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How to Encourage Innovation in Your Business

How to Encourage Innovation in Your Business

Business Development

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

17 Jun 2015, 16:26 — 5 min read

Innovation is a formidable force. It compels businesses to constantly challenge the status quo and is the very anti-thesis of complacency.

Food for thought: Kodak did not foresee the rise of digital photography and as a result, from being market leader in its field, it was rendered almost irrelevant in a matter of a few years. The learning is simple: Even if you have a business model that is working well, don’t get complacent.

A culture of innovation propels transformation, gives rise to stimulating new products, resolves snags and conquers challenges. In your business, creating an environment conducive for innovation could help you reach new markets, streamline your processes and accomplish business goals.

Innovation doesn’t just happen by bringing ideas together. It takes a concrete plan of action to promote a culture of innovation in your organisation. Here are some steps you can adopt to boost innovation in your business.

  • Develop an innovation strategy
    Formulating an innovation strategy gives the innovation process a legitimate place in the company’s business strategy. Innovations are not miracles; they are the by-product of a systematic process. Little wonder, innovation is often referred to as ‘systematised coincidence’.


  • Be aware of new developments in technologies & market
    Innovation in a business is impacted by constantly changing markets and new technologies. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of relevant developments and trends.  You can get updated information about new technologies and market trends on the internet, in expert forums or conferences and trade shows. The Knowledge module on GlobalLinker is a great place for SMEs to stay updated and learn about new trends and developments.


  • Cultivate a creative culture
    Honing the potential of your employees fosters a culture of innovation. Create an atmosphere, where fresh ideas are appreciated, team members collaborate with one another and creative thinking thrives. Some of the ways of promoting a creative work environment are:

    1. Employees’ ideas must be appreciated and implemented
    2. Applaud and recognise positive team work
    3. Channels of communication between managers and employees must be open
    4. Office layout should be conducive to open and inspired thinking

 

  • Be proactive
    Always be aware of what your competitors are doing. Pay attention to what people are saying. Being up-to-date on social media channels is a great way to stay abreast with consumer preferences. Knowing the pulse of your market ensures that your innovation strategy is relevant. It prevents businesses from being caught off-guard and becoming obsolete.


  • Assess product feasibility
    An innovation cycle is completed once the product is introduced successfully into the market. Therefore, ideas for innovations, their technology and feasibility have to be evaluated in light of the business goals.

    Here are some questions you should ask yourself before embarking on an innovation project:

     1. What is the basic aim and what are customer benefits of the innovation?
     2. What is new about the idea? Are trademark or other legal rights required?
     3. Is the implementation strategy in line with the general corporate strategy?
     4. What are the risks involved?
     5. What employee, technological and financial resources will be required for the project?
     6. What is the course of action, what are the responsibilities and what is the time-frame necessary for the realisation of the innovation?


  • Seek financial support for innovation projects
    Innovation comes at a cost. Applying for grants and other forms of financial assistance can give you the resources you need to start such ambitious projects.

 

A company and its employees determine the core innovation process. It’s a well established fact; businesses that innovate tend to expand more over time than those that don't. In the words of Bob Iger, “The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.Share with us some of your business innovation strategies.

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GlobalLinker Staff

We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.

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