Is there anything more painful than hearing “because we’ve always done it this way”? You can’t be innovative if you do things the same way every time. We get it: taking risks can be scary, but so can not taking them. What risks are you taking by failing to innovate?
Innovators are leaders and leaders are innovators. These two groups overlap like a Venn diagram. The successful innovators and leaders are in the overlapping area. The other areas contain leaders and innovators with failed ideas…and fear. Those who can leave the fear and failure behind and cross over to the successful side are the ultimate winners.
While it’s hard to assign a dollar figure to innovations that succeed or fail, you can make projections based on knowledge and careful study.
It’s a given that those that don’t innovate will evaporate. The specific factors of each individual case determine whether the death is slow or quick. However, there are certain rules of innovation — or lack thereof — that can apply to almost any business.
- Adapt or die. If all your competitors are offering a free X with an order of Y and you don’t, or if everyone is switching from system A to system B and you cling to the former, your days are likely numbered. TV and the internet are not fads. This is not to say you should jump on every bandwagon, but resisting change and progress are not part of innovation. If you’ve fallen behind, catch up. Then move ahead.
- Define exactly who you are and what you do. This isn’t to say you should never branch out, but you need a solid foundation. Start by narrowing your focus and homing in on becoming the expert in that area. Know your product, your market, your customers. Then you can think about growing and serving a wider base.
- Take advantage of every opportunity. Is one of your competitors going out of business? Maybe you should snap them up. Don’t have the money? That’s where more innovation comes into play.
- Look to the future. Read everything you can about what’s going on in your industry. Knowledge is power. It will help you better determine future trends, so when you see an opportunity to get on board or even take the reins with The Next Big Thing, you won’t hesitate. You won’t need to stall and do research because you’ll already know.
- Don’t relax. The time to let your guard down is not when you’re on top. Everyone is looking to take you down. Thinking you’re too big or you’re too far ahead is a mistake. When you’re No. 1, it’s time to look at what’s next.
Remember, innovation is not just about inventing. Innovation comes from Latin roots meaning “make new, alter.” Invent’s roots are “contrive, discover.” Thus, with innovation, you can invent something new, but you can also start with something you already have and change it or find a new way to use it.
You can find literally millions of questionable examples of this on Pinterest or in Hints from Heloise. However, someone repurposed military radar technology to build a microwave oven, and this is the kind of innovation that changes lives.
Innovation isn’t just about new products either; it’s about new processes. You can innovate a new method of doing the same task that saves time and money.
Embracing — and encouraging — innovation doesn’t just make money; it attracts top talent as well. No one wants to work at the company where their ideas are routinely pooh-poohed.
Don’t waste any more time weighing the costs of innovation. Brush the dust off, and get started with IdeaScale. Contact us today!