Why Innovation is Crucial to Your Business’s Long-Term Success
Modern businesses succeed and grow in today’s corporate climate for a number of reasons. Some are known for the services they offer, some for their products, and others for those not easily defined factors like captivating marketing campaigns and strong brand loyalty.
If we were to look at businesses that really stand out from the crowd today as strong leaders within their industries, however, it would be clear as a bell that they all share one familiar factor: they all embrace innovation.
We’ve seen innovative market leaders like Uber and Amazon – which changed core processes in their industries in order to disrupt the status quo – as well as committed brands like Apple and Microsoft, which have been around for quite some years but owe their success to constant reinvention and innovation. That reminds us that, no matter the industry or current status, a business cannot expect to uphold a competitive edge if innovation is a stranger in all of their critical business processes.
Why You Need an Innovation Strategy?
Despite a strong financial ability and a massive investment of time, innovation lacks in many of today’s companies. Innovation initiatives often fail, and successful innovators face a difficult time sustaining their performance. But why is it so difficult to uphold the capacity to innovate? The reasons go far beyond the often cited cause: a failure to execute. It’s that simple: Where there’s no strategy, there’s no innovation success.
To put it simply, a strategy is nothing more than a string of coherent, mutually reinforcing behaviors and policies aimed at achieving certain competitive goals. Well-written strategies encourage alignment among various groups within a business, define priorities and objectives, and help focus efforts around them.
Having a good strategy in place can easily become a grab of well-distinguished practices like creating internal entrepreneurial programs, embracing crowdsourcing and open innovation, collaborating with clients, and applying rapid prototyping, to name a few.
The thing with innovation is strategies is like with everything in life: What works for someone won’t necessarily work for another.
Implementing someone else’s system is not a solution. There is no system that works or fits well under all circumstances. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with learning from others, but it’s wrong to consider that what works for, say Amazon, is going to work for your business.
That said, without a good innovation strategy in place, different parts of your company can easily end up undergoing conflicting priorities.
People recognize the importance of Purpose and have begun holding companies accountable. In today’s ever-growing market, people are more likely to purchase, trust, and champion brands with a strong purpose, as the recent 2020 “strength of purpose” study shows.
A strong, positive relationship between the strength of Purpose and brands results makes leading with Purpose an imperative for brands’ success yielding, brand affinity, stronger reputation, and bottom-line results.
Rethinking Your Brand for Speed
The pandemic has stressed-tested brands and companies to the point of reinventing their business models, encouraging them to adopt new ways of working at speed. Old management-led hierarchies have been replaced by flat structures that promote decision-making, enhancing the company’s ability to perform better at scale with speed.
As such, many companies have taken their time to educate their staff on the latest project management skills, minimize distractions and provide time-saving tools that not only improve productivity but also eliminate bottlenecks.
Feedback is another critical factor that can make or break a company’s work execution. Instead of viewing feedback as a one-way street, brands encouraged employees to communicate about how the different strategies are working while offering insights from a vantage point.
Celebrating small wins, motivating, and even hiring an innovation speaker can help employees get a fresh perspective and hit those productivity milestones and all that in suitable time.
What is Your Business Missing?
To know what your company should better work on, look at various symptoms in your business. It’s everything compliant? That means you have a stable process and accountability but lack motivation. If you’re witnessing an erratic performance, chances are you have good motivation and accountability but still have to work on sub-par processes. If your organization’s performance reduces over time, your company has good motivation and process, but it’s your responsibility to work on accountability.
Once business leaders understand the importance of process, motivation, and accountability, they can literally handle any risk with these simple steps:
- Identify what needs or frustrations to be improved.
- If that happened more than once, how would you solve it now?
- Note the results you want.
- Problems within a business don’t fail to appear. But when they do, get to the root, ask questions and try to solve them.
How to Embrace Innovation?
In order to grow, stay relevant in uncertain times, and differentiate from the competitors, brand leaders must have a creative approach and embrace innovation into their organizational models. Of course, the willingness to innovate isn’t the only ingredient for success, in order to thrive, business leaders must also have a solid understanding of how to embrace that innovation.
One way of promoting innovation is by gaining experience working on new, exciting, truly challenging, and innovative projects that will expose business leaders and their employees to skills needed to drive innovation. The good news is that many of the skills necessary to generate ideas and bring them successfully to market can be learned – by business leaders or key employees that might be in charge of innovation. A study has shown that innovation requires being open to good ideas, then being proactive to develop them. Of course, nobody has to be incredibly artsy or highly creative to embrace innovation as it’s enough to promote an environment that fosters that mentality – a mentality in which the future of your organization will be exciting to shape. The best part? You can see the growth of new industries and economies that hopefully benefit society, and you get to be part of that.