What It Really Means to Be Innovative


What It Really Means to Be Innovative

The truth about what it really means to be innovative

What does it mean to be innovative? It became somewhat of a buzzword in 2021. Nearly every business called themselves innovative. 

But it’s not just a word you can slap on your about page, and suddenly you’re a business of the future. Most businesses call themselves innovative because they believe they’ve come up with the best products or services, but that’s not innovation. 

It’s not a word you use to describe your business. It IS your business. And it should sit at the core of and influence everything you do.

So what makes a business truly innovative? How do some companies stay ahead of the game? How do they influence market share? It’s by considering the Now, New and Next.

THE NOW – short-term profit growth

Strategy: same business model to new markets.

Focus on what you’ve built your reputation for, and then consider other market segments. Find new avenues for the same products, but into different markets.

For example, a timber manufacturer may consider an emerging market for their products overseas. This is an easy win, because you’re using proven methods to sell to a larger pool of potential customers.

To achieve this, make a list of each new market you could sell to, and define a strategy to target each one.

THE NEW – mid-term profit growth

Strategy: same business model to new markets with new products.

Now we’re going one step further, using your findings from the ‘now’. You’re going to consider growth from new markets AND products. 

A biscuit manufacturer may consider adding a gluten free range, providing a new product using existing equipment and processes into an existing market. 

Consider the emerging needs of your target market. Ask yourself, where is the ‘bolt-on’ opportunity? What are your customers asking for? What feedback have you had from people who came close to buying but didn’t? What else would your clients use before and after using your product?

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THE NEXT – long-term profit growth

Strategy:  Switching up your business model, delivery, product, and market presence.

This piece of the puzzle explores growth from new revenue streams using new strategies. Consider alternative business models that would add value and growth.

This could look like enabling parts replacement via digital blueprints and a 3D printer; a disruptor which is already impacting the global manufacturing industry. 

The key to making this model a success

When it’s all said and done, you need to be ‘brilliant at the basics’ and understand that automation and digital trends will occur. There are no quick ways to success.

As business leaders, we need to ensure we have a mix of the Now, New and Next to guarantee our long-term sustainability and success. You need to work on your tiered growth strategy simultaneously, not one after the other, so you don’t fall behind. The New and the Next, in particular, will need to be worked at consistently and over a longer period of time if you want them to come to fruition.

TIP: Don’t forget to involve your team in planning your growth to brainstorm what could be the next disruptor to your industry!

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