What are the key outcomes of innovation management?
When people think about the outcomes of innovation, they invariably think about new products and services. What first comes to mind are generally groundbreaking ideas that disrupt the market for good.
But there are numerous outcomes of innovation, all of which are critical for success, especially when faced with commoditization and global competition. Innovations to existing products and services are important, but they are only some of the pieces of a larger puzzle and typically deliver the lowest ROI and the least competitive advantage in the long run.
By leveraging all innovation outcomes, you can uncover new possibilities that increase your value proposition and keep competitors at bay.
What are the key potential outcomes of innovation?
Almost all companies acknowledge the importance of innovation, but most maintain a mistakenly narrow view of it. This myopia prevents organizations from extracting the full potential of innovation, leaving them vulnerable to more learned competitors.
In most industries, more than product development is needed to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. Your innovation strategy must be firing on all cylinders to stay ahead of your competitors and continue delivering value to your customers. Your primary innovation goals—as outlined in The 3 Es Framework—provide a birds-eye view of the areas in which you should be innovating. But what tangible outcomes can you expect from innovation after you start working to enhance, extend and explore simultaneously?
New products and services
New products and services are not the whole sum of innovation, but they are very significant nonetheless. With a collaborative innovation strategy, you can imagine new products that add value to your customers.
Ideas for new offerings can often be found by tapping into the problems of existing but also new customer segments. After all, the needs of your customers are what ultimately guide the product development process. A better understanding of these needs enables you to find problems worth solving and better ways to do so.
Improvements to existing products or services
By improving existing products and services, you're able to improve the quality and value of your existing offerings. You might consider adding distinguishing features and functionality that better meet the needs of your customers.
You can further bolster your current offerings by expanding your network with new partnerships and collaborations. In today's hyper-connected world, a diverse network can enable you to capitalize on the processes, technologies, channels, and brands of other companies faster than your competitors.
These relationships help you tap into previously unreachable territories that increase the value of your current offering.
New or improved business models
The health of your organization rests upon two fundamental pillars: pricing and costs. By exploring new income opportunities, you'll be able to tap into new revenue streams and increase profits.
Successful companies understand what customers cherish, and by following this philosophy, you're able to discover hidden revenue and new pricing opportunities.
Consider how airlines, hotels, and ride-sharing services employ dynamic pricing strategies to capitalize on the changing market or how popular media outlets earn revenue with paywalls. Truly innovative profit models challenge preconceived industry norms.
Other business model innovations might see alterations to the product supply chain. These are sequences of activities that move goods, services, and information from source to delivery.
By streamlining the product supply chain, changing its structure, or enhancing individual participation, it's possible to fine-tune your business model for reduced costs and increased revenue.
Improved product systems
Product systems are the building blocks that constitute your portfolio of products and services. Innovative product systems connect or bundle products and services to create an economical or scalable system.
When performed correctly, organizations can create diverse sets of offerings more quickly and cheaply than stand-alone items. Reducing your number of product variants reduces complexity and its associated costs while adding value for your customer.
By innovating in this area, you're able to manifest uniform guidelines for product development that result in broadened and cost-effective product portfolios.
Improved business structure
Innovations to your business structure and traditional corporate functions such as HR, R&D, and IT departments can reduce costs, increase productivity, attract new talent, and increase your value proposition.
By reallocating your assets—whether they be hard, human, or intangible—you're able to uncover hidden value and reduce fixed costs. It's structural alterations like these that help distance you from your competitors.
Improved corporate processes
Corporate processes include the standard activities and operations performed that produce your primary offerings and form your core competency. It stands to reason, then, that optimizing these daily processes can ensure long-term viability.
Innovating in this area might involve drastic changes to daily proceedings in the pursuit of efficiency and faster cycle times. These changes enable you to adapt quickly, function differently, and use unique capabilities to build market-leading margins.
If successful, streamlined processes enable you to bring new ideas to market more quickly, giving you a valuable edge over competitors.
Improved customer experience
What your customers see, hear, and feel constitutes their experience of your enterprise. When innovating here, think about how you can improve their experience across multiple touchpoints.
You might consider new and improved ways of delivering your product to your customer. As you learn more about your customers, you can identify new points of presence that enable you to expose your product to customers in a unique way.
But the customer journey doesn't end once they've made a purchase. Ideating new ways to improve support for customers both before and after a purchase amplifies the value of your offering and provides a better experience for your customers.
Revealing features and functionality that customers might otherwise overlook, or fixing problems and rough patches in the customer journey, can make your product or service easier to try, use and enjoy.
Improved customer relations
Improving customer relations requires a deep understanding of your customer's aspirations, and these insights help you to create meaningful connections between them and your company.
Finding new ways to refine your brand makes your offering more memorable, fulfilling, and enjoyable. Your brand represents your product or service across multiple touchpoints, including communications, advertising, and service interactions, impacting the perceived value of your product.
A strong brand distills a promise that insights confidence in customers when making a decision. This promise, be it reliability, sustainability, or quality, distinguishes you as a distinct entity, evoking brand loyalty and encouraging customers to choose you over competitors.
Improved employee experience
Involving your employees in your innovation activities is as good for you as it is for them. When you open up innovation to your employees, you involve them in important discussions that have traditionally been available just to higher-ups. By listening to your workforce and taking their suggestions on board, you're demonstrating that their input is valued.
A Gartner survey of over 4,000 employees delivered shocking results about the state of employee satisfaction in the United States. The study found that only 41% of employee respondents believed senior leadership took their best interests into consideration, and only 59% of employees felt valued by their organization.
Innovative people like to be part of innovative organizations. Focusing on employee experience can have a snowball effect.
Involving your employees in a collaborative innovation strategy allows them to make tangible differences in the company and build stronger working relationships with their colleagues. This involvement drives employee engagement and performance. When people feel like their work matters, they're way more likely to perform their best work.
Get innovation results in months, not years
Successful innovation is a result of coordinated and purposeful action. When innovation isn't treated as a dedicated organizational function, the process can quickly fall into disarray, and potential breakthroughs are lost.
InnovationCast is a collaborative innovation management software that allows you to discover unique ideas from an extended network and bring them to life quickly with a tailor-made process.
Game-changing ideas remain to be found. Schedule a demo and start innovating today.