What Do You Want to Improve Today?
Frequently, “innovation” is used as a buzzword throughout companies. However, an organization’s ability to innovate is considered to be a primary way to develop the competitive advantages that are so vital for differentiation, and delivering value to consumers.
Whether innovation results from creativity or cultivated curiosity is often debated. The late, great business thinker, Peter Drucker described innovation as a combination of inspiration and hard work.
What Does Innovation Mean to You?
Sources of innovation can be tapped into provided that the organization fosters a culture for innovation. Innovative cultures don’t occur by accident, and management must consciously encourage originality and reward people for coming up with ideas that pertain to better ways of doing things.
Sometimes, the incident of an unexpected occurrence is how innovation begins, or it results from very purposeful and persistent focus on business objectives, and a variety of other ways in-between.
Innovation is multifaceted in nature, which requires emphasis on the ideation and incubation of improvements to:
- find new methods to deliver value
- better understand customers, potential customers and the market overall
- be more empathetic and enable providing excellent customer service
- increase retention
- outmaneuver competitors
- listen and learn to understand
- create an additional product or service offering you know will be readily adopted by your customer base – and beyond
Bridging the Ingenuity Gap
Organizations that continuously learn and focus on the importance of knowledge and intellectual pursuits are the most successful in their market niche and outpace the competition – by bridging the “ingenuity gap” necessary for innovation.
And innovation isn’t an isolated undertaking that belongs to just one department – your entire organization should be involved – as well as entities on the outside.
Increasingly, company leaders know that innovating means tapping into external knowledge via thought leaders who can provide the inspiration, and help define the tactical, hard work required for breakthroughs.
Highly-experienced experts outside of your organization can bring a unique, fresh perspective company leaders should embrace.
The spotlight on external expertise keeps getting brighter because of the exponential need for additional knowledge to pour into companies – so these new understandings can be leveraged and disseminated across the organization.
CONFIRMED: Confirmation Bias
Company leaders who believe a specific business endeavor is highly important may pay attention to only information that is consistent with the belief that the business endeavor is highly important.
This isn’t conscious or intentional – but an actual internal enemy in the way people think and confirmation bias has been known to blindside companies to their peril. Our minds use our experiences to favor the choice of one concept over another – and we already have a bias regarding the mental route we’re going to take.
The vital first step to overcome confirmation bias is to be mindful of your reasoning process, and to continually ask yourself whether you are altering the way you deal with information to confirm predetermined viewpoints.
Obtain Outside Opinions
Seeking other opinions can help, but there’s a problem with just looking towards employees because they are likely to reinforce the confirmation. Put yourself in their shoes; it’s difficult for employees to disagree with the boss.
A mindset of, “That’s the way we’ve always done it here,” is the exact reason you shouldn’t keep doing the same old thing in an ever-changing world where business happens at a frenetic pace, the competitive landscape shifts, consumer demands transform, customers’ wants and needs evolve.
Doing the same old thing leads to irrelevance. And irrelevance equals extinction.
These are the best reasons to obtain knowledge from experts with a different perspective – they won’t have the biased confirmations that already exist within your organization.
Utilize valuable compartmentalized nuggets of knowledge that exist outside of the organization by bringing that information inside for sharing and collaboration is essential to achieve empowering interactions that help take companies to the next level.