focus. If companies are not continually developing new products or services, they will perish. When you consider that nearly 50 percent of market leaders’ sales are from products they introduced in the last five years, you can see that success comes from consistently developing new ideas and bringing them to market.
Some entrepreneurs think of innovation in terms of new methods or technologies, while others relate the term to the development of new products or fresh markets for existing products. Still others use the words innovation and creativity interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. Creativity is the generation of new ideas. Innovation is a process by which a creative act or solution results in a quantifiable gain. In other words, having profound thoughts doesn’t count until you translate them into products and services that can help you move the needle. To ensure that this happens, build your commitment to innovation through these three cornerstones:
Novel Thinking Inspiration can come from anywhere, but the biggest ideas are usually found close to home. Look to your customers, competitors, employees and even outside of your industry to capture meaningful innovations. There is no monopoly on good or great ideas, but there seems to be a limited few who will look for and consider perspectives from all directions.
Investment Can you put a price tag on your organization’s future? Time and money are required to innovate, but most entrepreneurs are so focused on the “here and now” that they pour all their energies on their immediate needs at the expense of the long-term health of their organizations. Successful companies dedicate resources to innovation without compromise.
Change Change is constant. Your business will change — market forces will see to that — but this certainty is much different when you are in control. By committing to progress, you will free up resources that are committed to maintaining aspects of your operations (such as under-performing products or unfavorable lease terms) that no longer contribute to performance and produce results.
All innovations, great or small, share one common denominator: People — at the beginning, middle and end. They are the creators, implementers and benefactors who turn new concepts into business realities. By staying close to those who can help fuel your progress, making a commitment to innovation, and accepting that today’s big idea has an expiration date, your business can secure another day to hunt.
-- Derrick Daye