Business is all about providing products and services that customers need and desire. But that is not all — for maximum success, a business must constantly consider fresh ideas and new ways of doing things. This is innovation, and it is happening every day in the United States — according to the 2020 Annual Business Survey, at least 25% of for-profit companies introduced an innovation during 2017–19.
So how do businesses innovate every day? This article will explore the meaning of innovation and how companies integrate it into their day-to-day tasks, with some real-life examples. It will also look at how to be a leader for change and innovation in business, revealing the pathways to getting there. Whether a current business leader or aiming to get into this field, one will find this article an essential read.
What exactly is innovation?
Innovation in business is when creativity and practicality combine to provide new or improved goods, services or ways of doing things. It is important to achieve the balance between creativity and practicality — unique ideas alone are useless if they cannot be applied to a product or process. Practicality is also important but needs the spark of creativity to bring it alive.
There are many reasons why innovation is key to businesses’ survival. It empowers companies to rise to challenges and adapt to changing circumstances. It allows growth and enables future-proofing to keep up with an evolving world. Innovation also differentiates a company’s product or service from others on the market, making it more attractive to customers.
What about the different types of innovation?
There are two types of innovation in business: sustaining and disruptive.
Sustaining innovation is all about optimizing existing products or services. It enables businesses to retain the customer base they already have by offering the things they love, but better. An example of this is smartphones. They have been a staple part of life for years now, but tech companies are constantly adding new features, software and design ideas to make them ever more attractive and useful to their customers.
Disruptive innovation describes inventing a product or service from scratch, or reinventing a business model or product, capturing new markets in the process. This is what Uber did by offering the first app that allowed customers to call a cab from their phone. It addressed a real problem that the founders encountered when trying to get a car in Paris where they were attending a conference. The simplicity of this idea has been the key to Uber’s rapid success — five years after its launch in 2010, it had become the world’s most valuable startup company.
Both types of innovation are important for a company’s success, and it is vital to understand the value of both keeping existing customers on board and capturing new and exciting markets.
So how do businesses achieve innovation every day?
In business, innovation comes from the top down, so it starts with knowledgeable, inspiring leaders who understand the value of innovation and what it offers. Enlightened leaders embed the principles of innovating into their company ethos, drawing on tools and processes that allow an innovative mindset to thrive.
Here is a look at some of these tools and methods and how they can be applied in the workplace every day:
Creative problem solving
Creative problem solving is a process that aims to find unique solutions to challenges by firstly identifying them and then suggesting a range of possible answers.
It is based on various key concepts, which include:
Problems as questions
Reframing problems as questions liberates one’s thinking by focusing less on the problems and more on the solutions.
Using positive language
It can be tempting to say “no” straightaway to an idea that one does not think will work. But reframing a negative statement to something like “I can see the positives there but why we don’t explore this instead?” can foster a sense of togetherness and a can-do attitude.
Brainstorming is a simple concept that gets results. That is because it draws people together on the same level, regardless of their status in the company, and gives equal weight to their ideas.
The most successful brainstorming sessions are structured to get the most out of participants. The facilitator can allocate a time limit for group members to write down their ideas, which they share in turn.
They may also ask participants to imagine scenarios where these ideas could be used. This helps weed out ideas that would not work in practical terms and narrows down the list to viable solutions that deserve further exploration.
Design thinking uses a combination of reasoning and intuition to explore a customer-focused solution. While it is based on methods commonly employed by designers, one does not have to be in that field to use it. The guiding principle of design thinking is that solutions should be driven by addressing the needs of customers.
It also taps into the ideas that:
- Ambiguity is OK — in fact, it can help one see things differently.
- Design is redesign — while technology and society change, basic human needs do not.
- Tangibility is essential — to progress innovation to reality, one needs to show their audience what their idea will look like.
Innovation: The pathway to success
Innovation is a necessary part of day-to-day business. For a current business leader, or someone seeking a career in this field, it is important to understand the principles of innovation and how they can be applied to everyday business activities. Embarking on a reputable course in organizational leadership which helps to deepen one’s understanding of innovation is the pathway to career and business success.
Enrolling in the doctorate in organizational leadership provided by Rockhurst University will provide the first step to knowing more about innovation. As well as furthering students’ knowledge of business and organizational issues, it will prepare them as thought leaders who put innovation at the heart of everything they do.
One of its many benefits is that it is delivered online so students can continue to work in their current roles while learning skills and principles that they can put into practice straight away.
Do not just survive but thrive with innovation!
Innovation is the beating heart of business, enabling companies to evolve and achieve the very best they can. It is truer than ever in this uncertain world where flexing to global and local challenges has become an essential part of not just surviving but thriving.
Studying organizational leadership and learning the value of putting innovation at the center of business strategy will ensure that individuals and their businesses reach ever-higher goals.
Keeping your technology up to date is critical for being an innovative company. To learn more on the dangers of outdated tech in your business, please see the resource below.
Provided by CIO Solutions – expert it services Fresno