If change is the new constant, responding to it will not win the game. Driving change so that competitors must react and play by your rules is a better approach. Put differently, innovate, or die.
Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis unpacks three strategies to drive innovation in your business.
Innovation shapes itself differently but ultimately offers one of two outcomes. It all begins with the “something”. You are doing something better with what you have or doing something better with something new.
What to innovate?
Here are three simple strategies that you can use to yield the most effective innovation that can and will be implemented, fast in your business every 6 months.
From marketing to operations, sales to procurement, your employees are active daily. They are performing activities to get their jobs done. Engaging with them to understand what actions they perform and how they perform them opens a conversation on how things can be improved. Often, the tedious, mundane tasks are the first ones your employees will volunteer for improvement. And often, these tasks lend themselves to either digitization or redundancy. Across your business, these conversations yield insights into the many minor process improvements that add up to create a more efficient outcome and motivated team. Imagine one such innovation each month. Then imagine the impact over 2 or 3 years. Besides preventing cholesterol building up in your business systems, you build a culture of accountable innovation that gets implemented as it’s built.
A growing company in a competitive environment is relevant to its customer’s needs and wants.
- Needs solve a problem through your product or service.
- Wants create the experience your customers desire.
They are miles apart! The benefit of positioning your business like this means that your company is built from the customer back to the product or service, not the other way around. Immediately this opens the door for conversations with your customers that go beyond a blow-by-blow product advantage over competitors. It talks more to the problem that your customer has that you solve and the experience they want to support you. When things change, for example, legislation, competitors, technology and other, the status quo of your customers change. The problem might get bigger or appear faster and the experience they would want in return would change too. As the business owner, identify your 5 toughest customers and build a relationship with them personally. Be sure that besides being demanding, they are themselves growing. Tough, awkward conversations become insightful inspirational conversations if they are intentional and enhanced by a genuine investment in relationship. It’s these conversations that identify the earliest signals of change and insights into how the experience your company generates needs to change to keep ahead of them.
Across your supply chain, sort your suppliers into three categories of importance.
Then, within the vital and important categories, arrange to speak and meet with senior managers or owners to set an annual coffee conversation. That conversation must center on you learning more about the product or service your supplier provides you with, what changes are driving innovation in their businesses and how that will change and shape their relationship with your business. What you are looking for is how their innovation can drive yours through your supply chain.
In all three strategies, the relationship-driven engagement will yield the most uncomplicated innovations that you can make with the greatest degree of follow through and execution. If time waits for no-one, and if change is the only constant, innovation needs to lead, not respond to that of your competitors. Develop this system and implement it as religiously as you’d do your month-end billing.
Aristotle said it “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.