5 things you could do to be more innovative today



As marketplaces become increasingly crowded, businesses have to work harder to differentiate themselves from the competition. An innovative idea, approach or product; something new, different, dynamic or inventive, can be exactly what you need to get out from under the pile. How can you evolve beyond interesting, to become innovative?

Here are five things you can do to be more innovative today. 

1. Find your internal innovation champion

Most innovation fails because businesses don’t deploy the necessary internal resources or capability to drive a new innovation to completion.  Quite often an idea is hastily developed by the CEO who believes that this might be the next big breakthrough for the business.  Some internal resource and capacity is found, often an individual with existing responsibilities, who is presented with the daunting task of transforming the idea from the improbable into the art of the possible.  Instead, find right ‘innovation champion’; someone with the drive, passion and commitment to make it a success.   Assign time and resource to the innovation champion, to focus exclusively on the innovation project.  If you can’t assign 100% of their time, make sure the time is clearly designated between day to day undertakings and the new innovation project.  Invest in that individual or team and make sure they have access to the resources necessary to make it happen.

2. Idea generation

Fact: Idea generation is free!  There is a common misconception that innovation is expensive.  The best innovations are often the cheapest and simplest.   Remember innovation isn’t just about shiny new products.  When was the last time you mapped your customer’s journey and contact points through your business?  Can you make the process better or use technology to make your customers experience unique and pleasurable?  Looking at the smaller components of your business will often lead to a new innovative idea or approach.

3. Challenge convention.

Businesses by their very nature follow convention and order.  Break the cycle and challenge the status quo.  Why have products been designed in the usual way?  Why have services followed a formulaic order?  Be creative; there are no bad ideas, just a lack of will to execute them!

4. Collaborate

‘Open innovation’ is a buzzword in business and industry at the moment.  Innovation is rarely down to one individual or even a single company.  Instead true innovation occurs when clusters of companies or individuals openly and freely collaborate to bounce ideas around and work on new and exciting programmes.  Think about the innovation ecosystem in which your business sits.  Could you collaborate with a University, a peer from another company or in a different sector, or even a business within your own supply chain?

5. Trust

People in your team are the greatest assets a company has. Trust in their knowledge and ability to develop a solution to the unmet challenge.  An innovation project is not only a great way to build team moral and develop a sense of purpose; it also shows clear intent to give ownership and control of their future.

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