Feel uninspired? Look to nature for more inspiration.
How serious are you about your sales and profits this year?
Sales and profit provide the oxygen for any organisation. Without them, innovation would not be affordable and could be a distraction to doing the basics that keep the business going.
By the same token basking in the glory of success for too long without continuous improvement can quickly lead to failure.
Ultimately, the decline in sales and profit is the failure of products and services becoming stale, obsolete and failing to inspire buyers, boils down to a lack of innovation.
How is innovation used to inspire your organisation? Research and innovation provide great insights into what is possible to help you build a profitable and sustainable business.
“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger”. Jay Baer
How you can inspire more innovation
One of the toughest challenges smaller organisations and communities face is how to inspire your people to think creatively, and challenge the status quo, while still keeping your everyday operations running smoothly? Innovation, in short, is anything but business as usual.
Innovation is not like most other business functions and activities. There are no reliable templates, rules, processes, or even measures of success. Each act of innovation is a unique feat, a leap in an individual, or the organisation’s creativity and imagination that can be difficult to predict or replicate.
However, there are things you can do in becoming an innovative organisation that can inspire not only the employees but the toughest customers and suppliers.
Before you become too embroiled in innovation clearly articulate your purpose, vision and objectives. While driving your desire to reach attractive outcomes it is important to be able to maintain focus on what is important to you and what will have the biggest positive impact on your future.
Create a culture of innovation
In building a positive innovative culture, make innovation the norm. Encourage innovation and make it and ordinary part of your everyday thinking and operations, don’t separate it from the rest of our business. Make it a part of every meeting agenda.
Many organisations make innovation something they do when they have time. They start with all kinds of hope and excitement, but in the end, they rarely produce results because there is no consistency.
For innovation to produce quality outcomes, it needs to be addressed systematically, like any business issue in which you define the problem and then solve it. When you seek to establish a culture that generates innovation, you must not think of innovation as something that occurs by chance, but rather as the result of collective behaviour that is accepted and valued.
Allocation of resources
Start with a small percentage of your monthly budget. It is important for everyone to know the boundaries and financial limitations, which can actually enhance the creation of innovation.
What do you want to accomplish, and how will you do it? What resources will we need and who will be on the team? How will you measure success and how will you motivate and reward successful innovations?
If there are no boundaries for time and resources it is easy to become embroiled in the excitement of innovation and the rest of the business will suffer.
Involve your customers
So many businesses see their customers as on ‘the other side’ and not a critical part in their profitable growth and sustainability.
Remember most innovations, if not all, start with an individual. It is not uncommon to see a new innovation that was inspired by a customer. This makes sense because the customers are the users of your products and services and they are on the receiving end of your customer service and customer experience practices.
It, therefore, should make perfect sense to involve you customers in your innovation program by:
- Visiting them using your products and services.
- Inviting them to innovation meetings.
- Seeking their advice about new products and services.
- Monitoring their responses to your customer services.
Marketing innovation should be a priority
From on-site targeting to personalisation, and improving the customer experience, you can use process automation to more effectively market your products and services to both prospects and existing customers. Automation innovation extends well beyond email marketing and is worth considering as your build your marketing program.
Automation is certainly useful for mundane tasks. But for other types of tasks, such as innovation it can be better with a manual approach, especially if there is a need for some creative input.
Inspire motivation for better innovation ideas and opportunities
Motivation requires more than a moving speech, though great motivational talks can certainly build excitement. Inspirational motivation is about stretching of an individual’s thinking and motivating action orientation.
Giving clear directions and meaningful goals that are rewarded can be motivation enough for most people. It is also very important to provide the space needed to work on innovations and giving permission to make mistakes.
Summary of the types of innovation
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It is hard to imagine successful organisations losing their competitive edge but we do see these scenarios unfold just as much as they do in smaller businesses, non-profits and communities. Influencing innovation requires a disruption to current thinking or a disruption when a lack of thinking exists.
I remember throughout my life reframing questions in different ways to help me to think creatively. I have found the best way to help others to create and innovate is simply by asking questions. Positive questioning of existing practices and approaches can really help to facilitate new thinking, problem-solving and decision-making.