- This article explains the importance of innovation in the business and its different stages.
People often believe that innovation requires something groundbreaking. But that doesn’t always have to be the case.
By definition, innovation is the process of developing and introducing a new, substantially improved, or redesigned product or service. Simply put, something is innovative as long as it adds a new form of value that wasn’t there before.
In this article, you’ll see a quick breakdown of the innovation process. But first, let’s see what makes it such an essential part of business success.
Why Innovation Matters
The most obvious reason a business should innovate is to stay on top of the ever-changing consumer demands. However, innovation brings a variety of other benefits as well.
Building a culture of innovation in your business promotes creativity and engages your team. Employees get a chance to contribute with new ideas, which nurtures a sense of purpose.
Also, innovation is the main way of leveraging globalization to tap into new markets. As markets get interlinked, innovating your offer so that it matches a new target audience can be a fantastic growth opportunity.
Finally, innovation builds and maintains your competitive edge. When many businesses are vying for the attention of the same audience, those who innovate quickly and effectively win.
So what does it take to achieve all these benefits? Let’s take a closer look at the innovation process.
The Five Stages of Innovation
Innovation can take different forms depending on whether you’re selling a product or service. Still, the process can be broken down into five main stages:
Idea Generation and Mobilization
During the generation process, new ideas surface along with the motivation to put them into action. When those ideas get transferred into a new location (like a department or another company), they’re considered mobilized.
Advocacy and Screening
This is where you decide whether the idea is worth pursuing. If the idea shows up at a lower level of the business hierarchy and its creator doesn’t have the skills to advocate for it, management will offer support and pitch the idea to decision-makers.
At this stage, you’ll test the idea not only for its viability, but also its fit for the business at the given time. Oftentimes, experimentation will give birth to new ideas as the specifics get tested out.
Even the best idea won’t succeed unless there’s a market for it. During the commercialization stage, the goal is to create and communicate the idea’s value so that the customers accept it. The product or service doesn’t actually reach the market yet, as this will only happen if commercialization is deemed successful.
Diffusion and Implementation
Once the idea is accepted, it gets diffused throughout the organization. At the same time, implementation provides conditions for the production and distribution of the innovation.
Product or service innovation can be a lengthy and challenging process. That’s why it needs to have the structure you just saw. Without it, you might waste resources on an unmarketable idea.
You should include your entire team in the process and be open to educated opinions. If the idea passes through the stages and is approved by the key people, you can confidently put it out into the market.
You can now understand why businesses put so much focus on innovation. It’s the key ingredient in long-lasting success, so make sure not to overlook it even if you’re happy with your business’ current performance. Complacency should never find its way into your business, as it’s a surefire way to fall behind.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to innovation, just listen to your customers. After all, they know what they expect from your business the best. Understand their needs, meet them through innovation, and your business will stay competitive.
About the Author
Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP, is an international communication consultant, high-performance presentation coach, speaker, and CEO of Experiential. She helps clients establish their executive presence, structure a clear, concise message, and deliver their thoughts and ideas with style, confidence, and authority.