Innovation is one of the top qualities of a successful company, and it isn’t limited to tech companies or products. Innovation can mean anything from a new kind of car to a clever new way of speeding up delivery. The importance of innovation cuts across industries, markets and even company sizes. So how can you accelerate innovation at your company? Let’s take a closer look at three crucial elements you need to make that happen.
An Innovative Environment
Your corporate culture has a huge impact on the level of innovation at your company. Consultant and executive coach Scott Edinger talks about the importance of creating a culture of innovation. The ideal culture is one that encourages creativity and expression. It should be easy for your employees to explore new ways of thinking. This enhances innovation and improves daily processes. The right environment is the breeding ground for limitless ideas.
Creating such an environment means figuring out things like which people work best in teams, and who is better on their own. In most cases, a smart combination of both styles facilitates the best innovation. Remember that a creative environment doesn’t mean lack of rules. You also need to establish social norms. For instance, setting ground rules for brainstorming sessions.
In 1985, Coca-Cola launched New Coke with much enthusiasm, but it didn’t generate the return on investment they expected. Yet, the company saw how this new product got people talking about how they always loved the original Coca-Cola. It also provided unexpected and invaluable market research. After the market’s rejection of the new product, Coca-Cola was able to reclaim the market share they were targeting using their original formula.
How many people got fired after the failure of New Coke? Zero. The leadership sent a message that it is OK to try new things even if some of them don’t work out. They recognized that failure is good and even vital for innovation because you never know where it will lead you. This bold leadership style is a classic example of how you can accelerate innovation when the right mindset at the top sets the right tone.
When your company has a big success, remember to reward your employees with tangible as well as intangible rewards. For instance, a bonus should always be encouraged with praise and recognition. It keeps innovation alive.
Innovation is great. But if no one is buying what you are innovating, it’s redundant. Your innovation should result in more people buying the better products and services you are bringing to the market. This is achievable if you learn about your customer’s current likes and dislikes regarding your current products.
Ask for their opinion and let their direction steer you in the way of higher sales with them along with attracting new customers as well. This insight will translate innovation into better products, services and actual growth for your company and brand. Former CMO Kimberly A. Whitler discusses many ways marketers can impact innovation. You should be leveraging all relevant ways to accelerate innovation in your company.
By infusing these elements in your company, you will become an innovative company. Though these concepts might seem simple, it can be a challenge to implement them – but when you get innovation right, it will give you an invaluable edge.
Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. She specializes in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.
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