Browsing Posts tagged innovation strategy

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.

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.

Businesses use many techniques to develop innovations.  One approach to innovation development deals with problems experienced in your own business or in your industry.  Problems provide an opportunity for innovation by asking (and answering) five key questions:

  1. What Happened? Identify details regarding the specific problem and determine whether the problem is related to a client, a product, a service, your entire industry, or a problem with your internal business procedures.  Determine exactly what happened, such as dates, locations, people/businesses involved and other relevant details.  These details will be used later to help prevent future problems.
  2. Why Did it Happen? Determine why the problem occurred by evaluating when it happened and why the problem occurred at this time, but has not happened before.  Identify what details were different this time that may have caused the problem.  Determine continue reading…
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