Driving innovation is no easy task and involves both insiders and outsiders. Here are 10 things you can do in order to become more innovative and enjoy all the benefits that innovation can offer to you and to your stakeholders.
Manage your reputation
Nowadays, it’s not anymore about how you would like to be seen; it’s about who you truly are. Yes, it sounds like a lot of pressure. However, building a good reputation can be much easier if you are transparent when communicating your business. Do what you say and do it not only because Google reviews cannot be edited, do it because you want to stay in business. Reputation can be the deciding factor in whether someone chooses you over your competition. Moreover, never forget that it’s hard to get a good reputation and extremely easy to lose it.
Take care of your people
They are, in fact, your most important clients. Look for imagination and creativity when recruiting new employees and always help them to help you.
Employees who are given a high degree of freedom and flexibility that promotes autonomy are more motivated, so avoid micromanagement, encourage team building and offer work-life balance. It’s no secret that motivated employees are also more quality oriented and more productive. Motivation is the key component to effective goal setting, so set KPI’s and communicate the company’s goals. It will not only benefit your business but also greatly benefit your employees from understanding what is expected of them and how they can measure their achievements.
Monitoring progress and reviewing it will allow the employee to remain meaningfully engaged, working towards the common goal of success while gaining experience and skills from managerial expertise.
It may sound like it’s a lot to do, but it is quite simple: If they know you care for them, there are big chances they care for you. Within the study of the psychology of relationships, there is a principle which speaks to the human need (and tendency) to want to give something back when something is received. This principle is called reciprocity, and the best way to guarantee a good response is to be the first to give.
Furthermore, caring for your people is another way to improve your reputation. With the rise of employee-review sites like Glassdoor, things are changing quickly. Finally, employees are voicing their opinions so heard them before it’s too late. If they cannot express their thoughts to you, they will probably do it somewhere else.
There was a time when there were no laws and people would only rely on words. Nowadays, there is no way to do business like it was done before, but how about the importance of words? Some words hold meaning, and some are just swept away by the wind. If words are a type of currency, what kind of words are you using when communicating your company?
Leaders have to be able to think deeply about the consequences of each choice and take responsibility. Accountability is essential to ensuring high performance within an organization. However, leaders must communicate their expectations to the person who is responsible for the specified action or task.
Moreover, when you build accountability into your corporate culture, you inspire your employees. Accountable employees help to increase the performance of the business as a whole and to maintain a positive culture, vision, and ethics.
Build an online presence
Websites, mobile apps, social media, e-commerce channels, what else? It can be overwhelming planning a digital strategy. Increasing visibility, enabling information-sharing and building connections with customers and stakeholders are some of the things you can get when building an online presence. If you want to keep up with your competition, you will have to get it done as soon as possible. Nowadays, it is the least expected from any company.
Your company’s shift to mobile is an inevitability. It’s no longer a question of if you go mobile, but when. If you look back 20 years, how many businesses had a website? Today, a business without a website is like a business without a sign. The same is happening with businesses mobile presence. Mobile devices provide a new opportunity for companies to connect with on-the-go audiences. Here are a few stats to show you how this trend affects all sectors:
- When smartphones, tablets, and desktop are added together, Canadians spend 71% of their total digital minutes on mobile platforms. As smartphones continue to dominate the market over desktop and tablets, they are now becoming the primary platform in all markets.
- As a result of using mobile apps, research shows that respondents gained 58 minutes of work time each day, on average. They also saw productivity increase by an estimated 34%.
- Mobile users consume more than two times the digital minutes per person on average than desktop users.
- As of January 2019, it was found that Canada had 33.84 million internet users, of which 27.64 million were mobile internet users.
- In 2018, there were 26.1 million mobile phone internet users in Canada. According to toStatista, this figure is projected to grow to 30.9 million by the end of 2023.
Companies are aggressively adopting mobile apps, but few are understanding the potential of a dominant strategy. Smart companies have a vast opportunity to outpace the competition by creating a competitive mobile app strategy that delivers and measures real results.
Give back to the community
Companies that engage with their communities report higher employee morale and better retention. Moreover, increases customer loyalty and gives you a competitive advantage over other companies.
You can give back to the community in lots of different ways:
- Share your knowledge by partnering with schools and colleges
- Create an internship program to provide the opportunity to who is just starting to build a career
- Sponsor a fundraiser
- Donate your skills
- Host a volunteer day for employees
- Offer donation matching
- Share your space
Business owners say they acquire new customers and suppliers by networking with other members, so you have here enough good reasons to start giving back to your community.
Build powerful relationships
Trust and healthy relationships are vital for companies who strive to deliver innovation in today’s competitive market. It takes a lot of time and energy to build robust, functional and lasting business relationships, but those are the fuel that feeds the success of your company. According to a Peppers & Rogers Group research, every customer relationship lost, either to a competitor or otherwise, costs the company an average of $289 each year. And if you think you can make up for that cost with new customers, think again. It turns out it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain it.
Look for relationships that would help to improve the way you do business. Count on partners that can help you by sharing knowledge and skills, addressing the upcoming challenges, and taking advantage of potential opportunities.
Create a learning environment
Last but not least, creating a learning culture encourages employees and organizations to develop knowledge, promote collaboration, and it opens opportunities for the establishment to transform continuously for the better, that’s what we can also call innovation. Make sure you have processes and events to capture ideas and create a supportive workplace in which people feel free to express their thoughts without the risk of criticism.
In a survey by ttcInnovations, millennials identified “other people” to be their top learning resource. They crave human interaction and immediate feedback, and they enjoy collaborating and sharing ideas with fellow training participants, coaches, mentors and managers.
Create a work environment that inspires, promotes and values creativity by rewarding innovation and celebrating success. Employees should be encouraged to ask questions, challenge processes, have permission to fail and understand which types of failures are acceptable and unacceptable. Your team grow, you grow. Here’s reciprocity again.
Provide the necessary resources
When we talk about innovation, investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, it’s not the only thing you should consider if you want to be seen as an innovative business.
Provide the time, space and financial resources necessary to support employee-driven initiatives. There are a few pretty valuable benefits on doing that:
- Increase efficiency and productivity
- Improve profitability
- Add value to your final product and service
- Be seen as unique and inspirational
- Attract good professionals to work with you
To move your business forward, study your marketplace and understand how innovation can add value to your customers. You can do that by adapting your product or service to the way your market is changing or identifying and creating an entirely new product.
This is probably the hardest topic in this “to do list”. However, if you can follow the other 9 items listed here, your company is probably already doing that.
In conclusion, there are lots of things you can do to be seen as an innovative business and most of them will also help to improve other aspects of your processes. Once you take any of these action listed here, the results will also to reflect and enhance other areas, changing how your stakeholders see your business.