The idea of innovation has become encrusted with myth—that innovation is only about developing new products. New products are, of course, important, but they’re not innovation’s exclusive realm.
Because innovation is the key driver of competitive advantage, revenue, operating margin and profitability growth, identify all the areas of your enterprise that are ripe for innovation. Then apply your innovation initiatives in the one area (at least at first) that offers the highest return on effort.
Avoid trying to innovate across all areas simultaneously and diluting both your focus and your efforts. Once the highest priority area is improved, move on to the next.
Innovation can be applied in at least six broad business categories.
- Innovation Process: How you support and invest in innovation. How you create unique offerings.
- Process innovation: How you create and add value to your offerings. How you use signature or superior methods to do your work. The ideation and deployment of new ways of doing work.
- Product/Service Performance: How you design your core offerings. How you develop distinguishing features and functionality, including both entirely new offerings, as well as updates and line extensions that add substantial value.
- Product/Service System: How you create complementary products and services. How individual products, services or experiences link, connect or bundle together.
- Customer Service: How you provide value to customers and consumers beyond and around your offerings. How you fix problems and smooth the rough edges in the customer experience. How you make an offering easier to try and use. How you reveal features and functionality customers might otherwise overlook.
- Technology Innovation: Disruptive technology gets the most press though the incremental application of technology may have the largest impact on your internal operations.
- Channel: How you market and deliver your company’s offerings to your customers and users.
- Supply Chain innovation: How you manage your supply chain from supplier all the way to the end consumer.
- Brand: How you represent your business and express your offering’s benefit to the outside world.
- Customer experience: How you create overall customer experience. How your customers feel when they interact with your company and its offerings.
- Marketing innovation: implementation of new marketing methods involving improvements in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing.
- Business model: How you convert your enterprise’s offerings and other sources of value into cash, such as fee for service, regular subscription, pay up front, monthly retainer, direct sales, shared risk, capitation, bundled payments, self insuring,
- Value Network: How you join forces with other companies for mutual benefit. How you capitalize on your own strengths while harnessing the capabilities and assets of others by taking advantage of other companies’ processes, technologies, offerings, channels, and brands.
- Enterprise Innovation: How you implementation new organizational methods and behaviours in the enterprise’s business practices, culture, workplace organization or external relations. How you organize and deploy hard, human or intangible assets in ways that create value.
- Strategy Innovation: How you plan for the future growth and direction of your team, department or whole organization.
If you need help with getting your innovation initiatives started, help is available.
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