Leading Effective Innovation

 

 

What is Innovation

Innovation is a new idea, device or process that provides better solutions to meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.

Innovation generally refers to changing or creating more effective processes, products and ideas, and can increase the likelihood of a business succeeding.  Businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better productivity and performance.

For businesses, this could mean implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving your existing services.  Innovation can be a catalyst for the growth and success of your business, and help you adapt and grow in the marketplace.

Being innovative does not mean inventing; innovation can mean changing your business model and adapting to changes in your environment to deliver better products or services.

Successful innovation should be an in-built part of your business strategy, where you create a culture of innovation and lead the way in innovative thinking and creative problem solving.

Why is Innovation Important?

In the Digital Age businesses have come up against more and more competition, especially as they are now competing not only in a local market, but nationally and internationally.  This has forced businesses to find new ways of doing things and to create new ideas.

For this reason innovation is the key to future success in business.  Organisations require a proper structure in order to retain competitive advantage.  It is necessary to create and nurture an environment of innovation.  Executives and managers need to break away from traditional ways of thinking and use change to their advantage.

Benefits of Innovation

Innovation may be linked to positive changes in efficiency, productivity, quality, competitiveness, and market share.  However, recent research findings highlight the complementary role of organisational culture in enabling businesses to translate innovative activity into tangible performance improvements.

Innovation drives the productivity and performance of business, and can help you grow and improve your organisation.  Businesses that innovate have better productivity performance, grow fast and generate higher quality, higher paying jobs.

There are many reasons why the generation of new ideas can be critical to success:

  • More efficient and effective work processes
  • Saving time and money
  • Can help drive sales and results creating a profit
  • Business agility responding to change easily
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Compliance with legislation and possible tax benefits
  • Encourages and supports diversity
  • Can create competitive advantage

Linking Innovation to Business Goals

Programs of innovation are usually tightly linked to organisational goals and objectives, to the business plan, and to market competitive positioning.  One driver for innovation programs in business is to achieve growth objectives.

Towards this growth it is essential that business plans are updated to reflect the organisation’s current trend and goals are clearly outlined.  Leaders need to understand what these goals are.  Leaders also need to know what the market competitive positioning is.  In other words, what is the business’ competitive advantage.

TIP – Competitive Advantage 

Competitive advantage should be defined as the one thing in your business that makes it unique, that differentiates it from other similar businesses.  This will be in one of 3 areas:  your people (service), product or processes.  In a saturated or rapidly shifting market this could give your organisation an advantage over competition.

Allocating Resources for Innovation

An important aspect to consider is the allocation of resources for innovation, including finance and personnel.  This is dependent on senior leaders understanding the benefits of new ideas.

Unfortunately, business expenditure on innovation is often characterised as expenditure rather than investment, and improvements to operational processes may not be seen as innovation at all.

A free flow of ideas up, down and across the business encourages the development of new ways of performing tasks and can also lead to the development of new products.

Processes which allow employees to suggest improvements and ideas, circulate these ideas and be rewarded for the entrepreneurial behaviour, improve the culture and create a win-win business environment.

Technology and Innovation

Technology has a vital role to play in any modern workplace and can make a huge difference to the way your business operates, and how well your employees carry out their tasks.  These days an online presence is also expected by customers and therefore is an essential component for businesses.

Technology can accelerate innovation and enable it.  It can play a key role in new products, services, channels, market entry strategies, operational transformation and industry altering business models.  It can also support other innovation activities such as collaboration.

Developing an Internal Culture

Innovation requires strong leadership and a tangible vision across the organisation.  The internal culture of a business and the external culture in which it operates will influence the ability of an organisation to innovate.

To become innovative you will need to promote the idea of innovation within your organisation.  For innovation to work successfully it needs support and commitment from the leaders.  Ensure that all departments including management and operational team members are engaged with and feel part of an innovative environment. 

TIP – Conditions for Innovation

Innovation thrives in a culture that is not afraid of risk taking, promotes the value of experimenting, is adaptable, and rewards its people.


 

 Leading Effective Innovation Workbook

Continue with Leading Effective Innovation by purchasing the full workbook on this topic. Learn more about developing and internal culture, motivating and rewarding employees, involving your customers in innovation, and building business partnerships.  The workbook is packed with lots more tips and activities to help you create an innovative workplace culture.  Sharpen your skills further by engaging your own private Coach.  Contact us!  In its original state the workbook can be used by facilitators for short workshop presentations.

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