Innovation isn’t something that only a few companies do; any organization with the vision and will can and should innovate. There are many reasons why companies don’t innovate, one of them is they don’t know where to start. And, where you start is with a problem, challenge, insight, a need.
How do you identify them?
There are many methods for finding opportunities for innovation. Here are 7 of them:
- Problem-solving: Look for problems or challenges that your business or industry is facing, and brainstorm ways to solve them. A good approach is to challenge orthodoxies, that is challenge assumptions in your industry, product, service. There are ideas in every domain that have gone unchallenged and become the way, but may no longer hold any value and instead become an obstacle; challenge those!
- Customer feedback: Your customers are your greatest source of insight; don’t ignore them! Studyinig competitors is overrated, studying your customer is underrated. So, collect and analyze customer feedback to identify areas where you can improve products or services or meet unmet needs. Remember, customer discovery never ends.
- Benchmarking: I believe benchmarking is stupid. But, it’s worth doing to understand what not to do. Compare your business to competitors or industry leaders to identify areas where you can differentiate yourself or improve upon existing products or services.
- Trend analysis: Harnessing trends is another source of innovation. Monitor trends in your industry or market, and look for opportunities to innovate based on emerging trends or technologies.
- Brainstorming: Hold regular brainstorming sessions with your team to generate new ideas and explore potential opportunities for innovation.
- Collaboration: Collaborate with other businesses or organizations to identify opportunities for innovation and explore potential partnerships or projects.
- Incubation: New ideas need time, support and resources to gain traction. Set aside dedicated time and resources for exploring and developing new ideas and innovations.
These methods are available to every organization, and are a solid starting point. By using these methods and adopting a proactive approach to finding opportunities for innovation, you can position your business for success and drive long-term growth.
Additionally, there are other areas ripe for innovation within a business and industry: brand, platform, solutions, value capture, customer experience, organization, supply chain, and networking.