How to get started with innovation

  • Business Model Shifts

All businesses experience peaks and troughs – market economies wax and wane like the tide. But some companies always seem to be a few steps ahead; in terms of their vision, mission, and success.

Why? Because they’re committed to innovation as a core business discipline. Companies that actively look for and experiment with new ideas tend to go further.

However, one of the biggest blockers is that many businesses don’t know how to get started with innovation. Let’s consider how they can change this.

An overall necessity

Progression and innovation go hand in hand. But fostering a culture of innovation in a growing business – particularly at the current time – might seem counterintuitive when so many companies are struggling. That said, a fresh perspective could be just what some businesses need to stay relevant.

Companies that innovate not only adapt more easily, they often lead the way too. Case in point, Lego changing to biodegradable oil-based plastics in its bricks, or Coca Cola switching to 100% recycled plastic material. However, while some innovations are statement pieces – designed to take an open stand on issues, practices, or legacy attitudes – many are much smaller. They’re often experiments that sail under the radar, largely unnoticed.

But getting to this point means a shift in attitude needs to take place first. Taking steps toward experimentation means staying on top of new trends. It’s about being open to new ideas, technologies, tools, and strategies – horizon scanning.

However, it’s not one person or department’s job to do this. For innovation to thrive, it needs to be seen as everyone in a business’ responsibility – marketing, finance, IT, operations. Innovation is a continuous process of learning and adapting. But to get to a point where innovation is given the respect and attention it needs, there needs to be a reason to do so.

Aligned with the wider business

Innovation, like anything, needs a purpose. There needs to be a clear strategy driving it. That’s why it’s crucial that before any business can innovate, they need to know ‘why’ they’re doing it. Is it to boost sales? Drive brand awareness? What are its KPIs? How will improvements be measured?

These are easier questions to answer that you might think. Essentially, they’re the same as the overall business’ objectives. Any innovation-driven initiative needs to be linked to a company’s drive for progression. This is why it’s vital that customer needs are put first in terms of innovation too. Stepping into their shoes and understanding what’s important to them will also give new initiatives a guiding purpose.

Innovation doesn’t happen overnight

Innovation can’t be viewed as an easy fix. It won’t happen overnight. Just look at how far chemical company, Corning, has changed over the last 140 years – and yet it’s still just as relevant today.

It’s an incremental process. But, by educating your teams, and encouraging them to challenge legacy processes, and draw inspiration from other sectors, companies, and business models.

If nothing else, innovation is simply asking, and acting upon, questions like ‘what if?. It’s exploring new boundaries, trying out new things, experimenting with strategies, and testing ideas.

This is where BMI steps in. We’re here to help you succeed by aligning your appetite for innovation with your business strategy. Ready to chat with us? Leave your details and we’ll connect as soon as possible!

 

Let's talk

Comments

Stay posted.

Keep up to date on what our clients have to tell, new tools, training and cool content.