Innovation is a current buzzword today. It’s on the front page of business magazines, in the mission statements of companies and in the minds of managers. But where to start from? I have been invited by many companies to talk about the subject and that question is often presented to me. The eyes of the world have turned to Brazil and business people are aware that innovation is necessary for survival.
However, those who feel confident that they have taken the right path in innovation are very few. Following the four suggestions below may help you in this enterprise, which is so important in every country.
1) Always keep in mind that innovation has to do with bringing new solutions to the market which generates financial returns for the company.
If there is no return in the form of profit, it might be an excellent project, but it is not innovation. Therefore, always keep the business model you are working with in mind. Use tools like Business Model Canvas to study the possibilities.
2) Before you start an action, you must understand how your company deals with innovation.
Nowadays, thanks to strong market competition, most companies have at least dipped their toes in the waters of innovation. Many companies have already carried out market research to understand the opportunities that have been opened to them.
If your company is already doing research, you need to analyse collected data. One way of doing this is to gather a group of motivated employees to sit down and study all this information. There are several Design Thinking techniques, such as The Similarities Map and Personas, which will help you with this analysis. You can also arrange a brainstorming meeting for the generation of ideas.
A number of companies already have quite many potential projects in their hands. This is because they have a bank of ideas or a suggestions box. But this is not enough to create innovative solutions. Once you have a set of ideas, you have to bring them forward and test them, in order to make these ideas into innovation initiatives. Encourage your colleagues and other employees to test new ideas. At MJV, we have a room we call the Prototyping Laboratory which was designed for this purpose.
If your company doesn’t have a bank of ideas and doesn’t even do market research, innovation will depend on you. To achieve this, start to act by going to client and partner’s meetings. Watching other people using and working with the products/services will help you think about improvements or innovative potential offers.
3) Small solutions are also innovation.
Innovating seems to be a complex process because we always think of disruptive innovations and look for inspiration from companies which have transformed their market, like Apple, for example. However, simple solutions can have a great impact on your business.
To do this, I suggest that you start with initiatives within your scope of action and follow small steps, showing the results of you achievements. In this way, you will get ready to take risks and make bigger changes. 4) Innovation is a continuous activity. Innovation is a road permanently under construction. Competition can increase when you least expect it. Therefore, be persistent and always pay attention to what is happening around you in order to keep the innovation flame burning day after day.