Innovation can happen at any time and can come from anyone in the business. The big question is whether companies are creating the kind of environment that promotes innovation. This covers a wide range of aspects including actually allowing innovation and having the means to make use of it in the company. Innovative companies are able to surpass their competition because they are always improving. They also allow their employees to blossom and to play a bigger part in the company’s growth.
Why Innovation Matters
A famous quote by William S. Burroughs says, “When you stop growing you start dying.” This statement is as true for our physical bodies as it is for business. There is always something new in the business world. Change is inevitable, and innovative is one of the secret ingredients that allow businesses to succeed in changing times. When business conditions change, this can threaten how businesses move forward.
When change presents itself, be it as a new regulation, a shortage or price hike of particular raw materials, new technology, and other unexpected shifts, an innovative company is can quickly make internal changes to adapt. As examples, we can look at major companies that have changed and adjusted their products and services to keep up with change. Take McDonald’s as an example. Since it was founded in 1940, it has been altering and even completely revising its business model. From being a fast food business to getting into the franchise and real estate businesses, McDonald’s has been able to grow into the multibillion-dollar global company that it is today. If the company had stuck with their original model, this level of success could not have been possible.
Another major source of change is the all-important customer. The market is the ultimate decider whether a business is going to be effective or not. Looking again at the example of McDonald’s, they have never shied away from making changes to their menu. Although there are many signature items that have stood the test of time, there have also been many menu changes over the years.
The customer decides if a product is good or not. That is why innovation is needed to keep up with changing customer demands and preferences. In the service industry, for example, customers are expecting more and more from businesses for them to stay loyal. Factors such as free Wi-Fi that were a nice extra or a paid additional service are now often expected for free in the hospitality industry, for example. If a business resists change and does not keep up with what their customers need and want, more than likely, these customers are going to move on to a competitor who provides what they are after.
Creating the Right Conditions for Innovation
There are a number of changes that businesses can make to create an environment where innovation can happen. These can apply to every industry of business including healthcare, manufacturing, the financial sector, marketing, and hospitality because the principles are the same. Businesses that offer either products or services can start facilitating more innovation by these things:
• Creating a culture that is more easygoing. Managers at different levels should aim to be more approachable, interactive, and attentive.
• Empowering employees to be part of the company vision.
• Hiring the right people. Experience in the industry and passion for the work make a difference.
• Always looking to improve all the business operations.
• Building problem-solving skills.
• Upgrading technology tool.
• Encouraging and facilitating professional development training.
• Recognizing individual and team contributions and rewarding innovation.
Being able to promote innovation in the entire team helps businesses grow and thrive. It also helps them deal with challenges that come their way.