A company cannot truly succeed without innovation. Think of Apple, a company that introduced the iPhone in 2007, propelling the company into becoming a world leader and changing the mobile phone market forever. Think of Netflix, a service that changed the way we consume not just movies and television shows but all types of media and content forever. There have been more innovations throughout the years and, usually, it rewards them with market share and a boost in profit.
Innovation changes the world. All business owners want to be innovative. It is one of the most desired traits everywhere, and employers are always looking for people who can bring an innovative solution to the table.
Of course, it is not that easy. Innovation is one thing, but to make it a reality is a slew of new problems. Luckily, Lakeside Manufacturing is ready to assist businesses that want to turn a great idea into something tangible.
However, how exactly should businesses innovate?
First, Invest in Innovative Employee
There is a belief that being innovative is an innate trait. There is a clear separation between geniuses and regular folks. Innovators happen to think differently from the rest of us. It is, of course, inaccurate. Being innovative is a skill, and, like most skills, it can be developed through training and practice.
Innovators, most of the time, do not randomly pull a great idea out of thin air. They are observers who notice, study, and see the potential in the little things. That is how they get ahead of emerging trends or changes in the market. They track these changes and trends before their competitors become aware of them and develop ways to utilize them to improve an existing product or create a new product.
Innovators are also, by nature, contrarians. They do not read the same trade magazines which all company executives do to stay up-to-date with industry-related news and, as a result, make them all think alike. Innovators do the opposite. They are on the ground talking and observing people to address their needs and concerns that remain unanswered.
People do not magically become innovators. They are given the proper training to think differently. They also are provided opportunities to practice their newly acquired innovation skills in the real world.
Next, Place Innovators in Leadership Role
How many executives and managers in the company are innovators? Typically, innovation is relegated to R&D. However, a business that wants to foster innovation needs innovators in leadership roles.People in managerial positions also require some level of innovation because, if not, they will be unable to recognize a good solution or inspire out-of-the-box thinking from the rest of the workforce. They are capable of encouraging innovation by not dismissing ideas and opinions immediately. They do not reprimand people who tried a novel concept and failed. They celebrate people for attempting to innovate.
Perhaps, most importantly, they do not make it harder to innovate. They streamline processes so that great ideas are not hampered by bureaucracy. They open their office to innovators at all times.
Third, Take Risks
This, perhaps, is one of the most difficult parts of innovation: the risk that comes with trying something new. There is no guarantee that every new idea will result in success. Often, it will end up in failure. Maybe the product is not ready to be released to the market yet. Maybe the market is not ready for the product yet. So many factors can go wrong, and, as a result, the business can lose money over it.
However, the fear of failure suppresses innovation. People who are afraid to take risks and fail do not innovate. They stick with safe choices which hardly push boundaries and trigger industry-wide progress. Instead, they become followers.
Fourth, Realize that It Is Not about Profit
Innovation does not always yield large sums of money. Most of the time, innovation happens in small increments. Perhaps, it leads to a new feature on an existing product or a tweak in the current manufacturing process. In some cases, it is an idea that does not work now and, therefore, has to be shelved for the future.
Although small, innovations need to be appreciated because, eventually, they will accumulate, improving the company and its products.
Innovation is a trait that everybody wants, but the persistent belief that it is innate prevents people from gaining it and putting it into practice. Entrepreneurs should realize that innovation can be cultivated within their own midst by following these steps.