Innovation in your business whether it is in marketing, product development, process improvement or collaboration can be hard. But, it is much needed if we are to stay ahead of our competition and keep our customers happy.
However, I believe that many of us don’t innovate in our businesses as much as we’d like to. I can think of a bunch of reasons why this could be so and what we can do to become more innovative:
- Innovation: that’s not my job…that’s marketing or product development, right? Some think that innovation does not apply to their area of business or their sector and, therefore, don’t think about improving their function, team or overall level of performance. This is wrong and there is always scope to improve.
- Innovation and creativity is hard. Or, it can feel hard. Much of that, I believe, is because we don’t practice trying to be innovate enough and, thus, we don’t succeed in being innovative. Personally, I think that innovation and creative problem solving is a like a muscle that we need to train and exercise if it is to develop and get stronger. Many of the world’s most innovative companies understand this and have innovation, creativity and new ways of doing things deeply embedded into the way that they run their businesses. And, that is why they continue to stay ahead. However, what they also know is that innovation is a continuous process and they must continue to train, practice and innovate together if they are to maintain their innovative edge.
- It’s hard to see how we can improve on what we already do. I think this is, in large part, about perspective. As humans, I think we tend to find it easier to comment on others’ efforts, departments, products and services than to look objectively at ourselves. Much of this is related, I believe, to the “can’t see the wood from the trees” idea, where it’s hard to get away from the day to day details on our jobs and our businesses to be able to see the bigger picture.
With me so far?
So, what if we combined these three elements to help us get better at innovation? Could we practice getting better at innovation and creative thinking by using other departments or businesses as case studies to work on?
Would that allow us to develop our innovative and creative thinking skills in a ‘safe’ way such that we build up enough confidence, experience and a bank of ideas and approaches that we can then, in time, apply to ourselves and our own business?
Would that help us build our innovation and creative muscles so that we can stay ahead of our competition and keep our customers happy?
I’d be interested in your thoughts.
Thanks to Thomas Hawk for the image.
I think it is a very fine line between innovation and just simple improvement.
Improvement is easy, after-all you just need to be a bit better today than you were yesterday.
So it strikes me that if you persist with the improvement, you might just get an innovation.
What was it that Confucious said:
“The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”
We just need to remember to keep stepping,
I fear that you have fallen for the same fallacy that many others have fallen for.
Innovation does not show up because that is not what organisations are designed to generate. Creativity does not show up in the workplace because the workplace is not designed for nor does it encourage creativity.
You might want to check out my latest post: http://thecustomerblog.co.uk/2012/11/23/what-does-it-take-for-employee-engagement-to-show-up-part-vi/
I look forward to hearing your views.
Falling for a fallacy may be a bit strong. I agree with you that our organisations are not designed for creativity and innovation but the object of the post was to try and offer an idea of how it could work and be generated within an existing structure and existing conditions. A futile exercise? Maybe.
But, I believe that by encouraging us to think about small change we can get ready to think abut the larger changes that are need too.
What do you think?