When you think of innovation, what comes to mind? If you’re like many out there, innovation always comes in terms of products, like the next great smartphone app, or even the latest and greatest smartphone itself. So many businesses base their business models around always pushing forward with innovative products and, for the most part, this is a good thing.
After all, in the world of technology, the winner of the race to the next big thing is normally the one who makes the big bucks. But, there is a major problem with this mindset that innovation can only be found within the product. Many companies out there, while trying to create that next big thing, ignore the other aspects of being innovative as a business. They only go for the gold, trying to out-innovate the products of their competitors, and it has come to the point that innovation often takes on the guise of simple novelty.
The game industry is a perfect representation of this. In 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy which boasted the first “truly 3D graphics for a video game console”. And yet, due to major missteps in marketing and production, the creation failed, costing Nintendo millions. The Video Game Industry, as well as most industries, is littered with failed “innovations” such as this one, and yet companies continually go the same route, losing money in the process. With this in mind, I ask one question; why make the next big innovative product when you can find a smarter, more innovative way to produce a product you already create?
Innovation at All Levels
Innovation can come in all forms, but something that’s being missed today is that companies aren’t looking for smarter ways to do things anymore; they are only looking for smarter products. But, in order to be a successful business—particularly in one that is already entrenched in its customer base and product offerings—one needs to innovate at all levels, not just the final one.
A good case study in this would be the massive success of A.J Forsythe’s iPhone Repair Service, iCracked, which takes a process that was previously too expensive or downright impossible—the process of fixing your iPhone’s broken screen—and streamlines it. With a simple idea that required simple simplification of an already existing service—and no gimmicky/innovative “products”—he was able to make millions, displaying the power of innovation at all levels, instead of just the product.
Company Processes need Progression as Well
But, even if you are already a company with defined products, you must understand that innovation can be found elsewhere, besides the final product. Whether you find a way to streamline the creation of your own product, or you creatively cut costs without reducing production or quality, great ideas can be found pretty much at any stage of the product creation process. There are so many things you can do to make your company more streamlined, efficient, and more profitable that, oftentimes, it’s complete folly to risk creating a product that, though innovative, has little market value and extreme “bomb” potential. This is especially true for small businesses that don’t have the revenue to swallow a massive failure, like many large companies possess.
All you have to remember is that innovation doesn’t always mean a brand new idea; sometimes, it’s innovative to use an idea that has already been thought up to better your company in a creative way. If you keep this in mind, you will certainly be in a better place to make sure your company can continue to deliver profit in the future.
Tyler Fleck is a multi-purpose blogger who enjoys writing about business and innovation. He also wrote this blog on the behalf of Insight Analytics, offering small business solutions to make office life that much easier. Visit their website for more information about how to use Excel Visual Basic to improve your business practices.