A Virtual World of Live Pictures.

Keep in mind that this is much easier said than done. Although organizations might gain a leadership position momentarily, maintaining it consistently is much more difficult to achieve. Furthermore, no company should wait to launch an innovation expecting the market to reward them with sustained growth and success. Instead, companies must continue with a series of radical innovations capable of leading the market.

To me, many entrepreneurs don’t realize that how they innovate will determine what they innovate. Rather than leave the success of their innovations to chance, executives must use a combination of effective strategies based on fundamental rules.

With this in mind, I’d like to share with you the interdependent rules of innovation that will help you redefine your industry:

Rule #1 – Strong Leadership

Innovative companies have strong leadership, period. To illustrate, just look at Apple and how Steve Jobs changed the company when he came back with creative innovations like the iPhone and iPad that changed our world. As Jobs passed away, Apple appears to be getting worse under the leadership of Tim Cook and his last two iPhone 5 (C+S) launches yesterday failed to appeal to the market, sending stock prices down ~5.8%. Therefore, it is imperative that your organization exercises strong leadership on innovation strategies, including portfolio decisions. Remember, clear instructions from the top of the organization permeate the entire company to motivate, support, and reward innovation.

Rule #2: Integrate innovation into business models

Successful organizations embed innovation into their mindset and business models. These entities live and breathe innovation and ensure that it is an integral part of the way a company operates on a daily basis. By incorporating innovation into business models, including research and development (R&D) and new product development, entrepreneurs will increase their chances of innovative success for years to come. Remember the adage… out of sight, out of mind? Well, that’s right, so keep innovation in your sight at all times as you work to achieve organizational goals and objectives!

Rule #3: Determine the innovation needed for your business

Each business must determine the amount, including the type, of innovation needed to achieve the company’s mission and vision. While innovation is the foundation of long-term success, it is not necessarily required at all times depending on competition, market situation, product life cycle (PLC), timing of latest innovation, and business strategy. Keep in mind that more innovation is not necessarily better. Therefore, entrepreneurs must determine the amount and type of innovation required that aligns with their overall business strategies and resources.

Rule #4: Balance creativity with value

To be successful, companies must be creative and offer value. This means developing creative innovations that continuously deliver value to stakeholders. The more creative and beneficial the product or service is, the better it will perform in the marketplace. So how do you balance the natural tension of creativity and courage? Remember that too much emphasis on value could stifle the creative process, and vice versa. It begins by developing a balanced and structured creative process capable of determining which management practices act as a creative stimulus and which practices hinder it. Once determined, you could use those management practices to design creative, value-packed products and services.

Rule #5: Neutralize Threats

Entrepreneurs must also be aware of the many threats facing an organization’s innovation capabilities. Here is a list of some of the common threats to innovation that need to be neutralized and addressed:

  • Senior managers who are complacent and resistant to change.
  • Opposition from others because it is a radical innovation that goes against the status quo.
  • Organizational culture without courage to change, explore and innovate due to leadership in the company.

As we know, innovation requires change. Therefore, companies must not only neutralize threats, but also foster an innovation-friendly organizational culture that continually questions assumptions and seeks alternatives to improve the overall business.

Rule #6 – Build networks

One of the main bases of innovation is the creation of networks with people inside and outside the organization. By doing so, you will not only gain a network of insights crucial for continuous improvements, but also strong partnerships that could help you achieve your innovations. For example, employees could help you improve business models; customer feedback could help you improve the products or services offered; Other companies could help you innovate and optimize your business and your distribution channels. Remember, successful organizations are very effective at building networks and using a wide range of resources to achieve capital gains, goals, and objectives. You don’t have to take my word for it… just look at all the acquisitions and mergers lately!

Rule #7: Setting Up the Metrics and Rewards System for Innovations

To ensure innovation success, organizations must also embed systems that properly measure, motivate, and reward creative people. Whether positive or negative, everyone reacts to stimuli and your organization’s innovation is no exception. In essence, you will never achieve your innovative goals if people aren’t adequately rewarded for their efforts.

So do your best to create a carefully designed system that not only measures the success of innovations, but also rewards innovators with incentives for their hard work. Failure to do so would ultimately result in a grim environment that lacks motivation, innovation, and a structured process to guide the development of ideas and concepts.

So why did I mention strong leadership as the #1 rule while metrics and rewards were the ultimate rule of thumb for innovation? The answer is simple. Innovation requires change and that starts with the leadership of the organization. In terms of metrics and rewards, it comes last because it helps close the loop, measure innovation results, and provides motivation for the remaining rules.

In the end, Steve Jobs summed it up best when he said that “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” By embracing innovation and incorporating it into the company mindset and overall business strategy, organizations could not only become leaders and redefine their industry, but also create new ones where the rules are in their favor. While the innovation process is unique to each company, what remains constant are the 7 rules listed above. So follow these guidelines to become a leader in your industry and start innovating today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *