Innovation can be defined simply as a "new idea, device or method".
New ideas may come from the introduction of new technology, material or products. Or your business may discover them through staff, customer or market feedback and demand. It’s not just about technology, or asking the market what it wants, because they don’t always know. Sometimes, as this is the case with Amazon, you have to lead the market. Some would argue though that Amazon simply innovates to solve problems and make our life as we know it easier.
A popular idea at the moment is business model innovation, where companies are changing their identity from being a supplier to a creator of a specific service. Booking.com doesn’t own a single hotel but is one of the world’s largest accommodation providers – its business model based on a platform enabling people to share their own spaces. This is innovation in its true self.
So how can you develop a model to innovate in your industry?
There are different stages you will need to go through.
Stage 1. Opportunities, challenges and Idea regeneration – Your businesses will need to create an atmosphere where creativity is welcomed, feedback is rewarded and ideas flourished (right or wrong).
Its also crucial to collaborate with others inside and outside of your business, do customer research, listen to complaints, the market and keep an eye on your competition.
Stage 2. Developing and Testing – Once you have an idea, its time to develop and test it. Depending on what your idea is this could involve creating a test product, having a focus group with your staff or customers, sending a limited edition run out or using another product testing model.
Stage 3. Making the case – Once you have tested your idea you need to evaluate it. Measure the impact, forecast the income or market size and make a business case as to whether it should be implemented.
Stage 4. Delivering and Implementing – Implementation is the process of moving an idea from concept to reality. Your focus should shift from developing your idea to planning and managing its implementation. You may need to think about organisational design, policies and procedures that need to be implemented, marketing and business modelling.
Stage 5. Growing and Scaling – How can these ideas help you move from a small enterprise to a big organisation?
Stage 6. Evaluating – Once the idea is implemented don’t stop there. Can it be better, bigger, cheaper, can it run more smoothly? You should always be innovating.
Are you ready to turbocharge your innovation and scale-up your business?
Let us help you!
STEP, together with Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), are hosting a free event aimed at companies that are growing or have potential to grow, using or developing new technology or investing in research and innovation.