If you want to learn more about what sort of innovation you could be developing in your company but don’t really know where to start, I highly recommend the following:
- Ask your key suppliers to come in and brief you on trends and innovation in their industry. When I ran a contract manufacturer of bath and beauty products, we regularly had suppliers of packaging, fragrance and raw materials come and present to us. We then shared these insights with our clients in terms of how we could then take end to end product development innovation to them. If your suppliers are part of a global group, or regularly attend international industry conferences, they will be best equipped to provide such briefings to you.
- Take the time to do some research into the leading companies, that are most relevant to your business, in the areas of technology, data mining and internet marketing. These three areas will be applicable to most companies and innovation in these spaces moves fast. If you don’t currently work with these companies they may provide a briefing for a fee, or alternatively have in-house briefing sessions on a regular basis that you could attend. Staying in touch with what is happening and possible is vital for sustainability and growth.
- Talk to your clients and customers. I have often referred to the importance of engaging with clients to get their feedback. When structured the right way they will provide very specific information on how you could make improvements and innovations in what you do to add more value to your clients.
If you had a board, these are activities they will be doing as a matter of course. Innovation is essential for all companies and the speed it is happening now means we need smarter ways of keeping across potential opportunities. These three are relatively easy to implement and very worthwhile.