As an entrepreneur, you’re always trying to think of ways to grow and enhance your business with new innovations. Many people have come to think wrongly of innovation as a separate activity, walled off from their regular course of business—something they have to pursue intentionally. Let’s take a look at how to streamline innovation in your small business.
Discover Existing Resources
Small business owners might believe they don’t have the resources to innovate. Constraints are usually an inspiration toward innovation, not a setback. Many potential innovations have been killed by too much time and money and having too many people involved. Understanding your customers is required for successful innovation. Small business owners, with their intimate knowledge of their customers, actually are incredibly well-positioned to innovate.
There are types of innovation management software that allows you to you listen to what customers are saying online, conduct surveys, and ask questions to see what your target market really wants. Whether or not you use this kind of technology, you need to get suggestions and feedback on your ideas from customers and employees alike. These programs also help manage the innovation process by creating and assigning tasks to employees, as well as collaborating with vendors or partners outside your business to bring a project to life.
Find New Resources
Brainstorming is a technique to stimulate creative ideas and solutions through discussion. Put simply, it’s a process where an individual or a group attempts to find a solution for the specific problem by aggregating all the spontaneous opinions or suggestions. there are dozens of ways to brainstorm. If the way you’re currently doing it is leaving you uninspired, try a different method. There are several methods to utilize when brainstorming, like Reverse Brainstorming, Rolestorming, or Starbursting.
Another way to encourage innovation from employees is to ask them about—and value—their views and opinions. Whenever your team has meetings, everyone should be encouraged to offer ideas, regardless of their rank or tenure at the company. This allows for a diverse range of opinions, ideas, and perspectives. An intern may have a brilliant idea but may be scared to offer it. Instead, empower them to have confidence in their idea.
Create an open forum for your employees to encourage innovation. Also add that if they generate new business ideas that generate revenue the employee will make a portion of those sales. Create bonuses based on group and individual performance to encourage those who have innovative ideas an incentive to continue doing so.
Get the Team Involved
Employees must understand the part they play in the company’s goals and are most innovative when they are engaged in their work, and when that work is meaningful. Managers who are willing to listen effectively create a culture of engagement dependent upon employees feeling that they can speak and be heard.
Have your employees research a broad business landscape. They can draw inspiration from what they see and come up with their own unique ways to apply what they’ve learned to your business, when they spend time investigating how other businesses in different industries operate. Encourage them to explore how other companies innovate to help your business truly differentiate itself. This isn’t just an exercise in keeping an eye on the competition.
As an innovation leader, you must inspire your employees to stand out by maintaining transparency and open communication. The innovators and creative thinkers in your company want to know that their work is having a genuine impact. Allow them to understand how they can continue to effect change. Give your team the chance to see the big picture.
Above all, businesses of all sizes need to remember that innovation is not limited to products, services, technology, or creative thinking. Creating the latest product or service isn’t always the goal rather, focus on understanding why the customer can’t adequately solve important problems and develop an innovative business model that does the job in a new, novel fashion.