How To Introduce Innovation In Your Business
Edith Widder (Co-founder, CEO and Senior Scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association) once said, “Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth. So let’s all go exploring.” She was definitely on to something when she said this. Innovation is a word casually thrown around in the business world but can be the difference between a business succeeding or failing.
Too Much Innovation
Innovation is the process of introducing something new to a business or organization. It’s something companies are told to do continually. If you google “continually innovate,” you’ll find articles from every part of the web mandating that your business always push forward. One headline reads “For any organization to be successful, it has to continually innovate and evolve.” Another says “Companies must innovate or die.”
But that isn’t the whole truth.
If your business is always innovating, always introducing new ideas to staff and creating new systems, you’re setting your business up to fail. To be in a state of continual creation means that your business is always in a state of change. Either you are changing currently, or everyone is waiting for the change to happen. Neither is good because for any business to succeed, you need stability. Without that stability, employee turnover will be high, income will be fluctuating irregularly, and your customers will not want to be loyal to your business because you are just too unpredictable.
Be Reliable With Your Innovation
Customers like to be surprised, but they hate unpredictability. A perfect example of this is a special at a restaurant. A Mexican restaurant may introduce a new meal (surprise), but people won’t try it if their food is only good half of the time (unreliable). The same applies to businesses.
Reliability is the base of good innovation. Your business has a core foundation; don’t lose that foundation while trying to build a better business. A good tree has strong roots; don’t lose yours for more branches.
There are some businesses that are too stable (yes, that’s a thing). Businesses are organic; they grow and shift with time, trends, and technology. But, if a business is set in its own ways, it will die just as quickly as a company that is continually changing.
So what are you supposed to do?
Always Be Ready To Innovate, Only Do It When You Want To
The trick that many of these “innovate or die” articles is to emphasize that businesses must occasionally innovate. They must bring new ideas to the surface regularly and consistently, but it doesn’t have to be every day.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, and it takes the carefully positioning a business to make sure innovation is welcomed, but not over-zealously thirsted for. Business owners need to encourage new ideas, different perspectives, and the big “What if’s” in their business. But each idea needs to be rigorously researched and tested, but in a way where it can continue to thrive and grow into something great if it will work. To do this, never say no initially to an idea, but ask questions:
“Why do you think this will work?”
“How do you see this being implemented?”
“Do you see any flaws?”
By asking questions like these, the idea can be refined and made into a clearer vision. And then you can tell if it will or will not work for your business. Also, by asking those questions and refining the idea, you have no encouraged your co-workers and employees to provide more ideas.
Forcing A New Innovation Can Be…Messy
Another trick is to not force an idea into your business. Good ideas naturally tweak and change the business, and they fit together well, like a good puzzle piece. If it doesn’t look like an idea will work with your brand and your business, don’t try to make it work. The goal here is innovation, not renovation.
Bring in great ideas, bring in the new ideas, but don’t rely on them alone for your business.
Want a consultation meeting to see how new ideas can be brought into your business? Let’s make it happen.