Every business needs a structured innovation program to help drive and direct company growth. These programs are the foundation for finding new ideas, making improvements, and staying on top of changing business trends and shifting consumer desires. But simply having an innovation program isn’t good enough. You need the right kind of program with the right tools for it to be successful.
If you have a current innovation program that isn’t creating the results you’ve been hoping for, here are some reasons it might be failing:
You’re Casting a Small Net
Who are you asking to contribute to your innovation program? Do you have a dedicated team that works on developing new ideas? Are they the only ones contributing to company innovation? If so, then you’re casting a tiny net out into that ocean of potential ideas. Your entire company is filled with people who could have incredible ideas and input to improve your business.
If you want your innovation program to succeed, then you need to cast a wider net to draw in new ideas; get every member of your business involved, and allow everyone to contribute ideas. Sure, you might get some lower-quality ideas from a wide group of people, but you just might be surprised by some of the gems that rise to the surface.
You’re Not Tracking Trends
Great products are those that address an immediate need among consumers. But those needs are always changing, and so products must change as well. In order to address those changing needs, you should always be tracking trends among your target demographic. How?
First, track trends among your current customers. When they call in to customer service with a complaint, is it a complaint your team has heard before? Is there a certain aspect of your product that isn’t meeting their needs? You can also reach out to your consumers and ask them what kinds of improvements they’d like you to make to improve your products.
Additionally, stay connected to members of your target demographic via social media. Pay attention to the kinds of things they’re reacting to, the common complaints they seem to have, and the ideas they share. This can help you to find needs that are not being fulfilled, so that you can create an innovative product to fill the gap.
You’re Not Giving Employees an Outlet
Even if you’re casting that wider net and allowing all employees to contribute their ideas, it won’t do much good if they don’t know how to go about sharing those ideas. You need to provide your employees with an accessible, always-available way to share their ideas with their managers and those who are over product development.
Too many employees are intimidated by the thought of pitching an idea to a manager face-to-face. And so they keep those ideas to themselves, and you lose out on a potential gamechanger for your business. By using innovation management software to submit ideas, your employees can share their thoughts on product and business improvement in an easy and convenient way.
You’re Not Trying Hackathons
Few great ideas are brought to fruition through the efforts of one person. Rather, it takes a team to fully flesh out an idea and turn it into a groundbreaking product. And while you may have brainstorming sessions within departments and among certain teams, this isn’t necessarily the best way to get those innovative ideas you need.
When you set up brainstorming sessions with the same people again and again, you’re essentially cooking with the same recipe over and over, expecting different results. Instead, try putting together a hackathon. This brings together members of different teams, giving you a new mix of perspectives and ideas so that something incredible can happen.
So if you want to see greater results from your company innovation program, try the tips above and see what great ideas are brought to light.