Webster’s dictionary defines innovation as the introduction of something new: a new idea, method, or device. As the rates of product innovation have changed in many market segments, innovating products and processes should be getting more attention. According to the National Science Foundation in their business and Innovation Survey, U.S business has been flat but steady in this metric. Only 15% of approximately 1.3 million companies introduced a new product or process over a 3-year span. The other 85% may need to introduce innovations to keep full steam ahead. So how do you get started if you’re part of the latter group? Let’s take a look at 5 steps to kick-start innovation in your organization!
Understand Your Customers
You need to know how your customers feel about your products, what they like, what they don’t like and most importantly, what other problems they still are trying to solve. This will serve as the beacon to innovation in your market segment!
Schedule “Innovation Time” for Employees
Allow your employees to schedule a time where they can shut their doors, ignore their phones and focus specifically on innovation. Without designated time other changes in priority will quickly drown out this time.
Develop an “Innovation Process”
Once you have the dedicated time, the ideas have to have somewhere to go. There may be further R&D or process development. An Ideation process will ensure great ideas don’t get lost.
Show Management Commitment
It is important for your innovation teams to know how crucial the development of new products and processes are for the future of the business. It all starts with management’s commitment to ensuring innovation time and processes are being focused on.
Recognize and Reward
Motivation can be kick-started by rewarding those who come up with new ideas that have an impact on the business. Many times these gestures will keep people interested in pursuing ideas instead of simply brushing off problems to focus on competing commitments.
There are many barriers and obstacles to innovation, these 5 steps will allow you to build a culture where innovation is important, management is committed and employees get rewarded when they participate. So if your one of the 85% of companies who have not been innovating, the time to commit is now.