Innovation is one of the most widely talked-about strategies in today's business industry, whether it's correct or downright misleading. Innovation has proved to be a worldwide pursuit for many businesses, with 84% of directors making it necessary for their growth strategies.
A recent study has shown that 29% of Fortune 500 companies now have a senior innovation executive.
Tech giants such as Apple and Amazon have paved the way for innovation by maintaining their competitive edge and attracting a vast number of customers in the process. With each new invention, they have gone one step further to try and make the customer experience as user-friendly as possible. Whether that includes adding numerous cameras to the new iPhone 12 Pro Max or improving the voice recognition on the new Echo dot - their innovation has proven to be remarkably effective.
However, chasing innovation can also be a complete waste of time, depending on your business. Innovation can only be effective if it needs to happen and inventing for the sake of it can lead to frustration and cost.
So, how can you cut through all the noise and use innovation correctly in your business?
Listening is Crucial
The best way to improve innovation within your business is by listening to your customers.
Rather than just merely reading feedback and reviews, understanding the pain points will get to the bottom of what your customers want. If your customers are getting frustrated, work out why that is. Ask yourself what business processes could be more efficient and devise a plan to solve these problems.
Efficiency is crucial for your innovation. Understanding what works and what can't ensure progression. Start by seeing what doesn't work- assess what parts of your customer journey aren't working and why.
For example, you could be trying too hard to reflect all your customer personas into one group. This could cause you to lose out on valuable insights, and you may lose out on a considerable amount of traffic to your site.
Therefore, you should consider who your most important customers are and design and ensure they are represented in your personas' design. This will help you improve your businesses innovation in the long-term.
Assessing what you've already done can be a good way of improving your innovation. However, if you are looking to be a smart innovator, you'll want to define what the customer wants without them even realising they need it yet.
Find the Most Impactful Innovations
By listening to customers thoughts and wishes, you can start to devise a plan to find the most impactful innovations.
These innovations can be to enhance customer experience or your business's bottom line. To ensure these innovations are effective, you'll need to find the right teams that want to compete for funding. An effective way to motivate your employees is to incentivise the team with the idea that yields the most quantifiable value.
By doing this, you'll be able to come up with a range of new and exciting innovations for your business.
Creating a timeline will allow you to see how your customers' time is assigned to specific activities and help you identify problems throughout the way. These problems will allow you to pinpoint where your products or processes are going wrong, so you can go back to the drawing board to seek change.
Innovation Takes Time
As you look to prove or disprove specific innovations, you'll be able to support the continuation or the termination of a project. Both can be positive outcomes and offer insightful stats for future endeavours.
It's important to note that innovation takes time. Finding the most effective methods for specific innovations or disrupting your competitors requires taking risks to progress to the next stage.
If you want to be a great innovator, you must be willing to fail quickly. Inspiring a culture in your business where risk-taking is encouraged will mould and create resilient teams who want to share ideas and build on them.
Failing and then empowering positive change can produce the best innovations to help your business.
It's All About Trial and Error
Understandably, you are likely to face failure in your innovations. However, the important thing is that you build on these failures and empower the talent you have within your business to explore new ways of change.
Every business has different KPIs to hit every quarter. Finding out what resonates with your customers needs to be at the top of your priorities to see how your business can adapt to this and improve.
Understandably, with new innovations, comes new responsibility, which requires sign off from leadership at the top. If you are looking to affect change quickly, you will need as much expert knowledge and collaboration from your Chief Data Officer to implement the changes you need.
What Industries Are Embracing Innovation?
As technology progresses, so does demand. This is especially relevant in the packaging sector. The packaging sector is constantly adapting to new demand and offering new innovative ways to enhance the customer experience.
A huge factor that has dictated the design of the packaging industry is sustainability.
For environmental reasons, businesses have had to explore new and cheaper materials to use for their packaging, which has essentially pushed plastic aside. If you are stuck for ideas, here are some eco-friendly packaging and sustainable packaging ideas for your products.
In terms of new innovations, Ocado has already embraced 'cobotics', where robots can work alongside humans to deliver pallets of goods. Automated delivery still has a long way to go, but this innovation by Ocado could be where the future lies.
A combination of humans and robots could create a perfect balance to produce your business's ultimate performance.
Recently, Gucci has collaborated with the fashion-tech company Wanna to debut their new digital sneaker.
Wanna specialises in using augmented reality (AR) to create 3D models for sneakers and watches' digital fittings. The app's technology has previously been used by companies such as Reebok, Farfetch, Puma and Snapchat to see how consumers engage with 'virtual try-ons'.
Fashion powerhouse Gucci has a range of products that could be deemed slightly expensive for most people who may want to purchase them. Gucci has clearly gone back to the drawing board to see how they can surpass their previous innovations and understand what customers want in this new digital age.
With their innovation, everyone can feel a part of their AR journey by purchasing this new technology at $12.99 on the Gucci App, a fraction of a pair of Gucci trainers.
The experience of innovation will vary depending on your business. The aim of innovation is to fail quickly but to learn why and implement change quickly. Some of the best innovators ensure they are encouraging talent within their business who are not afraid to fail, that thrive on it to become more resilient in the process.
Innovation is about dissecting the feedback you receive from customers to ensure you are working on a worthwhile short-term, achievable goal. Decipher and figure out what's really important for your customers and go from there. Incentivise teams within your business to come up with quantifiable goals that can make a change to your customer's experience.
As your business looks to implement change regarding new innovations, make sure your employees have the right tools and time for the job. If your ideas need to go to the IT department or the Chief Data Officer, calculate how long the idea could take before implementing it.
Remember, innovation is about taking calculated risks and implementing change where necessary.
Author: James Cooper
James Cooper is a Content Executive at Parcel2Go, the UK's leading courier comparison website. Parcel2Go works closely with the industry's leading courier services to offer the cheapest parcel delivery prices in the UK.
James is the main contributor and manager for the Content Hub at Parcel2Go.