‘Innovation’ is a word that pops up a lot in the business world these days. Even the government considers it a high priority. In order for your business to succeed and stand out in a sea of competitors, it has to be innovative. But what does that mean, exactly?
At its core, innovation is all about making positive changes in the established order of things. It means introducing new ideas, products and/or processes into the business world and setting yourself apart from others in your industry. If you want to do all of this and more, here are five simple ways to make your business more innovative.
1. Embrace change.
This is an essential first step to fostering an innovative business culture within your company. If you and your employees don’t embrace and actively seek out change, your business will never move forward or reach its innovative potential.
Rather than waiting for external circumstances to force change within your business, focus on being proactive and actioning changes yourself. Consider what your customers or clients want and need – and try to think outside the box: what might they want or need that they don’t even know yet themselves? Whatever this may be, take it upon yourself to push boundaries and provide it.
2. Consider collaboration from outside your company.
Not all your business innovation has to come from within the company. If possible, try to collaborate with other industry innovators to invite a range of new ideas and skills into the mix. This will speed up your innovation process and keep you ahead of your competitors.
If you outsource some of your developmental processes, you can often complete products and achieve goals much faster than if you were to work completely in-house. So don’t be afraid to expand the sources of your innovation.
3. Reconsider what you’re doing and how you can do it better.
Following on from our point about embracing change, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your business. Are you really doing everything possible to provide the best product or service for your customers? Are there changes you can make – big or small – to improve your offerings and refresh your approach to your customers’ needs?
Again, this is all about anticipating future trends and customer requirements, and addressing them as early as possible. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box or deviate from the path you thought your business would originally take. Take heed from innovative companies like Apple and Amazon and work hard to consistently update and improve your services. And on that note…
4. Learn from other innovators.
Be sure to look at what other companies are doing to pursue innovation. There are plenty of innovative and disruptive business models out there at the moment: take companies like Uber and Airbnb, for example. These companies have taken traditional business models and standards, flipped them on their heads, and used the powers of innovation and change to their own great advantage.
Research successful industry leaders in your area of business, and take note of what they’re doing well and/or differently. Learning from the best can only help drive your business in the right direction for innovation.
5. Make the most of technology.
We live in a digital age, and businesses must embrace this to the fullest. Utilising the latest technological developments and upgrading your business process will not only ensure you’re in line with your competitors; it will also make life easier for your employees. After all, a business is nothing without the people who work within it, so encourage your staff to work to the best of their abilities by providing them with everything they need to do so.
Embracing technology can be as simple as moving your paper system to the cloud, or transferring a physical process such as faxing to a digital system like eFax. Even small changes like this will set you on the path to innovation, and help your employees get the most out of their workplace.