Timico blog

Innovation: How to Apply and Not Just Say

Innovation: How to Apply and Not Just Say

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” Steve Jobs

Every boilerplate says the same thing. ‘We are passionate about innovation’. It’s like our creativity is capped to this sleepy copy n paste. All that’s happening is we’re in this lazy mimicry of business dialect, with little practical benefit. It’s the subtext you take to an interview. Our corporate minds have long been conditioned to hear ‘synergy’ and ‘thought-leadership’ and assign supposed expertise. It’s amazing what switching ‘client’ with ‘stakeholder’ can do for you.

Without application, ‘innovation’ just becomes a nothing word. So, what do you really mean? Let’s first look at a dictionary definition of innovation: The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.

Innovation is about invention. Now I think people are saying innovation in this context: ‘The unique way we spin it’ or ‘this is how we stay ahead’. That makes sense, although it’s a no-brainer. So how do you innovate and not just say it?

innovation concept with crumpled paper light bulb as good idea

How are you different from competitors?

Is your innovation new or is it at closer inspection a common practice within many companies? Identify what makes your company unique and celebrate that. If you’re doing something original or differentiated, you can be sure that you are innovating.

What questions do you need to solve?

Don’t waste time and resources developing areas that are operating well. Analyse the areas that disturb the user journey. Respond to customer metrics and data with creative solutions. It’s the customer that needs to benefit from innovation.

Dream Small

We’ve all experienced the creative buzz that follows watching The Social Network movie.  Somewhere, I have a notepad of business proposals to change the world. Sometimes, it’s not the big life changing innovations that make the difference but the smaller, more subtle innovations that make an impact.

Think Inside the Box

Consider the 70/20/10 method. Forbes writer, Greg Satell, takes Google as an example of a company employing the 70/20/10 method:

“Focus 70% of your resources in improving existing technology (i.e. search), 20% toward adjacent markets (i.e. Gmail, Google Drive, etc.) and 10% on completely new markets (i.e. self-driving cars).” Greg Satell

Are you invested in digital?

Not everything can be predicted in business. Otherwise we’d be billionaires on the stock market. Digitalisation is the single biggest innovating step you can guarantee. Why? Because this is the digital revolution, that’s the way the current is flowing. And it’s not stopping soon. Investing in connectivity, data centres and work place is a must for innovation.

Operate like an established business. Think like a start-up.

Both have their pros and cons. An established business has the loyal customers and the resources. A start-up has the agility and momentum to hit the market hard. Successful innovation will require both.

Don’t be afraid of showing your human side

When having a conversation, I always feel better when someone looks me in the eye. Today, there’s not enough transparency. We’ve got to a place now where innovation is taking a step backwards. We’re organic again. We’re frightened of machinery. Suddenly, paying attention to your customer is your greatest asset to innovation.

Conclusion

Being passionate about innovation needn’t be a nothing phrase. Stay quirky and alert to the changing landscape of your industry, embrace digital transformation, listen to your customers and be creative. Innovating successfully requires a balance of calculation and confidence.

Want to read more? Read our FREE IT Transformation Guide for Ambitious Businesses to find out the key considerations businesses should take in to account when considering digital transformation.