I am yet to find a business that doesn’t desire to be an innovative company. In one way or the other, everyone agrees that developing innovative products and/ or services will be vital to an organization’s continued growth and development. The million dollar question then is how to incorporate innovation into the fabric of an organization.
In my experience, every business owner has innovative ideas and capabilities buried within them. Having sat with and interacted with hundreds of business owners, I am of the opinion that very few business owners lack innovative ideas. As a matter of fact, one would argue that their innovative ideas were the reason they went into business in the first place.
So why are most businesses not innovative? I believe the reason is because they do not understand how to execute their innovative ideas and perhaps more importantly, they’re not sure it’ll work.
The reality is that no innovative company has a crystal ball to know if an innovative idea would work or not. Every innovative idea ever released was once a hypothesis that was tested in a controlled environment and then deployed after passing a user acceptance test.
Consider the example of The Coca-Cola ® Company – an organization that has earned its stripes over the years as a trending, trail-blazing innovative company in the soda beverage industry. The Company has reached levels of tremendous success and popularity by leveraging innovation to drive growth and sustainability along the lines of its product, marketing, sustainability and systems. Streamlining innovation along these lines helps the Company put some structure around its innovation while creating an environment to test every idea it has along each of those four categories.
Over the years, we all know some of the Company’s ideas that haven’t worked and many that have hit home run. From inspiring moments of optimism and happiness by personalizing the labels on their bottles to developing health conscious products like The Diet Coke, the Company has attempted more innovative ideas than any other company in their industry and this has helped its growth. The key is to ensure there are way more successes than failures.
In the end, being an innovative company is about creating opportunities to test and deploy ideas instead of theorizing on whether an idea would work or not. In my opinion, both innovative and non-innovative companies guess a lot. The ones who win have simply tested their guesses, learnt and deployed much more ideas than the non-innovative ones. The way they’ve done this is by creating an environment for new ideas to be tested, analyzed, corrected and deployed if it meets set criteria.