At Expr3ss!, we know that time is a precious commodity, and, in our experience, investing time to work on, rather than in, a business pays huge dividends. That’s why we’ve spent a decade working with hundreds of Australian companies to help them save time. We streamline staff selection processes and find ways to accelerate efficiencies, while simultaneously taking our clients to the next level of business success.
The key is innovation.
Simon Raik-Allen, the Chief Technology Officer of MYOB, wrote recently that everyone wants to be innovative. Unfortunately for small or mid-sized business owners whose staff resources may be as limited as their time resources, innovation often gets pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s a mistake.
How to Unlock Success with 3 Keys to Innovation
Success comes naturally when you innovate, adjust, adapt and put some of your own ideas into action. Keep your strategy simple and practical, and the success it generates will likely surprise you.
Remember: innovation isn’t rocket science, nor, says Simon, does it need to be complicated. In fact, innovation can result from something as simple as:
- The improvement of an existing process
- The novel application of technology
- Creating something new after combining multiple ideas or processes
There’s a problem regarding the perception of innovation. Simon wrote recently that the concept needs, “an image overhaul that emphasises its necessity in progressive businesses, as well as its ability to increase productivity and profitability.”
In practical terms, this means it’s time to
- Realize that innovation is easier than you image, despite any pre-conceived notions you may have.
- Accept that innovation is the driver that moves a business forward and commit to using it.
- Understand that innovation raises profitability by making your business processes more productive.
Expr3ss! Reveals 5 Secrets of a Winning Business Innovation Strategy
Some of the most successful and profit-growing innovations in the marketplace today involve a mash-up of two existing ideas to create a different, elevated customer experience.
A great example of this is Uber. The concept is rooted in providing the traditional service of a commercially owned-and-operated taxi service. What makes it innovative is that it combines that idea with the idea of a fleet of drivers using their own cars, and providing a higher level of service, targeting the needs of contemporary travellers.
With Uber, there’s no need to stand on a street corner waiting for an available ride and no need to worry whether or not a car service is actually going to show up once you’ve called. Uber’s user-friendly app combines taxi hailing with app-support, allowing customers to find available cars in their area and feel more in control of the process.
Could you do something similar in your business? Here are Simon’s top five tips for business innovation strategy:
- Work on corporate culture, not corporate structure – Rather than being a structural problem, a lack of innovation usually has a lot to do with the existing business culture. Before the magic happens, small and medium businesses (SME’s) need to ensure that the entire business is on-board and ready to work on finding new ways of delivering outcomes.
- Integrate customers into the innovation process – Before innovation can begin, businesses need to know their customers inside out; what gets them excited? What aggravates them? What keeps them up at night? Incorporating customers into the lifecycle of the idea generation process is the mark of a practical (and successful) innovator.
- Don’t go off the deep end – A common trap innovators fall into is trying to create something new that is ultimately too complicated or irrelevant to yield tangible benefits. SME’s should build on what they already produce, in order to make the customers’ experience even more rewarding, allowing them to take the lead ahead of competition.
- Focus on ideas – SME’s should brainstorm 100 solutions to a problem – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Generating ideas, testing them, refining them, and sometimes dismissing them allows the innovator a unique view into their business’s problems, leading them closer to that ever-elusive ‘aha!’
- Don’t be fast. Be right – Customers don’t remember what was first, they remember firstly what is most useful to them. Take Apple as an example. Multiple other smart watches were released before the Apple watch hit store shelves, yet a recent report from BI Intelligence tells us that Apple will control nearly half the market by 2017. Apple innovation success came from building on an existing concept/innovation (a smart watch) and making it better.
To help YOU save precious time, Team Expr3ss! has summarised all of Simon’s comments on the topic of innovation into an easily digestible article. If you’d like a bigger bite, you can read the full article in Dynamic Business.