One of the keys to creating a successful business is to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Another is to be able to look into the future and anticipate what your customers are likely to want in the years ahead, giving you the opportunity to meet those needs before they even have the chance to ask.
Both of these require a bit of innovation, or the ability to come up with new ideas based largely on up-and-coming trends. What can you do to create this type of company, increasing the likelihood that your business will come out on top?
Develop an Innovation-Forward Company Culture
While not every employee is capable of coming up with massive ideas that can take your business to the next level, Harvard Business School (HBS) stresses that there are still many benefits in developing a company culture focused on innovation.
That’s why this elite school stresses that businesses should “put innovation at the heart of strategy, and tout it in every message.” In other words, let everyone know that this value is extremely important by constantly including it in everything you do.
This involves putting innovation in your mission statement, marketing campaigns, and even in your new-hire’s job descriptions. The more you promote this one quality as being critical to your company’s success, the more your staff and customers will use it to help you achieve this goal.
Create More Diverse Leadership Teams
In 2018, Boston Consulting Group released survey results from more than 1,700 companies in eight different countries which revealed that, the more diverse your leadership team, the higher the level of innovation within your company. They also found that creating a diverse group of leaders can improve your financial performance as well.
Looking at your current leaders, do they share similar demographics? Are they from the same basic background in terms of education and experience? If so, you may be thwarting your innovative abilities from the top down.
Fixing this involves being open to using different people than you’d normally promote or hire to fill your top positions. Seek out those who bring a variety of skills and knowledge to the table and your innovation will increase.
True or false: you will get more ideas from a larger group of people than if you approach a smaller number of individuals and ask for their thoughts or designs. Of course, the answer is true. So, if you’re not already utilizing crowdsourcing, you may be missing out on the next big idea.
If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, crowdsourcing involves obtaining input from a large number of people on an important topic or issue. And it is relatively simple to do today thanks to the wide reach of the internet.
One way to make the most of this particular option is to use a crowdsourcing platform. This enables you to effectively reach out to your employees and key stakeholders, in addition to your target market, in order to obtain their opinions on a specific idea or topic.
Partner with Similar Companies
When there are obstacles in your way, things stopping you from being as innovative as you’d like, it may be tempting to simply throw your hands in the air and admit defeat. However, another option is to partner with similar companies and break through these walls together.
By combining efforts, you’re not only open to a wider pool of ideas, but you also have a larger amount of resources. Not to mention that your potential customer base increases because you’ll have access to each other’s markets.
Innovation isn’t always easy, but it is necessary if you want to grow. And these four options can help.