Nowadays the market is constantly changing and businesses adapt or die. Preferably you should be a leading player who determines what changes take place and when. So, if you haven’t yet developed a culture of innovation, it’s high time you do. Even a start-up with a proactive philosophy can over time become a market leader. Do you for instance reap the benefits of ideas generated by someone in your organisation?
In today’s market you need to develop and evolve on a continuous basis. If not, stagnation sets in and you are on the wrong path. What customers want and desire change all the time, competition intensifies, the need to be efficient accelerate, economic fundamentals are altered, re-financing has to be done, new techniques are introduced and your staff turn over. It’s actually easier to list what doesn’t change constantly than what does.
Nothing ever stays the same
Gone are the days when you could just sit back and run your company like a machine. Something is always happening that has an impact on your business. Or as Lewis Carrol put it: “It takes all the running you can manage to stay in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you have to force yourself to run at least twice as fast.” The same goes for risk, to prioritize stability and safety and not taking any risks would be difficult, if not impossible, in today’s integrated world.
Beware of stagnation
Catalysts for change can come from an abundance of stake holders such as; customers, you, your colleagues, the board, science, new and improved technologies, the media, new theories, world events, new competitors and your own strategic planning. What was new half a ago is already out of date.
If you haven’t yet started to innovate on a continuous basis, even change for the sake of change can actually be a good thing. It will add a momentum that break stagnation and stop mold from growing.
From here to success
Innovation equals change and shows a desire to improve. It can happen in a multitude of ways. Could be new products, new marketing, services, business processes or even changing your organization as a whole.
No matter what, the ability of turning ideas into progress is a true mark of a successful innovation. To succeed in developing a good idea is as crucial as realizing when an idea is too expensive and time consuming to be worth while. Especially if it’s questionable if the company will really benefit significantly from the idea in question.
Look at the pros and cons
Unless you have to, don’t start implementing any idea that could be lucrative. Evaluate it carefully by looking at pros and cons. A SWOT analysis is one way of determining the likelihood of succeeding and will give you a good platform for deciding if you are likely to benefit from going ahead or not.
Determine and evaluate results
Before starting a new project it’s vital to decide what would constitute success and what result would be good enough. How will you measure if it’s a success or not? Can it be achieved quickly or do you have to look at the project long term? To measure and follow up results is also a great way of determining how to succeed with future developments. What made it a success? Why was the result just good enough and not excellent? What factors contributed to an outcome that was merely OK? Why did the idea fail?
Step by step
Innovation can actually be fun and challenging. It will facilitate if you can break it down and take one step at a time. Frequently organizations start a project without finishing it. So do it gradually, take action, make sure you are making progress and finish the project. The worst that can happen is that you fail and learn from it.
How do you develop and innovate? Does your business have an innovative culture? Or maybe a culture of creating value? Do you focus on evaluating ideas and suggestions for change? How do you set goals and determine what would constitute a positive change? How do you follow up and determine what mistakes you made and learn from them? Change happens through evolution or revolution but make no bones about it development and innovation needs to be done on a continuous basis. It’s how you go about it that determines if you succeed. If you resist change, you will stagnate and competitors will gain the upper hand. And then, one way or another, a revolution will take place, for better or for worse.
Photo: o5com – Flickr