Is your company safe in today’s market? Can you confidently say that in a year or two there will be no competitors with better solutions than yours? Does your company know of the potentially disruptive technologies that are emerging? Would your company be able to adapt and survive if an innovative competitor emerged that stole a significant share of its market? If you answered “yes” to the previous questions, you probably do not need to read this text – your company must already have good corporate innovation practices.
If you are part of the overwhelming majority of professionals, you must have answered “no” at least once. Don’t worry – you are not alone. After the deep temblors experienced by giants like Kodak, Nokia, and Blockbuster (to name some of the most famous examples), it seems a little naive to think that your company may be 100% “safe” in the market. The question is: how to organize a company so that it can operate with excellence on a day-to-day basis, while constantly observing and interacting with news, creating new solutions, and avoiding being caught by surprise. When you finish reading this text, you will have a better idea about:
- Why the world is changing faster and faster.
- How these changes are unfolding.
- What corporate innovation skills your company needs to have to adapt to changes.
- How you can contribute.
Why things have changed
What stands out today is that the vast amount of new technologies arriving and the speed with which they are emerging across the world. The time between important inventions is shortening, as pointed out by observers.
Companies are groups of people who cooperate to meet the needs of their customers in return for remuneration. If the remuneration received is greater than the costs that the company had to meet the needs of customers, the company has a profit and continues to exist. If a company succeeds in cooperating better and decreasing its costs or increasing its value delivery, it will have more profit, it will have an extraordinary profit. It turns out that, since the industrial revolution, the number of companies that exist in the world has been increasing very fast. Competition forces companies to create more effective ways to serve customers. When a company finds a better way to produce, its competitors observe this movement and imitate it. In other words, extraordinary profits do not last forever.
What corporate innovation skills does your company need to adapt to changes?
So far, we have seen that competitors are creative people looking for extraordinary profits. It’s important to understand that there are currently several possible innovation initiatives, and you can adapt them to your company’s needs. In this section, there are plenty of things to explore such as essential skills your company can invest in to become more innovative.
According to Steve Jobs: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Monitor market trends
Looking at the market and identifying potential opportunities and threats is crucial. Speaking is much easier than doing. The company needs to dedicate resources for monitoring trends, either through attending relevant events, frequent reading of market reports, a well-developed network of contacts, and frequent dialogue with the customer base. In addition to just monitoring, understanding how trends relate to the company’s innovation strategy. Here, it is very useful to have a well-defined innovation thesis.
Look at the core and evaluate the product curve
As we saw, technologies are spreading and things that today generate good profits may soon stop doing so. It is necessary to know the stage of the adoption curve in which each product is. To be able to measure this, it is necessary to have good indicators and market intelligence. Trend mapping also helps in this step, as it provides information about which product lines may be at risk in the short, medium, and long term.
Every company has communication problems since it is impossible to have 100% clear communication and understood equally by all employees. There will always be interpretative differences, but the company must minimize these differences as far as possible – especially when it comes to innovation (projects in which the financial return may not be the most attractive metric at first).
How innovation helps your business
Marketing, sales, finance; in recent years, a new area has been added to these traditional departments of companies: the area of innovation. Responsible for several processes aimed at innovation, the area gains strength with the increase of competition in the market, a context in which it is necessary to reinvent itself to remain relevant. And you, what have you done for your company to innovate? Does your business already have an area – or at least one person – focused on business innovation? Is it being used well and bringing the best possible results? Is it only to buy a startup to innovate?
Knowing the different types of innovation
Innovating is a very broad concept. That is why the application of innovation in companies is usually divided into different types. Knowing them is important to ensure that your company can innovate on different fronts. There are many types of innovation. From a business model, process, organisational, marketing, product, services. Here, let’s talk about the main ones.
- Process innovation: the focus here is to improve the company’s processes to make them more productive.
- Product innovation: in this type of innovation, the focus is on offering new products to customers or improving those you already offer.
- Service innovation: the idea is the same as product innovation, offering a new service, or improving those already on the market to make customers’ lives even easier.
Innovation can also happen in the company in several ways: incremental when it is done through small improvements; radical, when it creates a new market; and disruptive, when it focuses on the business model.
Practice open innovation and learn how to implement it
Open innovation is a way to innovate which promotes ideas, processes, and open research. In practice, this means that the company combines internal and external ideas to innovate. The company needs to open up to listen to partners and work cooperatively, whether with customers, universities, or suppliers. These people and institutions can help in the development of new, valuable, and useful products, services, and technologies. Also, there are other advantages, such as saving time, reducing costs, and minimizing risks. You can learn about the benefits of learning new things about the ever-changing workplace here.
Innovation is not just about following digital trends, although they are essential in the process, such as digital marketing, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence, among others. The first step is to adopt innovation management in the company and this decision must come from the entrepreneur. As many do not know where to start or how to make this implementation, it is essential to have specialized support. This is ideal for entrepreneurs who seek to implement innovation in the company, who have a vision for the future, the courage to see beyond the market, and boldness to undertake in the current scenario. Innovation in any company is essential, not only to remain in the market but also to obtain a competitive advantage and become a benchmark in the industry. Therefore, be sure to apply it in your business as soon as possible to enjoy all its benefits.
Try motivating employees more by encouraging them to be part of something bigger and better. The culture of innovation not only listens to the external public but is also always attentive to the opinions and ideas of employees. When they feel they can help the company grow and move up in their careers, they are more motivated. In this way, they will not be the only beneficiaries, since they are the engine of company growth. Motivation makes them work better, look for more training, attract qualified professionals and, as a result, the business as a whole is improved. Innovation can lead to effective management and creates an organized environment with effective methods that bring consistent results, which is an essential point for a successful company in the long run. Therefore, it is not enough to present an innovative product or service, the whole company must be up-to-date and immersed in a new culture that focuses on new technologies, cloud services, AI, advanced customer service, and anything else related to the modernization of your company.
Innovative products and services have a greater added value, which in turn will help your company to grow continuously. There is also the fact that investing in the company’s innovation improves its reputation and image in the market, becoming a reference in the area. With that, you can use the acquired authority to set trends. The future is here and it is yours for the taking.