If a business is to be successful, it has to dive into the global economy. And to be able to achieve that, they must be able to innovate. Innovation and success go hand in hand, and a business that does not innovate in today’s world is doomed to fail. In fact, without knowing about proper innovation management techniques, managers will no longer be able to keep their organization competitive and successful.
The problem is, however, that many businesses still don’t quite understand what innovation is. They believe it is the development of a new product, or something else that they can offer their clients. But it is actually something completely different. Product development is a huge area of work, and the result is also a massive but singular measurable thing. Innovation, by contrast, is about making small, incremental adjustments to the overall functioning of an organization. It goes above and beyond products alone, focusing on processes, team work, individuals, services, and more.
For innovation to work, everybody has to take part in it. With product development, the responsibility lies squarely with research & development, but innovation has to involve everybody from the night time security guard to the company’s CEO.
How Important Is Innovation?
Some 70% of businesses have indicated that innovation management is listed in their top 3 strategic priorities. The barrier, however, is that they don’t know how to manage it. This should start by creating a comprehensive system in which ideas are listen to and accepted, and allowed to take shape. Almost all organizations now achieve this basic element through a number of key steps:
- Every single employee can and should contribute.
- Ideas can involve anything from services to company structures, and from team development to new products.
- There is no such thing as a bad idea.
All ideas should be properly evaluated following preset evaluation criteria. This means that those criteria have to be set first. If an idea passes the criteria, they will go through the next phase of development. If not, they are simply shelved for some other time. At the next phase of development, ideas that met the necessary criteria are tested and, if they pass this test, they are fully implemented and finally launched.
All companies seem to know and understand that innovation is vital to stay ahead of the competition. However, too few companies understand how to do it properly and how to truly benefit from it. As you can see from the above, however, it isn’t very difficult to be innovative. The two hardest elements are setting the criteria for evaluation (this should be done in an innovative manner!), and changing the company culture so that every employee knows that their voice will genuinely be heard, and that their ideas are appreciated, even if they don’t get implemented.
You must look at innovation from a strategic perspective, and leaders and managers should embody the values of innovation in order for it to be successful.