What does it mean anymore? It’s used so often that it’s nearly lost its value. Cliche? Maybe worse. Buzzword.
I’ve seen and heard so many examples of executives extolling the virtues of innovation to their employees. In fact, they make a strategic objective to innovate! They think they’re creating a ‘dynamic’ (another cliche) environment when it fact they’re frustrating their employees by pushing for a eureka moment. So my question is…
Have you ever asked yourself why you want to ‘innovate’? Do you actually need to innovate? If you’re struggling in the market maybe it’s more a matter of efficiency and a re-allocation of resources which will give the practical advantages you are currently lacking?
Ok, ok. Fine.
Innovation is important but its’ not about eureka moments and with a modicum of creative thinking it can be approached with a bit of structure. A few ideas I can offer are those from one of my favourite books ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’.
1. Look at the alternatives to your service or product. One example is driving vs flying? Southwest airlines took the pro’s of driving to a destination and combined them with the pro’s of flying there.
2. Look at different strategic groups within an industry. For examples luxury cars vs. budget city cars. Affordable luxury has become a mantra in many part of the automobile industry as a consequence. Can you merge the pro’s of the two groups to add value to your product?
3. Look at the different possible buyers. This example is very dear to my heart. Medical firms often market their products at doctors but actually trying to connect with patients and seeing what they want can yield but much greater value products. Novo Nordisk are the example here. The point is that there are often numerous different potential customers for your product, in fact, those who buy your goods aren’t necessarily those who use them.
Those are just three prompts that anyone can use to look at their industry from a different perspective. Blue Ocean Strategy outlines several more but we’ll save them for a different day.
Innovation. You don’t need it all the time. It’s not the beginning and the end.
But when you do.
Make it count.
Dr Saif Abed
CEO and Co-Founder
Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd
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