September 19, 2007
Practical Innovation

Does innovation have to be arcane, esoteric and out of the box? We think not. Let's take a look at innovation as applied to a practical business situation: defining, re-defining, re-inventing, exploring and enhancing markets.

All businesses must be current on the various facets and complexities of their markets. Some would say this is more clearly defined as a chore, something to be done on a regular basis by left-brained employees who have a research/statistical/analytical bent.

Not so fast. Let's take another look this "chore." If we approach the reality of our market in a dynamic and innovative fashion, we might find that the entire equation requires consideration of the following:

1. Knowing our Market
2. Knowing our Product
3. Knowing how our Product is satisfying our Market's appetites
4. Communicating 3 and 2 to 1

Practical, applied innovation is really about taking a meta view of entire processes and looking for either synergistic or symbiotic relationships. In this example, innovation is as much about a point of view as it is about "new" ideas. Understanding and responding to the reality that markets foster products and that products can shape markets prompts us to energetically and innovatively dive into the whole process, as opposed to periodically doing an analysis that will make no new assumptions and probably gather dust while our whole world (and market) is dynamically morphing around us.

It is also about the notion that innovation is not to be exercised by only a select few who are deemed "gifted" in the art of seeing things that other mere mortals can't. Quite the opposite. All employees should be given the opportunity to express their innovative thoughts. The organization will benefit exponentially. What's required are leaders who create an atmosphere and environment where all employees are presumed to be capable of innovative, creative thought. Foster that environment and get ready to be very pleasantly surprised, maybe even astounded, by the results.

Innovation, don't show up without it.

Posted by at September 19, 2007 12:14 PM

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