Innovation For Business Growth, For a business to be able to thrive in a competitive landscape, they must be willing to adapt and change or be wiped out of existence.
One of the biggest questions that business needs to answer is how to do appropriate business innovation for growth and profitability
The successful exploitation of new ideas is crucial to a business being able to improve its processes, bring new and improved products and services to market, increase its efficiency and, most importantly, improve its profitability.
When Marketplaces are considered whether local, regional, national, or global it becomes evident that they have become highly competitive.
Competition has increased as a result of wider access to new technologies and the increased trading and knowledge-sharing opportunities offered by the Internet.
This article will try to explain how an organization can make innovation a key business process and outlines the different approaches you can take.
You gain an immense understanding of planning for innovation and creating the right business environment to develop your ideas.
The business case for innovation
It is important to be clear about the difference between invention and innovation. Invention is a new idea. Innovation is the commercial application and successful exploitation of the idea.
Fundamentally, innovation means introducing something new into your business.
The following are some of the ways and means of achieving innovation in business organizations in Kenya.
- improving or replacing business processes to increase efficiency and productivity, or to enable the business to extend the range of quality of existing products and/or services
- developing entirely new and improved products and services – often to meet rapidly changing customer or consumer demands or needs
- adding value to existing products, services or markets to differentiate the business from its competitors and increase the perceived value to the customers and markets
Innovation can mean a single major breakthrough such as a totally new product or service. However, it can also be a series of small, incremental changes.
Whatever form it takes, innovation is a creative process. The ideas may come from inside the business, for example, employees, managers or in-house research and development work
Innovation could also come from outside the business, such as from suppliers, customers, media reports, market research published by another organization, universities and other sources of new technologies
Success in many business organizations comes from filtering those ideas, identifying those that the business will focus on, and applying resources to exploit them.
The following are some of the approaches to innovation in business in Kenya today.
Innovation in your business can mean introducing new or improved products, services, or processes.
Analyze the marketplace
There’s no point considering innovation in a vacuum. To move your business forward, study your marketplace and understand how innovation can add value to your customers.
Identify opportunities for innovation
You can identify opportunities for innovation by adapting your product or service to the way your marketplace is changing.
You could innovate by introducing new technology, techniques, or working practices perhaps using better processes to give a more consistent quality of product.
If research shows people have less time to go to the stores, you could overhaul your distribution processes, offering customers a home-delivery service, possibly tied in with online and telephone ordering.
If your main competitor’s products have a reputation for being cheap and cheerful, rather than trying to undercut them on price you could innovate by revamping your marketing to emphasize the quality of your merchandise and consider charging a premium for them.
Some innovative ideas may just come to you out of the blue. However, you should ideally have innovation as part of your business strategy
If your business organization has developed a strategic vision of how you want your business to develop, if you dedicate your time to monitoring trends in your business sector, you can then focus your innovative efforts on the most important areas.
Innovation will not only improve the chances of your business surviving, but also help it to thrive and drive increased profits.
There are lots of practical ways of assessing whether your ideas have profit potential:
Assess the competition
Find out who your competitors are and where they operate. Use the Internet and advertising sources such as the Yellow Pages to find out about their products, prices, and operating culture.
This can give you an overview of their selling points, as well as any areas you might be able to exploit.
For example, if the competition is focused on value for money, you might want to emphasize the quality of your product or service.
Study market or industry trends
Awareness of the climate in which your business is operating will help you to plan.
You can find a lot of information about your industry on the Internet. Business and trade magazines will also feature useful articles.
Build a relationship with your customers
It’s not enough simply to know who your customer base is. You need to communicate effectively with them as well.
Communication involves not only listening to their needs but also actively observing their behavior around current products and services and generating ideas on how you can make improvements.
Involve your suppliers and other business partners
Pooling your resources with your suppliers or other business partners will help to produce and develop creative ideas. Potential partnerships can also be developed through business networking opportunities.
Finally, you should include your vision in your business plan by, putting down your goals, both long and short term and detailing how you intend to achieve them
You could also do so by linking goals to financial targets, such as achieving a specific turnover by a set date and finally reviewing your plan regularly.
Encourage innovation in your business
There are many sources you can use to help generate new ideas for the business.
Suppliers, business partners, and business network contacts can all make valuable contributions to the creative process, as well as providing support and encouragement.
Your employees are also a vital asset in generating innovative ideas.
To get the most from them, you need to create an innovative environment and encourage creative thinking.
When business organizations employ some of these strategies for their growth, this will lead to extreme profitability.