Top tips to become more innovative

Research shows that top innovators typically achieve up to twice as many sales as the industry average, realise higher EBIT, and roll out new products twice as fast as their competitors. You’d be mad not to want this.

It’s also fair to say that unless you are indeed Steve Jobs or Larry Page (in which case, do give me a call – I’ve got some great ideas to run by you!), there will be ample room for you to improve innovation in your company. The key is how you can set this in motion.

“Benchmarking against peers and competitors is the best way to kick-start stagnant or underperforming innovation programmes,” says Per Nilsson, global head of the technology and innovation management practice at Arthur D Little, which commissioned the report.

He adds that although 87 per cent of companies do already measure their innovation performance, by benchmarking against others, you can see precisely where and why your current efforts are failing to deliver.

So what can you do to improve things? Here are a few top tips we’ve condensed from Arthur D Little’s report, “Pathways to Innovation Excellence”: 

  • Stop focusing solely on changing how you serve existing customers – that’s not innovating, it will just make your existing product portfolios more complex;
  • Look at how Google and Apple get the edge over their competitors, and replicate – the iPhone was a game changer that blasted all other smart phones out of the water. You could do the same;
  • Try to expand the reach of your existing products – customers love new products and new ideas. Win them over with new propositions;
  • Take an open approach to innovation – although it’s an overused expression, you should “think outside of the box”. Partnerships and outsourcing your R&D should be avenues that you explore; and
  • Be bold and don’t be afraid to investigate new business ideas – give yourself a chance, and give your ideas a chance. Success won’t come on its own, you have to nurture it.
And if you think innovation is just a buzz-word that doesn’t mean anything concrete, you’re wrong.

Research shows that, compared to the average company, the most innovative companies achieve up to twice as many sales, as much as double the EBIT, and take half the time to break even when they introduce new products.

So what are you waiting for? Innovation won’t wait for you to get your act together. Now’s the time to get your business back on the wagon.

Arthur D Little – Pathways to Innovation Excellence.pdf

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