How to Spark Innovation in Businesses

Blog (ii) – on, Entrepreneurs & Innovation.

Howdy, our last blog on entrepreneurship, click Here, we covered “FIVE LESSONS ABOUT INNOVATION THAT EVERY ENTREPRENEUR SHOULD KNOW’

And in today’s blog, we explore five more lessons in addiction to what we looked at last time. These lessons are drawn from 50 LESSONS’ SPARKING INNOVATION, a mini book published by HAVARD BUSINESS PRESS. Below are five ways in which you can spark innovation in your business.

Alright, let’s go!

  • Turn Your Customers into Research & Development (R&D) force

Develop a really deep relationship with your customers. They’re not just customers; they are really partners in understanding the field that you are developing together.

Doing so creates a partnership whereby customers become your R&D force.

By working together, you can advance your entire field, creating an even larger market for your product.

(John Abele, Founder, Boston Scientific)

  • Successfully Implement New Technology

When you have a New Technology, almost always the successful implementation of the new technology comes when you compete against non-consumption – use technology in an application where previously the customer’s only alternative was nothing at all.

Even if the new product is “crummy”, it will be better than nothing and it will delight customers.

Starting with an inexpensive, simple product will bring more success than going head-to-head against the competition to find different users for old technologies.

(Clayton Christensen, Robert and JANE Cizik Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School)

  • Don’t Let Success Stifle Fresh Thinking.

When you are doing well, your ability to think creatively is degraded. You then constantly need to keep in front of you the fact that you are probably being blindsided. You’re probably being naïve that there aren’t great ways to run that railroad better than you are running it today.

In order to combat these issues concerning this, focus on putting fresh talent into the company and always strive for ways to do things better.

(Robert Herbold, Former Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft Corporation)

  • Avoid Rigid Thinking

Top-down models and old fashioned processes can stifle innovation. In such cases, breaking the rules can have great impact.

Develop an open ended model instead of a priori figuring out what you think the right path is. Solve problems as you encounter them.

Whenever possible, if you don’t have to make a decision today, then don’t. Wait. Leave things open-ended and try to pursue another path so that you can make that decision at a future juncture when you need to.

(Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation)

  • On Managing Innovation Internally;

Identify something – a particular area of business you want to try innovation on – and then decide whether you needed outside help or whether you can do this internally.

To innovate internally, create a focused team that has a broad direction and give them three months to show iterative improvement.

At that point, re-evaluate where the project stands, get market feedback, and allow time for additional innovation. Then decide whether to continue internally.

(Matt Ferguson, – CEO, CareerBuilder.com)

Image Source: Michael Scheimer/twitter.
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