Who is Integrated Strategies?

October 5, 2007

Scaling Innovation

Innovation is one of the fundamentals to making any business successful. It keeps a company on the leading edge of their industry and improves customer service, employee satisfaction, and profitability. Unfortunately, the current trend in innovation for most companies is to go for the long ball and try to come up with the idea that opens a brand new market or puts them 10 years ahead of their competitors.

I was reading a post over at Perspective 2.0 discussing what innovation is meant to be. Niti makes a good point about innovation and what value really is. Value in innovation is not about being big and flashy, it is about simplicity and functionality. Take a look at the common everyday toaster. For the longest time it was a two slice of bread product. Someone took a look at it and how they used it and decided that a four slice version would make their life easier. It took off and the four slice models are now more common than what used to be the norm. It wasn't a flashy change and it certainly wasn't sexy, but it made people's lives easier.

Our company recently rolled out an Innovation program to get everyone involved in improving the business. One of the focuses is on simple changes like changing the way files are organized on the network, making minor changes to invoices to make them clearer or easier to work with, or new ways to increase communication across departments. Those definitely aren't the things you think of when it comes to an innovation program, but shouldn't they be? These ideas are the ones that cost almost nothing to implement, are easy to put in place, make people's lives easier and make the company more effective and possibly more profitable. Home run ideas often have immediate capital cost, time investment, sales cycle and no guarantee of success. That's not saying don't go the the home runs, but don't forget about the little things you have to deal with everyday.

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