A quick guide to becoming innovative.
Q/A - How do I make my business more innovative?
We're often asked by clients "How do I make my business more innovative?".
Don't worry; making the change is not nearly as hard as you might imagine. Once you start to understand the value of an innovative approach it will change your business into one which just keeps getting better year on year.
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Q: What is an innovative business?
A: Innovation is like exercise for your business - it makes it fitter and healthier.
When we talk about an innovative business we're talking about a culture within a company to work together to improve itself. It's important to understand that at its core "innovation" is a cultural thing and it seeps into every part of the business - it's not just about changing one process.
This of innovation as exercise for your business. An innovative business is one that eats well and goes to the gym regularly. It takes a direct interest in its own health and focuses on the whole body - not just building strength in one area.
The outcome is a business that gets fitter day by day.
Q: What can innovation do for my business?
A: Innovation helps your business be a more profitable and enjoyable enterprise.
A culture of innovation in your business is absolutely about making direct improvements. You should expect a more innovative culture to;
- Lower the cost of sale
- Improve customer loyalty
- Improve staff retention
- Reduce risk and waste
- Withstand a changing market
Q: What does being "innovative" really mean?
A: Innovative companies are like Maslow's "Self Actualisers"
The best way I can describe what it really means for a company to be "innovative" is to ask you to think about the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs; "Self Actualisers". Innovative companies are just the corporate equivalent of self-actualising people. Let's look at Maslow's 12 traits of self-actualisers and translate them to your business;
- Innovative companies embrace new ideas;
- Innovative companies are aware of, and accept their shortcomings;
- Innovative companies take enjoyment from their growth, not just their size;
- Innovative companies are naturally differentiated, without being niche;
- Innovative companies have real purpose;
- Innovative companies focus on their big vision;
- Innovative companies are grateful and give back;
- Innovative companies are part of a community;
- Innovative companies are humble;
- Innovative companies are not sheep;
- Innovative companies are not perfect.
Q: How do I make my business more innovative?
A: Build a strategy for change; both operationally and culturally.
Becoming more innovative can have a profound impact on your profits and your culture - they better places to work and better places to buy goods and services from.
Getting started is easy. We have lots more articles you can read here - about building a digital strategy or embracing a lean methodology - and we can recommend some great books to help you understand some of the most important concepts. Eric Ries' Lean Startup and Simon Sinek's Start With Why are a great way to start thinking about your internal processes and your company culture respectively. You don't have to be a startup for these books to be relevant.
We also have a free tool to help you being putting your strategy together. It takes a few minutes to complete and provides you with a 10-page, personalised report outlining your next steps.
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