The ability to innovate is now a top priority for companies everywhere. The speed at which innovation occurs is accelerating, and consumers are hungry for the new products, services and experiences coming their way.
But the economic climate still presents considerable challenges. Most companies have seen their budgets squeezed as a result of cost pressures. And game-changing innovation isn’t safe; it requires vision, courage and long-term commitment.
The scope of innovation has also expanded. It’s no longer just a case of pushing products out of labs but, rather, of creating value for customers by personalising the entire customer experience. So forging an organisational culture that promotes innovation, getting closer to customers to find out what they really want and directing your innovation accordingly, is more important than ever.
The most innovative companies are creating new business models and combining related products and services to form new solutions, as well as developing new products and services. In fact, they don’t think in terms of products and services so much as outcomes, because they recognise that products and services are simply a means to an end.
The top innovators also treat innovation like any other business process. They define the sort of innovation they want and how to measure it. Then they establish a disciplined R&D structure, with rigorous processes that can be reiterated and scaled up. In effect, they encourage innovation that’s both radical and methodical.
But these companies don’t try to do everything themselves. On the contrary, they collaborate extensively with a wide range of partners both inside and outside their industries. They co-create new products and services with customers. And they experiment with different ways of innovating, such as open innovation and incubation.
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