Business Innovation Strategy for the 21st Century 

A lot of companies talk about innovation, but few actually get something accomplished on their road to innovation. Contrary to popular belief large enterprises can be innovative if they have the right processes in place and stop shooting themselves in the foot. Let’s take a look at a business innovation strategy you can do today to increase your innovation and start growing and conquering new markets. 

Change Your Outlook

A lot of people believe that innovation is the job of the R&D department when in fact it is everybody’s responsibility. Each team member has a certain level of creativity and you need to be able to increase their creative confidence. This could be done through and introducing an environment where everybody has to contribute. So for example, let’s say that somebody has a different opinion on an issue than somebody in the C-suite. People need to be encouraged to voice their opinion in order to contribute and potentially help avoid the company make a mistake. 

This idea of hearing people out is very important. If you ask people to be innovative and use their creativity, you need to promote a culture that is tolerant of other opinions. This is something that is hard to achieve at some companies, but the business innovation strategy requires such an approach.. Innovation is not a skill that can be taught in the classroom. Therefore, you need to multiply the amount of people who are encouraged to come up with new ideas and make sure that they at least have the ability to voice them and they have the ability to influence processes. Also, remember that you do not necessarily need a break through right away. Even if you achieve some incremental steps forward, this is ok as well. 

Change Comes from the Down Up

While it is important to secure the backing for the business innovation strategy from the C-Suite you also need to make sure that all levels of the organization are participating. Right now, it is popular to set up “innovation committees” where people sit in a room and discuss theoretical ideas. This is a complete waste of time. Invite people from all positions and seniority levels to participate in the process. It is a good idea for all of these people to come together and share their ideas about improving processes, which is where the idea of a committee might be entertained. Try asking for volunteers to be on such a committee, but you should take applications based on their ideas and the attributes they will bring. You might be surprised by the results. 

Rethink Employee Training 

When we say training, we do not mean honing developer skills or anything that has to do with increasing employee qualifications. Instead, try focusing on 5 things:

  1. Individuality – teach people to be confident and release their creativity.
  2. Teams – It very important that team leaders promote a culture where everybody is being heard. 
  3. Manager – Work with managers directly so they know how to implement a diverse and inclusive culture. 
  4. Customers – Try taking a different approach with your customers and try listening more to them and their needs. 
  5. Business – Make sure that each business unit understands its role. Try innovating with your core competency. This will be a good filter for finding ideas. 

Start Implementing the Business Innovation Strategy Today

While this business innovation strategy will put you on the road to success, you have to start today. You have a lot of creative potential with your employees and it is time that you start using it to increase business growth. Promoting a culture of inclusion and responsibility takes time and will require your business to start making changes. However, it is important that everybody in the organization understands how everything that you are doing will lead to innovation and ultimately higher revenue. 

A lot of people think that the best innovative companies such as Apple and Google simply pay to hire the best talent. While it is true that these companies have the resources to hire the best people out there they also have a culture in place that allows them to get the most out of every worker. They allow employees to influence all kinds of processes and generally go their own way if they feel that this is the best way to get something done. 

If you are looking for a business innovation strategy in the beginning, you are probably not satisfied with the pace of innovation in your organization right now. Therefore, you need to change course. Change is hard. In order to overcome your fears, look at it this way. You tried your way and it did not work. You were not satisfied with the way things were getting done so you are seeking a new approach. Try taking what you have read here and actually giving it a chance. 

Also, be sure to get rid of the pressure to deliver short-term results. You need to focus on where your organization is headed and where it will be ten or twenty years from now. While you might not see results right away, you can rest assured that you are headed on the right track. This focus on producing short-term results is highly counterproductive and will not help you achieve anything in the end. To quote Simon Sinek, “Start with ‘why’” Why are you doing what you are doing right now? Is there a basis for it? Can you justify it? If you answered “no” to these questions, then it is time for a change. 

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