By having open communication with the customers, you can understand their pain points or dissatisfaction’s, which could help you develop a better service or process. To begin with, there should be an understanding of whether they really want a change in the product or service. Don’t innovate for the sake of innovation. Customer surveys, social media and market research would help reveal what changes are required by the customer.
Innovation thrives only in organisations that have a futuristic view, and leaders should have a vision. In the late 1970s, Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was doubtful if household’s would buy personal computers. Now it is a commonplace, and DEC is no morepaq acquired it, and subsequently, Compaq was acquired by HP. DEC promoter found home PC an impossibility. Sometimes, it requires courage to pursue ideas that look impossible or risky.
Many organisations face the prospect of launching a new product that is radically different from its existing offering but can’t abandon it. IBM’s mainstay was mainframe computers, and even when it launched personal computers, it retained its strength in mainframes. Hindustan Lever that witnessed the emergence of popular economy brand washing powders had to sustain its premium brand Surf even as it came up with lower-priced offerings such as Wheel and Rin washing powders. Netflix changed its business model from sending DVDs by post to streaming video to its subscribers without exiting from the business.
Disruptive technologies and changing trends
When Google and other search engines implemented algorithm changes and focused away from keywords that led to the destruction of several websites that thrived on copying or rewriting content based on popular keywords, new technologies or process can be disruptive. Still, ultimately, it helps the mass consumer. Google’s effort was to ensure the best search results for internet users while some disruptive technologies led to better convenience for consumers. Skype-enabled long-distance calls easier, iTunes gave a better choice over record stores, and Craigslist offered a better alternative to classified ads.
There is a belief that innovation is for start-ups and not for market leaders. However, it is far from true. Innovation can happen in any organization where there; the cultural mindset is tuned to finding solutions to problems creatively. One way to learn how to innovate is by learning the lessons from leaders in the field. The Forbes list of innovative companies is drawn from technology, ecommerce, pharmaceuticals, automobile, food and beverages, consumer products, credit cards, IT industry payday loans online Utah and so on. They include small and big brands worldwide.
According to the IBM Global CEO Study, if the leadership and work culture are unsupportive, that is a barrier to innovation. Disruptive innovators have the qualities of associating, experimenting, questioning and networking on their new ideas. When there is an atmosphere of ‘fear’ in the company, innovation cannot occur as no leader will be willing to take any risks.
It has been proven that the best performers in SP 500 list have been consistently in, and they have not been much harmed by the technological disruptions and financial crisis that spelt doom for the average performers. When the top leadership shows passion and the courage to implement new ideas, they percolate down the organization.
There is no substitute for hard work, and there’s no magic in innovation- it comes through sustained efforts, thinking and conceptualization. Organisations that are focused on the short term and pressure to show topline growth, more bothered about quarterly results, may lose sight of the long term.
When managers are rewarded for their ability to innovate rather than running the show status quo, and creativity is celebrated, results would be much better. Innovation is win-win for both the consumer and the industry.