Question: What defines innovation and what can I do to promote innovative thinking in my business?
A collaborative survey of innovative products and services conducted over a five-year period identified key underpinnings of an innovative business culture (see www.london-innovation.org). These were:
- Have a clear mission that all employees understand and support.
- Constantly reinforce the importance of innovation, design and creativity.
- Ensure that a culture of trust and respect pervades the entire organization.
- Celebrate success and provide support in failure.
- Give people the freedom to perform against stretching goals.
- Develop people to meet the needs of the organization.
- Reward and recognize talent and commitment.
- Have a formal or informal system for encouraging and capturing all ideas.
- Extend the company's team structure to external partners.
- Ensure senior management adopts a "hands-ready" support role.
- Manage risk effectively on a progressive basis.
- Ensure intellectual property and competitive advantage are well-managed.
- Effectively manage the financing of innovation.
- Have a well-managed process for staying close to customers and markets.
- Regularly review markets and competitors to seek competitive advantage.
- Turn regulation and legislation to business advantage.
- Fully exploit the potential of the Internet and e-business for communicating with customers.
- Always compete from a position of strength with distinctive innovation.
- Ensure the value chain is constantly under review.
The London Innovation organization also listed their top-10 tips for introducing innovation and creativity into a business. These include:
- Turn dissatisfaction or frustration with an existing product or service into a new idea.
- Ask customers (existing and potential) what they want and don't want.
- Be restless, outward looking and unreasonable.
- Do not let the cynics get to you, especially those who "know" why your idea will not work.
- Capitalize on your inexperience by thinking without constraints and out of the box.
- Be passionate and have faith in your product.
- Let threats to your business drive your innovation.
- Use the knowledge in universities and research institutions to help you innovate.
- Utilize business networks to exchange ideas with other businesses and partners.
- Learn to expect failure on the way to success.
Source : OrlandoSentinel, here.