If your business is the way I work, talk to your people about the need for innovation. My just announced a new program, "which will come with a standard approach to gathering and evaluating your ideas to create new revenue and improve our business." Innovation has just formed, with the new electronic mailbox and competition that offers cash prizes for the best ideas of the year.
Why do we need innovation?
Three answers seem obvious. First, you need innovation because our fast-changing technology requires it. You can not afford to do "business as usual" because what was best in yesterday's class is daily technology and tomorrow's technical dinosaur today. You just have to take advantage of continuing.
Secondly, you need innovation because your customers expect it. They are looking for you to provide the fastest, most accurate and accessible products and services available in the world today. If you do not return, they will go to someone who wants to.
Third, you need innovation because it sells. In all highly competitive industries (and which industry is not?) Companies tend to look over each other and at least try to match what the competition offers. The conclusion is that Peter Skarzynski and Peter Williamson have labeled "strategic convergence", a phenomenon where every competitor in industry carries out his work and procedures close to and close to their competitors. This leads to a cruel downturn, which is probably summarized by David Crosswhite:
Benchmarking the "Industry leaders" orientation and then copying them with the definition of ways of parallel approaches. Coordinated methods lead to industrial parity, resulting in commoditization of goods and service offerings, and indeed commoditization value proposition. Commoditization leads to price competition. Price competition leads to declining margins and lack of (or lack of) ability to invest, which means that you do not have "space" for innovation. If you do not resist the temptation of this thought from the beginning, you immerse yourself in the convergence of the spiral's death.
Innovation tends to force your business ahead of the package and show that you are clearly the company that your customers should choose and be guaranteed.
Not all innovations are the same. Usually they fall into two categories: incremental and quantum mechanics. Increased innovations are relatively easy and quite common, like the slight improvements you notice in each new version of your favorite software. Short-term innovations, however, go quickly from nowhere to something magnificent and material, such as the introduction of personal computers or WYSIWYG word processing. Your company should be pursuing any kind of innovation.
What helps innovation happen?
Experts agree that certain thoughts make innovation more likely to occur. Here are some examples.
1. Crimes Set – To develop new thoughts, we must learn to explore our premise and ideology beyond them. This is what "thought out of the box" means. Brainstorming usually facilitates this process.
2. Multiple Options – Part of the grounds we must jettison is that we have only one or two options. Assuming that the full range of features is available helps us to move beyond unnecessary ideas. The more options we can create, the more likely, one of them will be an excellent idea. Once again, thinking is a good way to use. Also aim to create six or seven options, not just one or two.
3. Concurrent Thinking – You must train yourself to discover commonality between two or more related unrelated concepts and force the relationship between them. One useful move is to look at an industry that is very different from you and try to determine what they are doing successfully that you can imitate. For example, UPS documented the time and conditions of residential delivery to explore ways to cut delivery times nationally. Do you have a process that can be timed, analyzed and streamlined? External research helps identify and verify the relationships you do.
4. Mentality – Can you stand up for the oral task of your daily wall to get an overview of all the chain of events that make the process you are trying to improve? Wider perspective will provide the necessary context for each task. Flowcharting helps you start "hovering".
Three Methods of Innovation
1. Starting From The End – One method of developing innovation is to start with the goal you have in mind. What would an ideal product look like and how is it different from what's already available? Then you work back and ask what changes will be needed to happen and how can we make those changes?
2. Find a New Usage for Current Products or Processes – Sometimes a product is found and is only waiting for someone to repeat it to meet the long-term need. The glue in the 3M Post-It memorabilia had been for decades, and it took the research tool Art Fry to find use for what now has over 300 million US dollars in annual sales for the company.
3. Problem – Innovation often comes as a way to solve important problems. "Necessity is the mother of the invention," and her children sometimes come in unexpected times. Every challenge involves an opportunity. Fry created Post-It comments for his resentment that the bookmark kept falling out of his psalm while serving the Church. He recognized the lemons and made the lemon!
Support for Innovation
Most people think innovation is natural in a team environment. This is due to at least three factors.
1. The teams are efficient – All your employees are busy most often. The teams allow progress on an idea with time-sharing.
2. The teams cooperate – Each member of the team brings his expertise, experience and limit values to court, with the result that the team effort will achieve more than united efforts of all its members, acting independently. Furthermore, they can jump ideas from each other, kick new, tangential concepts and inspiring options.
3. Finally, the teams are convincing. Because voice is loud and its contracts are more likely to be credible than individuals, the team has a better chance of overcoming all obstacles to changes that occur within each company.
If you know a challenge that needs to be solved, or have an idea that allows your blood to move, take it with co-operation or two. Talk to your supervisor. The team can solve the challenge or develop and implement the idea much better than you can as an individual employee.
Innovation must be a central client
Finally, everything comes back to an external client. Remember, your task is to meet or exceed your customer's needs and expectations for the first time and each time. To be effective as an innovation, which idea must pass this acid test: Does it add services or products you deliver to your customers? To satisfy them constantly, and often pleasantly surprised by them, is what work at your company is all about. It is the goal and the earning to succeed.
Crosswhite, David. "Keep an innovation in play." Voltage. (March / April 2003). Available online at: http://www.strategos.com/articles/keepinnov/keepinnov.htm
Delivery, Robert and Milton Moskowitz. 100 best companies to work in America. New York: Doubleday, 1993. Chapter 3M is 296-301.
Skarzynski, Peter and Peter Williamson, "Innovation as a Breakthrough," Economic Review (April 2000).
"Employee Training for Innovation." World Trade. Version 2 (2000): 28-29.
Uniker, William. "Applied Creativity." SAM Advanced Management Journal. (Summer 1988): 9-12