All thriving and successful businesses have one thing in common: they remain innovative, create new things, come up with new ideas, branding and products over and over again. They never go out of style, they don’t only follow the current trends but they make the way, getting ahead of everyone else on what’s next.
It would be naive to believe that remaining the same in an ever changing society will lead you to success. As generations change, people’s taste, what calls their attention or the way they interact changes. All these aspects lead businesses to develop new ideas, products and methods that will ultimately improve the customer’s experience and lead the organisation to a whole other level.
So if you own a business or even if you are a worker in an organisation, why not take the time in 2016 to get your brave on and come up with something fresh? Here are some tips that will help
1.Steal with Style
Who said all the ideas have to be your own? By this, I don’t mean that you should steal other people’s ideas but what I do mean is that inspiration can be found anywhere, and once you find it creativity will lead you to “Steal with style” and develop a whole new idea.
Humans do not have the capacity to create something out of nothing, inspiration is always sparked by something else, or someone else, then the creative process starts and changes and improvements are added to the original idea.
Have you ever had a thought about the fashion industry? What once was a simple white blouse now is sold as a white blouse with different texture and movement, different shapes and sizes, then colours are added and combined, until you get the most extravagant product that started as a simple white blouse. Later on, different ideas for the type of fabric, shape, colours and image were combined and that is how little pieces taken from somewhere else formed something unique.
2. Learn from your customers
A Pastor once said that the most important thing when preaching is reading your audience, recognising where they are at, what they need and in a way what they want. If you fail to learn the language of your audience they will not understand what you mean, if you fail to recognise where they are at spiritually, you can waste your time talking about something that finds no useful application whatsoever in their world.
It is the same with business, you need to invest the time in knowing what your customers need and like. It is from that research that you will gain the experience and get to a point where you can literally predict what the next need or trend will be.
3. Learn from the best
I believe Apple is one of the leading companies that you can learn a lot from, they are the best at staying innovative and never cease to improve and create new things. If you take the time to have a look at the methods of those leading companies and the way they develop their products, the way they deal with feedback both positive and negative and the way they do customer service, you might find your next great idea for the year.
If you have the chance , also spend some time with people who have more experience than you on the field, ask questions and listen to their stories, wins and fails. The best way to learn is from someone else’s mistakes, even though you will also learn from yours.
4. Learn to think not just do
When I did my internship with stage design, I was struggling to understand the requests of my oversight, I tried to reproduce what I did in a certain situation that worked and apply it to another context. To me it was obvious that it would work, but it didn’t and I ended up frustrated. Copying what someone else does and trying to reproduce it in your context is one of the most common mistakes in business. The problem lays on the fact that the method is not the ultimate ingredient but the way of thinking that led to the method.
The advice that one of my colleagues gave me at the time was “Do not copy what your leader does but learn to think how she thinks”. It is the thinking process, in the midst of problem solving and brainstorming that will lead you to develop an accurate method for your context. Therefore learn from the greatest companies, but not just what they do, but the way they think.
5. Work as a team
This will be the cornerstone for your innovation plan in 2016, great ideas are found together, when many great minds are combined and interact with each other. Don’t struggle to find the next great idea yourself, but bounce of each other and make the most out of the amazing team that you have around you, the best idea always comes from the most unexpected place in the most unexpected moment. Give your team some time to get inspired and communicate where you want to go as a company, you may get ideas that might not work now but will become useful in the future.
What else could you do to stay innovative in 2016?