Innovate or Quit! 7 ways to make your company more innovative

Innovation has become the only means of survival in an exceedingly competitive, and “survival of the fittest” business space.  With a 13.39% increase in the inflation rate in Nigeria in 2020 and 7.5 million small businesses at the risk of shutting down as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic, there is no better time than now to take innovation seriously.  

Apart from being a survival tool, innovation also helps you achieve the following.

  • Solve problems easily and quickly 
  • Double up on productivity
  • Beat competition
  • Market your business

What is Innovation? 

According to Forbes, Innovation is something different that creates value.

Breaking it down further, 

“Something” includes products and technology. It also includes services, processes, revenue models, and loads of other things. 

“Different” refers to something that often surprises people. Sometimes innovation isn’t something new, it’s something different. 

“Creates value” is probably the most important part of the definition. All innovations solve problems. Solving problems creates value. If you solve a big problem, either because it’s a problem lots of people have or it’s a very painful problem a few people have or something in-between, you create a lot of value for others and for yourself.

Innovation IS NOT a one-size-fits-all term.

In summary, Innovation refers to creating more effective processes, products, and ideas. For a business, it could mean implementing new ideas, improving services, or creating dynamic products. It can act as a catalyst that can make your business grow and can help you adapt to the marketplace.

Below are 7 ways your company can become more innovative. 

  1. Ask the right questions

Asking common questions, lead to getting ordinary answers, answers that aren’t strategic enough to solve problems. Asking the right questions lead you down paths that open new ways of thinking about your business. 

2. Create a culture of Innovation

For instance, instead of asking, “How do we increase sales?” or “What do our customers want?” Ask, “Do we have the right sales force for this type of customer?” or “What do our customers want, but don’t realize yet?

That’s the first step in making a business more innovative. All ideas – good, bad, or ridiculous – should be encouraged, valued and considered. Without fear of rejection, employees will more likely be able to develop the can-do attitude that is the catalyst for innovation.

To create such a culture, there have to be open lines of communication between the management of the company and employees, and one way of doing this is to hold brainstorming sessions and other ideation events. 

3. Recruit Innovative People

A company is only as innovative as its staff members. When hiring new staff to bring an element of creativity to the team, look for candidates who see things differently and will bring a fresh perspective to the business.

4. Embrace New Technology 

New Technology was created to ease your work, double your speed, and improve your processes, leverage them. 

Embracing technology can be as simple as creating an online store, moving paper-based systems to the cloud, or implementing new payment methods – small changes that will reduce costs, improve efficiencies and drive further innovation within the organization.

5. Bring in Innovation from the Outside

Business innovation does not always have to be driven from the inside out, it can be the other way round. Collaborating externally via outsourcing or strategic partnerships with other innovative businesses is a good way of bringing fresh ideas into the mix and speeding up the innovation process.

6. Invest in the Creative Nourishment of your Workers 

Don’t just preach to your team the importance of creativity.  Rather demonstrate the specific ways to find creativity so that they can implement innovation in their work.

For example, you can dedicate a day to motivate your workers to experiment with new ideas. Similarly, you can conduct weekly workshops to encourage your employees to brainstorm ideas for an upcoming project.

Google was among the first companies to create a business model based on innovation. The company allocates 20% of its time to nurture the innovative side of their employees.

7. Develop an Accommodative Leadership Style

As the leader of a company, you cannot develop a culture of innovation if you fail to show them the way to innovation through your own attitude and behavior.

Expecting your workers to give you more in less time is one such way you kill the desire of your workers to do something extraordinary. When you prefer short-term results over long-terms benefits of innovative ideas, you will kill their innovative spirit.

If you need innovation in your marketing and business strategy, you can partner with us to design a formula that works for your business. 

What are you going to start doing differently to increase innovation in your organization? 

Seunfunmi Bolarinwa
Seunfunmi Bolarinwa

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