Innovation and progress go hand in hand if you take the time to plan for it.
You must let go and learn to grow
All too often business owners and managers are too bound up in the day-to-day running of their business to devote any time to what will lead them to more profit, more growth and to sustainability. The things that led them to their initial success, are so ingrained, creativity is almost non-existent and progress is left to chance.
The processes and procedures that helped to make organisations successful are often the exact things preventing them from being innovative and finding that next level of new growth. Rid your business of these creativity and innovation killers. Don’t you be blind to new ideas? The only long term sustainable competitive advantage will be the rate at which a business implements innovation.
Never underestimate rapid change. Much of the accepted ways of doing business are becoming obsolete or irrelevant. The new ways have to be learned and a great deal of study is necessary to keep up to date. No longer does anyone have the luxury of the “status quo”. It’s updated, or go out of business.
There is no right way to do the wrong thing. Creativity and innovation are all around us, new paradigms are changing the rules about how business is done. A Paradigm is a way of doing something, a set of rules, a way of thinking. In the modern world of global knowledge, communications and technology we must be continually finding new and innovative ways of doing things. If we don’t, then our competitors will. Here is an example of old Planning
Old planning paradigms versus the new planning paradigms
|Old ways of planning||New ways of planning|
|• Process orientated.
• Management control.
• Ad hoc training.
• Poor planning tools.
• Poor information.
• Will do it next year.
|• Vision directed.
• Staff control, teams.
• Learning organisation.
• Sophisticated tools.
• Virtual knowledge.
• Can’t do without it.
But beware of the new paradigm ‘killers’
- “It can’t be done”
- “We are waiting for the government”
- “We don’t have time”
- “That’s impossible!”
- “The bank wouldn’t give me the money”
- “We tried that last month – it didn’t work”
- “That’s too big a change for us to handle”
- “It’s too much of a risk”
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk”. Harry Warner, Warner Bros, 1927.
“There is no reason for an individual to have a computer in their home”. Ken Olsen DEC, 1970.
How to find a new innovation
To find a new way of doing something in your business, take a piece of paper, then rule it into three columns. Head the columns;
- This is how it was done in the past
- This is how it is done now
- How could it be done in the future
Now pose a problem that needs solving or a way of doing business that you would like to improve. List what you know under these headings. Be careful when you are working in column three, check that it is not already being done and you just don’t know about it.
Ask yourself this question. “What today is impossible to do in our industry or business, but if it could be done, it would fundamentally change what we do and how we do it”? If we could find the answers to such a question we could blitz our competition.
You have a simple choice
You have a simple choice to achieve the same result as you have in the past year, or you can take control and start to manage your time and resources, achieving results that might even surprise you and in less time and with more fun.
Most advances in science, business, technology and all other fields of endeavour and most individual achievements have been made by people who would not accept that something could not be done.
The value of an idea
When you’ve come up with a really great idea, doesn’t it feel awesome? But, one of the most significant challenges every business owner faces is resisting the temptation to chase a great idea rather than solving a customer frustration, problem, want or need.
The world is full of good ideas. They strike like a light being turned on in a dark room. We all have good ideas, so many of them that we might wonder why we all are not rich. There are so many good ideas in the world, in fact, that if ideas were a commodity there would be a perennial glut and the market would be depressed. So what makes an idea valuable? What is it which makes the difference between an idea and a marketable product?
The answer seems simple, ideas need an appropriate environment to be created around them before they will bear fruit, just as fruit trees need the right amount of water and sunlight.”
When 80%+ of all new products developed each year fail, you would be forgiven thinking the current state of innovation as fundamentally broken. Tossing mud against the wall, hoping some will stick, is irresponsible; not to mention an incredible waste of time, effort and money.
There is a better way
Put the customer first and finding a better way to serve them makes more sense. This, of course, would include innovative ways to manage and run your business better.
While ideas might be abundant, coming up with well informed and focused ideas isn’t always easy. Occasionally, you will be lucky and have one of those serendipitous moments, but unfortunately more times than not, it doesn’t work out this way.
Coming up with good new innovation ideas is hard work and thankfully hard work can often be made easier with some creative thinking when we challenge the way things are currently being done.
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The first step to launching a big plan for innovation is just that, a step, not a leap of faith. Small changes over time lead to massive transformation. You can do extraordinary things when you are patiently persistent and take one step at a time.
Change your conversations and create a positive innovation planning environment. Negativity and negative people will adversely impact you innovation planning and aspirations.
Not taking the time to plan the innovation requirements of your organisation could prove to be fatal.