Is innovation or creative thinking a factor for sustainable growth in your business? Well judging from the strides of various progressive organisations, ranging from the simplicity of SA’s retail bank, Capitec, to Apple’s creative approach to software development and mobile applications – there’s no denying it.
Innovation should ultimately enable customers to enjoy better products and services with an enhanced level of convenience. Innovation is also linked to your core competence. It’s essentially what makes you stand out in your field and industry. Now, this is not limited to new technology alone. Innovation should differentiate your business, product and services, and in doing so create a brand new experience for your clients.
Open-minded companies that choose to be innovative stand to benefit greatly as the unique challenges of today’s marketplace certainly call for out-of-the-box solutions. The competitive and technological era that we are currently operating in also fosters greater opportunity for differentiation and sustainable growth of innovative enterprises.
So in light of the above, how do you successfully drive business innovation across your organization? Let us look at three approaches below.
1. Embark on product and service differentiation
One of the most effective ways of being innovative, or differentiating your business, is to enable easy communication of your brand identity. For instance, consider a product that is already in demand and find creative ways of enhancing its demand as well as the consumer understanding of that product. Furthermore, the demand for a product that is easy to communicate is maximised by word of mouth. Simply put – a product that’s memorable and easy to explain increases its marketability and allows you to grow your customer base quicker.
An example of a company that has made a name for themselves in the events industry is Howler. They have created a platform which assists event organiser with ticketing, access control, cashless payments, vendor settlements, cash management, and event marketing. They have disrupted the event landscape by creating a completely cashless and seamless payment solution.
2. Engage with your customers
Understanding your customers well enables you to engage with them on a personal and intimate level. This entails that you move away from one-size-fits-all communication to personalised communication in order to understand their current and ever-changing needs. Engaging with your customers through their preferred form of social media is a great place to start. Encouraging an interactive platform is healthy as customers can tweet about their experience, they can endorse your business, and they can recommend your business to friends, colleagues, and other network contacts by liking your updates or profile on Facebook. Connecting using these and other techniques in the digital marketing space also creates an excellent opportunity to encourage customers to have an open and receptive attitude towards your products.
3. Use a flexible measurement of productivity
Standard measures of productivity are not always effective in determining the financial success of innovative products. For instance, employees are not going to be motivated to create original, innovative products, if they are not appraised and evaluated within a framework of creativity. Productivity should rather be measured in terms of value-adding dimensions of products, and not necessarily the number of products manufactured or supplied.
Business innovation ultimately encourages an atmosphere and culture of creating small, but essential, changes continuously. Rather than trying to launch a range of new products that don’t necessarily address the unique customer needs of your target market, consider the above creative approaches to growth. In this case, it is recommended to make innovative adjustments to existing products and services and to your operations in order to create sustainable business growth.
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