An important key to business growth is the identification and leverage of innovative ideas. Successful businesses distinguish themselves from competitors by creating “must have” products and features that attract attention.
One of the questions I am asked most often is “How can my business create innovative ideas?” Most people asking this question are looking to expand an existing business or develop a new product or service. I have created a 5-step system (using the acronym IDEAS) for creating and applying innovative ideas in any business.
I – Identify Innovative Ideas. Understand where and how to create innovations – through brainstorming sessions, problem solving exercises, and other techniques. You also need a system to record these innovations. Even if the recording system merely captures the title or a one sentence description of the innovation, you must capture this information. You can’t benefit from an idea if you do not capture it in the first place. Provide a simple way for everyone in the company to record or submit their creative ideas.
D – Develop An Innovation Culture. Get people throughout your organization (including yourself) to make innovation part of their daily thought process. By providing examples of successful innovations and encouraging the submission of creative ideas, your business develops a culture of innovation. Teach people to look for innovations when solving problems, and think of ways to use that solution to avoid future problems.
E – Evaluate All Innovations. Create an Innovation Review Group to evaluate innovations submitted by company personnel. This Innovation Review Group should include people with different job functions, such as sales, marketing, product development, etc. People with different job functions will have different perspectives on the new ideas and can help evaluate the ideas based on factors related to their job function.
A – Action. Don’t just create lists of innovative ideas. Take Action to implement the innovations that have the most potential value to the company. Track the results, such as increased income, reduced expenses, and customer growth, and share the positive results throughout the company. These positive results will encourage further innovative thinking and provide additional examples of successful innovation.
S – Systematize the Innovation Process. Include innovative in all business activities, such as project planning, product development, employee reviews, and company goals. This encourages people throughout your company to think about innovation on a regular basis and stresses the importance of innovation to the company.
Start applying the IDEAS system today to grow your business and create a competitive advantage in your market.