If you want your business to be successful in the globalized economy of today, you must be ready to innovate. Innovation is what will help you create a roadmap towards not just success, but the survival of your business. If you don’t use proper innovation management strategies in every element of your company or organization, you simply won’t be able to compete anymore.
What Is Innovation?
Many people believe that innovation is about coming up with a new product, but this is actually not true. Rather, it is about taking small steps that affect each part of the business, so that the company as a whole can develop and grow. Innovation never ends either, therefore. It is a continuous process that will only work if everybody is involved. It needs to be part of the culture of your organization, and not just your strategic manager. Anyone, from the janitor to the CEO, should be able to take part in innovation and should feel that their contributions are welcomed and respected.
What Is Innovation Management?
Somebody has to be responsible for the management of innovation. They need to make sure that people are able to put forward their ideas. There are multiple ways to achieve this, including:
- Open door policies
- Suggestion boxes
- Regular meetings
- The company’s intranet system
- Employee surveys and questionnaires
- Away days
- Corporate events
What matters is that everybody feels that they can put their ideas forward, and that they will be listened to. This does not mean that every idea also has to be implemented. Rather, it is about creating a culture in which everybody knows that they are equally valued, and that if an idea is not implemented, it is because the company as a whole agrees that it will not improve the current business model.
Innovation management is also about testing and implementation, but you won’t be able to get to that stage until you have changed the company culture.
Why Isn’t Everybody Innovating?
It is interesting to see that the vast majority of businesses know that innovation is hugely important, yet very few actually implement it as part of their business model. There are several reasons for this:
- Companies worry that they will be transformed in some sort of Google environment, with slides, relaxation rooms and free food for all.
- Companies still have a hierarchical culture, which means they simply cannot accept that the opinion at the lower end of the scale is as valuable as that of a senior manager.
- Companies don’t know how to get started on the process of innovation.
There are a number of consultants and specialists out there who will help you to transform your business into one that not just welcomes innovation, but embraces it. If you do want to make sure you remain competitive in this world, but you struggle to go about it alone, then these consultants are there to assist you. What isn’t an option, however, is to do nothing.