Like most things in business, communication innovations is dynamic, and needs to be managed and balanced.
But innovation is about much more than solar panels and social networks, and is far more accessible and necessary than most organizations believe. There are traditionally three types or levels of Innovation, and while they go by different names and definitions depending on who you talk to, they range from small, frequent improvements to large, game-changing inventions or ventures.
- Small and often continuous changes to produce more revenue or cost savings from current products, services, and operations
- Reach – Internal Operations and Current Customers
- Examples – Lean Manufacturing, New Flavors or Features
- Improvements to technology or the business model, offering additional value through added convenience or features
- Reach – Current Marketplace and New Customers
- Examples – Online Account Management, Pricing Packages
- Combination of technology and business model changes to create new value through the replacement of previous products and services
- Reach – New Markets and New Customers
- Examples – Reusable Materials, Ecommerce
INTERACTIVE – Is your Company actually ready to Innovate?
With an almost infinite number of opportunities to improve, innovation is truly in the eye of the beholder. There is no singular right way to innovate, but it is best practice to aim for a mix of smaller, safer improvements to constantly improve efficiency, along with investments in larger ideas or changes to take advantage of bigger opportunities as they arise.
Long-term, successful innovation is all about crafting a strategy that aligns with core competencies, market conditions, and an organization’s appetite for risk. It’s a large responsibility that requires constant identification of problems or opportunities, finding new ways to attack those situations, implementation and testing of new ideas, learning from the changes you’ve made, topped off with an engaged workforce that shares your vision for improvement. It is an essential part of not just growing an organization, but keeping it alive.