How to Add Innovation to Your Business

Earlier this year a client in the executive search industry told me she was beginning to see the need for executives who can bring innovation to their position. Based on her research she chose to add innovation as a practice specialty. Her article summarizing findings are on my blog at http://primestrategies.com/?p=615 .
Innovation

Doing a bit of my own research I learned there’s an amazing body of knowledge on the subject.

Innovation is certainly not a new business concept. Jack Welch, former GE leader, was known for introducing innovation into the corporate culture there. His mission was to create the world’s most competitive enterprise. One of the ways he did that was through innovation.

The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better; to increase value in some fashion. Today’s thinking is not just about managing change; it’s about leading change.

As the leader of your business it’s up to you to set the stage for innovation.

Research the market.
Consciously be alert for new ideas that might be applied to your business. Reading what others have done (in any industry) can often trigger your thinking. Surf the internet for innovative ideas.

Brainstorm with peers.
Getting together, either in person or by phone, to talk about your ideas is a great way to help sort out possibilities. Look for places where there’s a market gap in your industry. It’s also a great way to get a reality check on your ideas.

Encourage new ideas from staff and team.
Listen to their ideas. Recognize their input and encourage continuing communication. Smart businesses listen to market-related ideas as well as procedure-related ones. Tell them your goals and plans and ask for their ideas from the front lines.

Identify a service or product that’s in demand with short supply.
Gaps in the marketplace are possible opportunities. Use what you learn from your research to develop the strongest probability for success in keeping with your mission.

Gather your resources.
Make sure you have what you need to succeed. It’s best to lean into your strengths when trying something new. If you need support, get that in place before launching.

Test ideas in a limited way.
As with anything new, test your new ideas on a small scale. If you see there is market interest, then you can develop a more complete marketing plan.

Innovation is a time-tested technique for growing a business. Give yourself the advantage of using it. Applying innovation to your business will not only keep you at the head of the pack in your market it will make leading your business a lot more fun.