It’s easy to get so stuck in the day-to-day grind of running a business that you forget about the necessity for innovation. But if you want to run a sustainable business that scales over time, you can’t neglect to invest in innovation. It represents your way forward.
How to Keep Innovation Flowing
Creation and innovation are two ideas that are related, but they aren’t necessarily interchangeable. The former has to do with making or producing something, while innovation leads to the introduction of new ideas or fresh methods.
Stagnant companies often fool themselves into thinking they’re moving forward when they pursue ongoing creating, but that, in and of itself, doesn’t make a company innovative. There has to be a different level of originality.
“Innovation is vital in the workplace because it gives companies an edge in penetrating markets faster and provides a better connection to developing markets, which can lead to bigger opportunities, especially in rich countries,” entrepreneur Theodore Henderson explains.
Innovation is as much about the attitude and confidence it fosters as the tangible product or idea that results from the activity. “When a company has an innovative culture, it’ll grow easily, despite the fact that the creative process isn’t always simple,” Henderson says.
“Tried-and-tested methods may be reliable, but trying out new things is a worthwhile experiment.” Among stale organizations that are set in their ways, active encouragement of innovation can lead to a critical shift in the right direction.
And though it won’t be easy to climb out of whatever rut you may have settled into, there are practical steps you can take to secure freedom from the chains of complacency. Here they are:
1. Listen to the Market
As an organization, it’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and demands that you forget to focus on what your customers need and want over time. But if you listen seriously, the marketplace has a way of informing you where to direct your innovative efforts and creative thinking.
Healthy Hemp Oil, a Colorado-based company owned and operated by a family of six brothers, is a perfect example of an organization that lets the marketplace guide its innovation. One of its most successful CBD oils actually started out as nothing more than a strain the firm was using for research purposes.
But after seeing the positive impact it had on a young girl who had been suffering hundreds of epileptic seizures a week, the owners of Healthy Hemp Oil saw it as a sellable product and started marketing it as one. The result was a product that has changed the lives of many.
Sometimes you just have to listen to what the marketplace is telling you. If you do that, you may stumble on great ideas for future growth and creativity.
2. Don’t Shy Away From Arguments
Most people have an inherent discomfort with confrontation. We prefer harmony and agreement, and will often go to great lengths to avoid friction.
But arguments and debates can be productive. And in the business world, they frequently lead to innovation.
“We all have something different to contribute to the conversation, this is what makes the whole more valuable than the sum of its parts,” entrepreneur Liz Stincelli explains. “It is when several parties are able to argue their points of view, consider other possibilities, and then compromise that true innovation starts to emerge.”
3. Be Willing to Lose the Battle
There’s a saying that you sometimes have to be willing to lose the battle in order to win the war. This can certainly apply to innovation.
When you’re fully committed to innovating, you’re going to swing at a number of ideas and miss. At that moment, it can feel like failure is the only thing you’re creating.
But realistically, one successful innovation will more than make up for the nine failed attempts. Indeed, you have to experience those failures to get to the winner.
You have to teach yourself to stop regarding unsuccessful innovations as failures. They might not produce anything in terms of revenue, but they do provide valuable learning experiences that have a positive impact in leading to future developments.
When you can understand that, you’ll shift the way you view the general process of innovation.
4. Keep Your Business Moving Forward
Customer expectations and demands are constantly changing. The marketplace may love what you’re offering now, but chances are they won’t be equally as attracted to your products and services in 5, 10, or 15 years.
Consumer expectations and moods change, so you must stay a step ahead of these shifts. Having an innovative posture will empower your business to move forward when other organizations remain focused on the here and now.
It might mean missing out on easy profits at the moment, but it might also mean you’re setting yourself up to grab a larger chunk of the market in the coming years. Innovation is the prescription for long-term success. Will you foster it in your company?