This guest post was written by Efraim Landa.

Efraim Landa is an entrepreneur and the founder of Effi Enterprises, he is an active blogger and blogs about venture capital, finance and economics

Innovation

Innovation

 

 

There is a definite pattern for the life cycle of most businesses. They usually start with an innovative idea, develop a workable business model, construct a suitable infrastructure and then grow by following their business model and executing it efficiently. To ensure that the company continues to grow and be productive it is important for them to continue innovative thinking. If not, the business will decline and be replaced with other companies who are willing to continue being creative and innovative.

Innovation: The Life of a Business

We can easily understand that innovation is essential for the success of a business. Apple is a good example of continuing innovations. While it can be about developing new products, they do more than just make new products. In the past Apple has continued to develop brand new markets that are meant to meet customer needs. Of course, Apple innovatively creates a need customers didn’t even know they had – and then meets that need! Microsoft on the other hand stifles innovation in the way that they conduct employee evaluations; Microsoft rewards employees for individuality and encourages them to work 9often0 against the interests of their team. However, innovation is not necessarily connected to technology.

According to recent research conducted by Business Week about 72% of big corporations stated that innovation is in their top three business priorities. However, nearly half of these said that they were not happy with the ROI in that area. The main problem it seems is that there is a very slow development time. Customer needs and demands change quickly in our fast-paced world. But it can be difficult to get organized and move fast enough to keep up with customer desires. However, those who are innovative enough to get organized and drive the growth of the company are ahead of the game.

Innovation at Work

Procter & Gamble seems to be on the right track in that they have completely transformed their research and development processes and have a new open-source strategy that they call “connect and develop.” This innovative method brings together brain power from around the world. They collaborate with scientists, inventors and other suppliers to develop new lines of products which can be developed in house. This is how innovation works; creative and collaborative thinking is not stifled, but rather encouraged. How to encourage this type of innovation can be the difficulty that many businesses face.

Stifle Innovation = Death of a Business

Many businesses operate like an elementary school classroom where the teacher (or the supervisor/manager in this case) walks around the room pointing out what is being done wrong without offering better ways to do things. This type of setting discourages people working together to develop new ideas. Even though the employees are seemingly happy in their own cubicles, there is little or no collaboration. Each person just does their own jobs and tries to do them correctly on their own. In this type of atmosphere trying something new or different is discouraged. This is the way to stifle innovation and eventually the company’s production as well. Without innovative practices a business will not survive or prosper.

Encouraging Innovation

A company’s employees may very well be their greatest asset. Just like Proctor & Gamble found out, each of these brings a unique set of experiences, education and backgrounds to the table. They each have different perspectives and use different problem solving techniques and skills. This diversity is a huge part of effectively encouraging innovation in a business setting. Allowing and encouraging collaboration is the heart of successful innovation. This type of team approach can foster innovation and keep creative ideas flowing. Communication among various departments and team members can trigger new innovative ideas. Team leaders can help by asking appropriate questions while also ensuring that an internal strategy across the company is upheld.