Why is everybody talking about innovation?
In today's corporate climate, commercial companies experience blinding success and crushing defeat. Non-profit organizations often have to deal with big problems at scale and seek alternative ways to do so.
The processes, tools, and technologies companies use to execute their business model don't seem good enough to bring about change that matters and lasts.
But there's a bigger component that determines companies' long- and short-term prosperity today: innovation.
As the importance of innovation increases, companies continually work to improve their innovation capabilities as they set to take their strategies and skills to the next level.
To understand why everybody's talking about innovation, let's dive deeper into the importance of innovation and what you stand to gain by making it a priority.
Why do organizations need to innovate?
Business strategy consultant Strategyzer captured the key challenge surrounding business and innovation really well: business models expire just like yogurts. Failing to innovate is no longer optional for the long-term viability of all sectors and organizations. In fact, the inevitable progression of your competitors presents a simple ultimatum: innovate or fail.
Innovation provides vital short and long-term prosperity to your company, workforce, customers, investors, and stakeholders. It's also necessary for improving performance, developing competencies, and exploring our human potential to stay relevant. It is critical to help provide lasting value to our customers.
Most organizations encounter tough challenges daily. The extent and variability of which would be impossible to discuss in detail here, but we are quite sure this resonates. Regardless of the difficulties, the most effective way to overcome them is with coordinated and purposeful innovation.
Now that we've looked into the importance of innovation, what do you stand to gain from it, and what framework can best help you achieve your innovation goals? We've got you covered.
Where should you be focusing your innovation efforts on?
Successful companies don't just innovate over and over again in the same space. To get the most out of innovation, your strategy must consider several dimensions. As innovation has become an increasingly hot topic, so have the theories about what it actually entails. Frameworks are used to categorize the different areas of your business that could benefit from innovation.
The 3 Es Framework: Enhance. Extend. Explore.
The 3 Es Framework (Enhance, Extend, and Explore) is a useful way to break down your core innovation goals. With this framework, you're able to better understand which areas of your organization benefit from innovation and the steps you must take to get there.
Enhance: Improving what you're already doing
The Enhance domain is about doing what you're already doing but improving it. By continually re-evaluating existing processes, you can identify opportunities to improve them and make them more efficient. Changes here are often gradual but can compound to great effect over time.
Your frontline workforce is an excellent source of ideas because they can elucidate most issues they regularly encounter. They face friction on a day-to-day basis and are often forced to overcome issues alone. By including them in the innovation process, you can quickly identify high-priority issues and opportunities that surface by being in touch with customers.
Enhancement is one of the simplest forms of innovation because you're just trying to make small changes to things you're already familiar with.
Extend: Developing emerging opportunities
As opposed to improving things you're familiar with, the Extend domain is all about focusing on new things to do. We're talking about things like exploring a new or adjacent market or testing a new business model. Developing emerging opportunities and adding value is essential to avoid becoming trapped in a perpetual improvement model that stunts long-term growth. As someone said, the light bulb did not come from continuously improving the candle.
To extend, you need to constantly search for emerging opportunities that will guide your future innovation activities and help you to reach your goals. This domain is about keeping your finger on the pulse, reacting quickly, and innovating solutions that benefit your audience.
Inspiration can be found by opening your innovation network to customers, partners, and employees while monitoring new technologies and initiatives occurring both inside and outside your industry. Ideas that transpire from these sources are usually more novel and take longer to come to life.
Explore: Creating viable options for the future
The future will always be ambiguous and uncertain in some way. But that doesn't mean you can't prepare for it. It's so easy to become consumed by our current vision of the world that we often forget to prepare for inevitable changes.
Even companies that were once masters of their craft fell victim to sudden market and societal changes. Consider the likes of Nokia, Kodak, Blackberry, and Xerox, for example. These companies, once pioneers and industry leaders, suddenly lost their magic because they neglected explorative innovation.
That's why you must start planting seeds for the future. Today.
By opening a collaborative dialogue for future innovation, you'll be able to stay relevant and acquire new knowledge that ensures longevity. The ideas you gather for explorative innovation will be far-reaching and sometimes even disconnected from your core offerings. This makes validating them difficult as they extend beyond the reaches of familiar territory.
You'll need to be open to creative suggestions and conduct quick and small experiments to pioneer new approaches. Some ideas might be at odds with your current strategy, making it especially important to decipher which ones are coherent and have the potential to produce long-term results. And that makes sense since the relationship between strategy and innovation shouldn't be one-way only. Innovation can help you realize your strategy. But it can also help you find new, unforeseeable things that can shape your strategy too.
Ideas for the future can be found in the most unlikely places, so you'll need to search for inspiration in an expansive network actively. After compiling a selection of promising ideas, you can start to analyze the underlying assumptions and question their potential before making them a reality. In this domain, investing too much and too soon can lead to significant waste, as most of the ideas won't deliver the envisioned value.
Testing new concepts like these can be difficult because the necessary data doesn't yet exist. As a result, you're forced to experiment and build a bank of evidence to keep moving forward with more confidence.
Nevertheless, exploring the future is essential for staying relevant and providing value to your customers in the long term.
Successful companies enhance, extend and explore simultaneously
When companies combine all the domains of the 3 Es Framework, they secure long-term viability for themselves by improving their existing offerings and leveraging new opportunities. If you can make these activities work in unison, your organization will comfortably stay ahead by offering consistent value to customers today and tomorrow.
Start reaching your innovation goals today
You must innovate to stay relevant in your industry and outpace the competition. But doing so without a dedicated innovation management system in place is convoluted and intimidating.
InnovationCast is a collaborative innovation management software that helps companies engage people to co-create ideas and bring them to life. Our easy-to-use, systematic process enables you to implement great ideas quickly and easily. And because your needs are unique, our software is 100% customizable.
If you're ready to accelerate your innovation potential today, simply get in touch to schedule a demo.