Invention is the creation of something new. Whilst, the goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better.
When thinking about developing their businesses and creating new products or services, many business owners start down the road of creating a completely new product rather than creating something that is better, cheaper, faster, more interesting or engaging to a particular market.
This can be a time consuming and lengthy process and there are no guarantees that it will work or produce results. However, innovating in your particular market or area can produce much better and faster results as it focuses on making a customers life easier based on their existing behaviour.
Let me explain how this applies to my business and what I have learnt along the way.
As some of you may know, I have been working on a book over the last few months and rather than produce another business book I wanted to do something that I am proud of, is great, is something that someone would like to own, is different, useful and engaging at the same time.
I don’t know about you but when I read business books I read them to improve my knowledge and gain new ideas. However, I sometimes find that they are often too long and are written in a way that I find it hard to pull out the actionable items out of the text.
Therefore, what I (with a little help from some friends, colleagues and contacts) have tried to do is create a book that talks to some of my frustrations and in doing so produces something that is more of a tool as well as something that is a desirable object.
Here’s the overview of the book and where we are at:
The synopsis of the book is that many established businesses throw away a lot of time, money and resources by always trying to acquire new customers without taking enough care of their existing customers. Therefore, the book is about taking better care of existing customers in cost effective ways and by doing that your business will grow naturally and sustainably through word of mouth before embarking on any outbound marketing. However, to do this is not just about customer strategy and retention and service and loyalty it’s also important to look at how you achieve this via its enablers (your people and your leadership).
The book is aimed primarily at owners/directors of established businesses and corporate executives that run their own business units.
The book aims to lay out a central framework and then introduce a series of ideas within each area of the framework to stimulate thought, discussion and action. The ideas will be supported by 16 case studies/interviews with successful CEOs/MDs of mid-sized SMEs (Small to medium sized businesses sales of about GBP4-10mln), which I hope will give added depth and context to the core content. In addition, each idea will be supported with a cartoon to add humour and insight.
The overall tone of the book aims to be engaging, stimulating, slightly different, easy to read and practical too.
Now, here come’s the innovatory bit 🙂
I have spent some time talking to publishers about taking the book to market but have decided to go down the custom publishing route. The reason being is that what I want to do is to produce the book in a ‘Moleskine’ notebook style (check this link) with spare pages between many if not all of the ideas to encourage readers to make notes. However, I won’t put any text on these pages or instructions will just leave it blank so that the format becomes a hybrid book/notebook. I think that producing the book in this way makes it both useful, different and desirable.
In terms of the overall process, we are now finalising the text and formatting and we should go to print this month meaning that we aim to have hard copies in the office in the middle of September. There will also be an ebook and Kindle version and I am considering creating a multi-media and audio version but that may come later.
So, that’s my new innovation 🙂 It’s been a great journey so far and it’s not over yet but here’s what have I learnt along the way:
What do you think? How do you like the sound of my innovation?
Thanks to marganz for the image.