Innovation is crucial to remaining competitive in today’s marketplace. Companies that continuously seek new ways of doing things in order to remain relevant and add value to both talent and customers can position themselves at the forefront of their industries, and even function as thought leaders for companies outside of their immediate fields of business.
Innovation requires flexibility and a willingness to try new things while always ensuring constant risk mitigation. What follows are the six essential components of innovation:
- Strong, courageous leadership: The leadership of an innovative organization establishes a positive, stable environment where new challenges can be safely taken on. It ensures that costs and risks are properly managed. Moreover, the leadership is engaged in the company framework and respects its infrastructure.
- The ability to self-examine: Innovation cannot occur without first knowing what needs to be changed. It’s key to have a good overview of a company’s position in the industry in order to pinpoint what needs to be changed about the status quo, as well as what innovations are possible.
- Global sophistication: Companies need a deep understanding of current best practices, as well as existing and emerging technology. They need to have a relationship with thought leaders in their industries, as well as connections to professional organizations and institutes of higher education.
- Focus on the customer: Innovation is driven by the needs and desires of the customer. It’s essential to maintain a range of fully developed customer profiles that guide strategies. This enables companies to pinpoint and address unmet needs and wants that fit within their range of products or services.
- Active methodology: The methodology for innovation should stand on the shoulders of a company’s past while always being relevant to the contemporary market. It should be structured, customized, well-developed, and clearly communicated to the workforce. The framework should allow for both flexibility and precision, and it should facilitate continuous improvement.
- Imaginative and agile teams: The work environment should encourage innovation by providing employees with opportunities to work in multifunctional teams and collaborate with external experts who contribute a new point of view.
Innovation isn’t something that happens overnight, but by continuously striving to incorporate these six components, you can help make your company more innovative and globally competitive.
Find out more about innovation in my new paper, Propelling Innovation.