If you want to experience the sort of growth which really innovative companies do, then it needs to be a fundamental part of your company’s DNA. It is no longer enough to tell your staff and teams to go and come up with something new or improve your current offerings; you need to constantly be on the lookout for potential opportunities in places you potentially haven’t previously considered. While cost reduction and efficiencies are vital for any organisation, you cannot shrink your way to growth.
There are a multitude of way to enhance your organisation’s ability to continuously develop innovative new offerings, and each of these will be unique to your situation and culture. However, there are numerous traits which link all the most successful innovative companies.
- Strategic Vision: It is the responsibility of the people leading the organisation to set out the objectives for their teams to follow. These are vital for framing the projects and ideas. A generalised vision leads to unfocussed ideas.
- Budget: While ideas may be free, in order to derive any value from them, they need time, staff, resources and sometimes money to back them through development.
- Sponsorship and Accountability: Every initiative requires sponsorship from a specific member of leadership, to allocate resources, evaluate and measure progress and update leadership
- Appropriate levels of Bureaucracy: As an idea moves through a project lifecycle, it will require a changing amount of reporting on progress, from very limited amounts at inception to appropriate levels related to resources put against it.
- Measuring and rewarding performance: Bringing new ideas regularly to market should be a key metric in your company, against which departments and leadership can be assessed. Successful ideas should also be appropriately rewarded for all those involved, and often non-monetary rewards can be the most effective.
- Business Models: Looking at your core market offering, what related product, service or feeling could you offer which customers would find valuable? There are a multitude of business models which could drive incremental growth.
- Reward vs Risk: Every new idea carries an element of risk. Innovative organisations understand that in order to reap the rewards, some degree of risk needs to be accepted
- Supporting Innovation: It’s often impossible to see the next big thing coming. Sometimes enabling your staff a degree of flexibility in what they work on and time allocation will give them the ability to develop ideas which would have previously been passed up on. Sometimes whole teams can be devoted to nothing but radical research projects, of which only a few will bear fruit.
- Training and new ideas: The world is constantly changing, and there is not a single industry where your staff cannot learn anything new every year. Training sessions and cross-pollination with other companies and ideas will trigger new ideas in your organisation.
- Company-wide Idea Generation: Sometimes asking all your staff at all levels for ideas on a specific challenge will lead to gems being unearthed where you least expect them.
Find out more about the two other Dimensions Teamwork, Techniques and Tools and People’s Creativity. Then if you want to drive these capabilities in your team, you can Hire me to help you achieve this.