Some of the most prolific and long-standing brands have achieved success and maintained relevancy because of innovation. These companies were founded by individuals who had a creative way of resolving problems, providing convenience, or enhancing the quality of life for a large audience. More than developing a product, service, or concept, these brands relied on innovation to continue improving or expanding their offerings to accommodate the changing demands of modern-day consumers.
Successful business leaders understand the importance of constantly searching for something new to meet their target audiences’ needs.
What Is Innovation?
Innovative and innovation have become overused buzzwords that have caused broad audiences to assume it means one of two things: a never before seen breakthrough that transforms modern society or a technological sensation. Although these definitions have some accuracy, they minimize the true meaning of innovation.
Innovation is a product, service, concept, or strategy that is creative and useful. Ultimately, a change to your company’s marketing campaign or a new product feature can be innovative.
Types Of Innovation
To break things down even further, there are four types of innovation: disruptive, incremental, sustaining, and radical.
- Disruptive Innovation – A product, service, or business model that disrupts or shakes an industry creating a new market (or increasing market value). The social media powerhouse known as Facebook is one example of a disruptive innovation. Although there were other platforms on the market, Mark Zuckerberg’s ideas transformed a site once designed for Harvard college students into a social mecca for the world.
- Incremental Innovation – The process of making minor changes to existing products, services, and strategies. Take Coca-Cola, for example. They advanced from their Original, Diet, and Cherry recipes to offer flavors like Twist of Lime, Cherry Vanilla, Marshmello, and Dreamworld.
- Sustaining Innovation – Substantial changes to a product, service, or concept over time that catapult a business to leadership status in their industry. Smartphones are an example of sustaining innovation. Brands like Apple, Samsung, and LG, come out with innovative smartphone features annually that enhance the user experience.
- Radical Innovation – Radical innovation is best defined as harnessing the power of technology to transform the business landscape. Cloud-computing technology is an excellent example of radical innovation. It dramatically changed how businesses complete everyday tasks and provide quality products and services to their target market.
Why Innovation In Business Matters?
Some business leaders have an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. Although your company performs well now, and you feel safe in your comfort zone, the world is constantly changing. You cannot sustain success if you cannot adapt to the changes as they arise. Below are a few more reasons why innovation in business matters.
- Adaptability – When uncontrollable yet monumental shifts change society and the business landscape, adaptability keeps your company afloat. When you maintain the status quo instead of being innovative, you risk losing your audience to the competition.
- Encourages Growth – If everything remains the same within your organization, you’ll reach a cap, preventing you from advancing. The goal of most business owners is to continue growing and accomplishing more significant milestones. Innovation brings forth creative ideas that take your company to new heights.
- Competitive Edge – Lastly, innovation keeps you ahead of the competition. As new businesses are developed daily, you must constantly think of ways to enhance your strategies, systems, products, and services to stay competitive.
How to Foster Innovation in Your Business
How can you cultivate an innovative business? While some may feel creativity and innovation come naturally, others have to develop this concept over time. The good news is that you can learn how to foster innovation in the workplace. Below are two essential suggestions:
- Research And Planning – Sometimes innovation requires research and planning. Leaders should make a habit of evaluating the competition, studying industry trends, and familiarizing themselves with their target audience. These sources will help you understand how existing businesses operate, common interests of the general public, and identify the unique needs of the people you serve. These factors are essential to cultivating new, creative, and innovative ideas.
- Encourage Your Team – Only some innovative concepts will come from you. Sometimes, it’s the ideas of others that give birth to innovations that help your business sustain success. Have brainstorming sessions and encourage your team to share their visions. Be open-minded and supportive no matter how small or radical their ideas may appear. Allow your team to experiment with their concepts and not be ashamed of their mistakes. Lastly, celebrate successes.
In an ever-changing world, businesses need to cultivate an innovative environment that fosters ideas that meet the needs of target markets. Innovation is fundamental for adaptability and growth and keeps brands ahead of the competition. Whether disruptive, incremental, sustaining, or radical, innovation can help your business reach and maintain success.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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