12 Awesome Ways To Get Innovating.

  1. Copy someone else’s idea. One of the best ways to innovate is to pinch an idea that works elsewhere and apply it in your business. Henry Ford saw the production line working in a meat packing plant and then applied to the automobile industry thereby dramatically reducing assembly times and costs.
  2. Ask customers. If you simply ask your customers how you could improve your product or service they will give you plenty of ideas for incremental innovations. Typically they will ask for new features or that you make your product cheaper, faster, easier to use, available in different styles and colours etc. Listen to these requests carefully and choose the ones that will really pay back.
  3. Observe customers. Do not just ask them, watch them. Try to see how customers use your products. Do they use them in new ways? This was what Levi Strauss saw when they found that customers ripped the jeans – so they brought a line of pre-ripped jeans. Heinz noticed that people stored their sauce jars upside down so they designed an upside down bottle
  4. Combine. Combine your product with something else to make something new. It works at all levels. Think of a suitcase with wheels, or a mobile phone with a camera or a flight with a massage.
  5. Eliminate. What could you take out of your product or service to make it better? Dell eliminated the computer store, Amazon eliminated the bookstore, the Sony Walkman eliminated speakers and record functions.
  6. Plan. Include targets for new products and services in your business plan. Put it onto the balanced scorecard. Write innovation into everyone’s objectives. Measure it and it will happen.
  7. Collaborate. Work with another company who can take you to places you can’t go. Choose a partner with a similar philosophy but different skills. That is what Mercedes did with Swatch when they came up with the Smart car.
  8. Minimize or maximize. Take something that is standard in the industry and minimise or maximise it. Ryanair minimized price and customer service. Starbucks maximised price and customer experience. It is better to be different than to be better.
  9. Ask – what if? Do some lateral thinking by asking what if…..? Challenge every boundary and assumption that applies in your field. You and your group will come up with amazing ideas once the normal constraints are lifted.
  10. Watch the competition. Do not slavishly follow the competition but watch them intelligently. The small guys are often the most innovative so see if you can adapt or license one of their ideas – or even buy the company!
  11. Adapt a product to a new use. Find an entirely different application for an existing product. De Beers produced industrial diamonds but found a new use for diamonds when they introduced the concept of engagement rings. It opened up a large new market for them.
  12. Go back in time. Look back at methods and services that were used in your sector years ago but have now fallen out of use. Can you bring one back in a new updated form? It has been said that Speed Dating is really a relaunch of a Victorian dance format where ladies had cards marked with appointments.

Remember to check out the Innovation Summit, happening from today in CT. www.innovationsummit.co.za

 

Curated for the DI from a list by Paul Sloane, originally posted here