Innovations and creative ideas for your business can pop into your head at any time.  These spontaneous ideas can be valuable to your business and should be recorded for future thought.  But, you never know when the next random idea will “appear”.

If you want to regularly develop more creative ideas for your business, schedule a brainstorming session.  Before scheduling the brainstorming session, be sure you know the best environment for your creative thinking.  Pick a time, location and setting that supports you in developing innovative ideas – read my blog post on Finding Your Innovation Environment for more details.

There are many techniques for brainstorming new ideas.  One technique involves identifying an unmet need in your own company or in your market.  Brainstorm for solutions to satisfy that unmet need.  Your solutions may include new products, new services, or adding new features to existing products or services.  Record all ideas you generate during your brainstorming session (using pencil and paper, a computer, a smartphone, an audio recorder, etc.)  You don’t need to understand all the details necessary to implement the solutions – just get the ideas recorded and you can work out the details later.

I recently scheduled a brainstorming session for myself to identify a list of article topics related to business innovation.  My list contains article titles and topics, but not the details of each article.  My brainstorming session generated a list of 28 article titles/topics in a short period of time.  I will schedule several follow-up brainstorming sessions to fill in the details for each article in my list.

Please share information about your successful brainstorming sessions here.

I’ve been helping entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders leverage innovations for over 15 years.  With all that work in innovation, I sometimes forget to take action and implement new innovation strategies in my own business.  So, it’s time to take some innovation action!

I am participating in the “100 Articles in 100 Days” challenge by EzineArticles.  I will be preparing and publishing 100 articles – approximately one article per day for the next 100 days – starting today!  I will be writing articles about business innovation, business growth and related subjects.  I already have a list of topics for articles, but the list is not up to 100 yet!

So, I’m asking for your support.  If you have any questions about how to leverage innovation in your business, please let me know and I’ll answer those questions in my articles.  Also, if you have any general suggestions for article topics related to business and innovation, please leave a comment here, send them to me via twitter (@stevesponseller), or comment on my Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/innovationstrategies).

I will be posting updates on my progress to this blog.  You can also read my latest articles by visiting http://www.ArticlesBySteve.com (scroll to the bottom of that page for a list of articles).

When working with clients to develop an innovation strategy, we typically discuss ways to innovate internal business procedures.  We spend time brainstorming on the various steps in the internal business procedures and look for ways to simplify or eliminate steps to streamline those procedures.

However, before we get to the issue of innovating a business procedure, there’s a preliminary question:  Is the procedure necessary?

I recently worked with a company that performs repair services on electronic appliances. The company had a detailed “inventory procedure” that was completed every morning before the store opened. The procedure required an employee to print a report of all “open” repair orders from the computer.  Then, the employee handling the inventory procedure that morning checked to be sure that every appliance in for repair was actually in the store.  The employee manually checked off each appliance on the list.

This process took over an hour each morning, and the employees hated it. When I began asking questions about the procedure, I learned that the completed checklist was filed away and never used again.  And, if they could not find an appliance shown on the printed list, a notation was made on the list, but no effort was made to determine what happened to the missing appliance.  When I asked why they did this, the answer was “that’s what’s in our business policies and procedures”.  After discussing the procedure with several people, including store managers, I learned that there was no reason to continue that daily procedure.

There’s no bigger waste of time and resources than making an effort to optimize a business procedure that doesn’t need to be performed in the first place.

Take a look at your own internal business procedures and be sure there is a valid business reason for continuing those procedures.  I encourage you to share your discoveries and your thoughts.

To leverage innovations that grow your business, you need to implement a plan that continually encourages innovation throughout your company. Teaching everyone in your organization about creativity and innovation helps develop an innovation culture that produces a constant flow of creative ideas.

You can start building an innovation culture in your business by:

  1. Teaching everyone in your business about the innovation process and encourage them to submit creative ideas. Don’t limit creative activities to a particular department or group of individuals. I have seen valuable innovations developed by people with different backgrounds, experience, and roles within a company.
  2. Giving examples of innovations (in your own company or other companies) that have provided a boost to the company by increasing revenue, reducing expenses or streamlining business procedures. Show that relatively simple innovations can have a significant impact on the business.
  3. Celebrating and rewarding innovation in your business.  Provide an innovation framework that includes innovation contests, brainstorming events and an innovation reward program.

