Innovation for your customers will equal innovation of your profits.
Grow your customers and they will automatically grow your business
Arguably the most visible and best examples of innovation come from the agricultural community. They have come a long way since the horse and plough and the pace of innovation continues to accelerate as farmers strive to keep up with the food demands of the consumers and the world.
Some people still think that all problems in the world have already been solved. While this might be a grossly over-optimistic version of reality they cannot be taken seriously. It won’t be long before we are sending people to Mars and a space probe to the Sun.
Scientists are already growing human body parts, while the cloud and social media have revolutionised the way we all do business. Today, if you are not innovating in your business you probably won’t be around for much longer.
There are people who already see beyond what is currently available on the market and, what is even more important, they are actually able to satisfy their needs by creating or modifying a given product or service.
With most innovation customer should come first
Innovation and change start with customers with similar problems, frustrations, wants and needs, all of which are constantly changing.
When innovation happens, it tends to spread from family and friends to the wider world and eventually to your competitors. This means, that in order to stay in front of our competitors we need to keep innovation at the forefront of our future planning and looking for ways of successfully changing the way things are done.
Customer led or customer inspired innovation helps to align all your business activities with the most important people in your business, the customers.
Observation + Analytics + Creativity = Customer Innovation and satisfaction
How will you manage your logistics to keep the costs to customers down?
Customer focused innovation
Customer-led innovation is concerned with ideas and improvements obtained directly from customers. When implemented these innovations usually mean you capture more of the customers business along with business from their networks.
If you are not communicating with you customers you are probably missing out on some great opportunities for innovation. This is where content marketing can play an important role in creating a two-way dialogue about how to solve a customer’s problems, frustrations wants and needs.
Here are some famous outcomes from user innovation? Think about mountain bikes, baby strollers, skateboards, they were all created from scratch by users. Try to think about such things as centre-pivot irrigation, or the bionic ear innovations that are literally changing people’s lives.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes , then learn how to do it later”. Richard Branson
Customer-led innovation can serve as an alignment tool for your business strategy, bringing your business output more closely in alignment with customer demand, and maintaining it there for the long haul.
Customer Innovation + alignment + content marketing = Business Success
Customer innovation can help in growing your business
The commercial viability of user-led innovation, as opposed to the costs of internal research and development, is becoming less and less questionable as customers become better educated and more aware of what is possible.
Businesses are investing in technology, tools and processes of attracting innovations created by users of their products and services and encouraging and helping them, instead of protecting them from user modification.
It also makes sense to assume that some of our innovation projects have already been developed by a creative user? These are often the people in the most disastrous circumstances, who often come up with the most brilliant and at the same time inexpensive solutions.
The challenge, however, is that once these users solve their problem, they have hardly any motivation to develop or market their innovation as they have already achieved their goal. This makes it more difficult to find and scale their solutions.
Do you think some of the problems you are trying to solve could have already been successfully solved by the people most affected by it? There is nothing as potent as customer intelligence when determining the highest leverage innovation efforts within your organisation.
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I used to wonder why farm tractors in Australia had so many gearbox problems. To save money farmers just wanted to put more and more wheel weights on the tractor, plus fill the tyres with water in order to get more traction and save them having to buy a more expensive tractor.
It took a user to tell me why. Tractors were not designed to carry such weight to improve their performance, which caused the gearbox failure.
Have you heard about inspiring examples of the customer, or user innovation solving problems that could be passed on? We invite to join you to join us in our search for existing innovative solutions to small enterprise challenges.