All companies like to believe that they are innovative. But what does it actually mean in practice? Let’s take a look.
You Hire from Outside Your Local Talent Pool
When it comes to business innovation, the people you hire are the most critical variable. Without them, you can’t move forward and achieve success.
The problem, however, is that the vast majority of brands onboard people from their local talent pool. They don’t look elsewhere for people.
That’s a problem. With the growing global labour market now in full swing, there are many more opportunities to hire skilled people from overseas. And thanks to ILR (indefinite leave to remain), many are able to stay in the country full-time once they’ve been working for you for long enough.
You Are Disruptive in Your Industry
Another definition of an innovative business is the ability to be disruptive in your industry. Usually, disruption takes a couple of forms:
- Providing a brand new technology that makes older versions obsolete
- Developing a new business model that disrupts existing markets
Either of these two methods is kosher and, fundamentally, great ways of protecting your firm long-term. If your brand always has its nose out in front of the rest of the pack, you can often protect yourself from the disruption that would eventually happen anyway.
You Are Continually Looking to Improve Your Processes
Companies love processes. They’re what allow them to repeatedly generate value for hundreds, thousands and even millions of customers. But processes don’t last forever. Eventually, they need updating or modifying.
Unfortunately, doing so internally can often be costly. Process innovation requires getting management and staff to both agree on changes – and implement them with vigour. And that’s not always easy.
The trick here is to make lots of minor adjustments over time. You want to develop a culture in which people expect small changes to how they work around the edges. These adjustments are difficult to achieve if you try to carry them all out at the same time – people will resist. But if you do it slowly, you can often have a much bigger overall effect.
The best way to get started is to make changes to your own work and then share what you are doing with the rest of the team. Leaders in innovative companies always lead by example.
You Always Look for Ways to Improve The Customer Experience
While efficiency gains and process improvements are always helpful for cutting costs, transforming the customer experience is what revolutionizes the revenue side of the equation. If you can create something that your patrons love, they will have no issue spending big money with you on a regular basis.
Innovating on the customer side of the equation is actually more challenging than you might think. For instance, it took Amazon nearly a decade to create its same-day delivery service. And it still struggles with it even now, many years after it introduced the system.
The trick is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and imagine what they might want. Often front-line employees have a lot of knowledge about your client base and their needs, so consulting them can help.