Start creating a culture of innovation in your business today by educating everyone in your business about the innovation process and how it can benefit the business.  Please share your comments below and tell us about the innovation culture in your business.

I’ve read many articles about small businesses using new techniques to attract new clients or customers.  Some of these techniques are relatively simple, but produce a significant boost to the business.  A simple innovation in your business can help distinguish your products and services from those of your competitors.

Here’s an example of a local restaurant in my town that’s offering a new service to expand its sales.  The restaurant is a family-style restaurant that, until recently, did not offer continue reading…

This is a test post – please disregard.

Thanks, Steve

QAF9HSAQ3WFD

I’m sure your initial reaction to the question “Is Blogging Innovative?” may be “No, blogging has been around forever.”  However, I believe the answer varies depending on the industry.

Although many businesses and industries with a strong online presence have been using blogs for many years to provide information and interact with their clients and customers.  But, businesses in many industries are not actively using blogs.

For example, Bentley Tolk recently explained that blogging is still considered “cutting edge” for many law firms and lawyers.  Bentley teaches law firm marketing via Social Media and New Media.  He discussed the topic of blogging for lawyers in an episode of his podcast.  (Listen here:  http://legalmarketinglive.com/why-lawyers-should-blog-legal-marketing-live-004)

So, the answer to whether blogging is still innovative:  Yes.  If you are one of the first to use blogging in your market, you are an innovator in your industry.  A great way to innovate your business is to apply successful practices (such as blogging) in other industries to your own company.

Even if others are already blogging in your market, look at successful blogging practices by other companies (in any market) and apply similar practices to your own blog.  There’s always room for innovation.

I’m often asked the question “How does innovation ‘fit’ in my company?”  Many people believe innovations are limited to technology-based companies or restricted to large corporations with research departments.  But, I have seen countless innovations in all types of businesses in a variety of industries.  Many valuable innovations have been developed in “non-technology” companies.

For any business I’m helping to develop an innovation strategy, I point out the following three ways to innovate a business.  There are other categories of innovation, but these three provide a great start and give all businesses lots of ideas to work with.

  1. Create Something New – Think about new products or services that can expand your existing business, or allow you to grow into a new market.  Consider unmet needs in your market, customer suggestions and continue reading…

Developing an innovation strategy in your business provides a variety of benefits.  As your business grows and becomes known as an innovator in the marketplace, many people will notice.  News articles and word-of-mouth advertising builds your reputation as an innovative company, which attracts new customers as well as potential employees and contractors.

Many people want to work in a creative and innovative environment. These people perceive less innovative companies as “boring” or “old fashioned”.  When you position yourself as an innovative company, employees and contractors will seek positions with your company.  This puts you in a strong position by attracting a large group of potential employees and contractors when your company has an open position.

I have known many top employees who were considering several new job opportunities. In addition to the actual job responsibilities, these people looked very closely at the company’s culture, which included the innovation culture and the creative environment.  In this situation, innovative companies had the edge in hiring these top candidates.

Consider taking steps to position your business as an innovator and begin experiencing the benefits of your innovative activities.

Innovation is commonly defined as “the introduction of something new” or “a new way of doing something”.  Many successful innovations improve on an existing product to make it faster, cheaper, or more efficient.  Other valuable innovations apply procedures and systems from one industry to another.

For example, Henry Ford is not credited with inventing the car nor did he invent the assembly line.  His innovation was to change the way cars were built by applying a moving assembly line (already in use in a different industry) to the automobile manufacturing process.  Thus, Ford’s innovation was the combination of an existing product (cars) with an existing procedure (the assembly line).  The moving assembly line developed by Henry Ford allowed individual workers to perform specific tasks while the vehicles moved along the assembly line, which greatly improved efficiency.  The moving assembly line reduced the time required to build each car, increased vehicle production levels and reduced the cost to manufacture each car.  Ford’s innovation of bringing the moving assembly line to the automotive industry allowed the company to sell more vehicles at a significantly lower cost, which distinguished it from other companies in the market that used less efficient manufacturing techniques.

Today’s Action Step:  Spend some time brainstorming about ways to innovate your business’ products or procedures.  Is there a particular unmet need in your market that your company can fill?  Are there procedures in other industries that can be adapted to your business to improve operations?  Write down your answers!

Powered by WordPress Web Design by SRS Solutions © 2017 Innovation Explained Design by SRS Solutions