Add another layer to your #Business literacy. We at Serebral360° would love to know if the Forbes – Entrepreneurs article was helpful, leave a comment, like and share. Let’s dive in and discuss the information and put it to use to grow your business. #BusinessStrategy #ContentMarketing #WebDevelopment #BrandStrategy
Info@serebral360.com 762.333.1807 www.serebral360.com
Grap a copy of our NEW Business Stratgety Books #FFSS VOL1 and #FFSS VOL2
In the face of global competition and a rapidly changing digital landscape, some companies are likely finding consistent growth more difficult than ever. I believe top-performing companies, such as Amazon and Google, understand the critical importance of innovation — and are winning because of it.
What lessons can be learned from top-performing companies about prioritizing and executing successful innovation? Based on research and experience with a range of clients on innovation-focused projects, I’ve identified three common mistakes organizations make when pursuing innovation:
1. Inaccurate Understanding Of The User
Surprisingly often, I’ve seen organizations rely on assumptions about their customer base instead of concrete data. It’s natural to think we know what our customers need and who they are, but without data-driven facts, it is easy to convolute our personal preferences or experiences with that of a true customer.
Instead of making assumptions, study your customer base. Google’s foundational “10 Things” begins, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” For example, my company, a tech consulting firm, typically recommends a mix of qualitative and quantitative research — customer surveys, focus groups and ethnographic studies — when seeking to understand customer needs.
Even more critical than initial research, however, is maintaining a clear, 360-degree view of your customers. In a world where customers can interact on a wide variety of channels, gathering and keeping this information accurate is undoubtedly a continual investment. Although there is a myriad of marketing technology tools available to help accomplish this goal, I believe it is critical to select the right mix of customer analytics tools across channels to ensure you are gathering actionable data that can be consolidated into one location.
2. Paralysis By Analysis
On the other hand, even organizations with bountiful customer data can struggle to bring solutions to the market successfully. From my perspective, companies that prefer to launch products in one “big bang” can put themselves at risk of wasted time and capital if that single release ends up missing the mark. Not only does this type of approach miss an opportunity to learn iteratively from its target market, but also the extra time it takes to launch a fully mature product exposes companies to the risk of new players taking market share with possibly less-perfect but functional products.
I believe a great solution is to practice rapid product iteration. When it comes to innovation and new products, aim for smaller, more frequent releases. In my experience, instead of aiming for perfection, companies have the opportunity to experience success and gather more actionable data when aiming first to create a minimal viable product. This approach positions you to shift quickly based on customer feedback, which would ultimately create a more successful product. Regardless of the amount of prior research conducted, you cannot replace the lessons learned from actual users.
3. Maintaining A Culture Of Ad Hoc Innovation
Finally, I’ve observed that many organizations are missing operational structures to effectively act on innovation. Regardless of the amount of customer data they can gather, if innovation is only ad hoc and not an integral part of the organization’s culture and processes, they miss out on vital opportunities. In these cases, knowledge can easily slip through the cracks across different project teams. When innovation is not consistently prioritized, you run the risk of experiencing stagnant growth and having unimpressed customers.
A small step toward building an innovation culture is to establish an innovation playbook that outlines a clear path to vetting, funding, managing and staffing innovative projects. To help with your innovation efforts, view innovation as an investment portfolio. I believe Google X is an interesting example of this approach. Google X is a dedicated team focused primarily on next-generation innovations for Google while the rest of the company is focused on smaller enhancements and innovations related to existing Google products.
Of course, this type of approach requires significant investment. In my experience, companies could instead consider choosing a combination of one or two “moon shots” (more radical innovation, such as launching a new line of business) with a strong set of incremental innovation (such as the evolution of existing products or services). I’ve found that incremental innovations might have a great chance of succeeding, but they offer a smaller gain. I’ve observed moon shots, on the other hand, tend to have a higher probability of failure, but they could be major breakthroughs for your business and even disrupt your industry.
Fighting For Innovation
Innovation is never easy and cannot be approached with a cookie-cutter mindset, but I believe thoughtfully avoiding these three common pitfalls can remove significant barriers to success. The pace of innovation is not slowing down any time soon. Leaders of companies seeking to compete in this digital-centric environment who fight to pave clear paths to innovation can open up tremendous growth opportunities.
April 11, 2019 at 08:23AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs