“Innovators – the truly courageous business people”
I am going to open this article by acknowledging the fear that many business owners and operators have surrounding the process of innovation.
I acknowledge it and I understand why it exists.
In fact I will even list for you the biggest barriers to innovation, which are presenting even more challenges to you the business owner, deterring you further from the innovation process.
Though while I will present you with this hardline evidence that suggests innovation is hard and an uphill battle for most businesses, I will also highlight why innovation works, why it is necessary, and why you need to be innovating now.
Currently, 38 per cent of new business ideas generated by potential innovators and entrepreneurs never make it past that – an idea – because the creator themself fears the barriers to innovation.
Atop the list of reasons why businesses chose not to innovate is a lack of funds, closely followed by a lack of skilled personnel, a lack of knowledge and uncertainty in demand for the innovation.
Other barriers forcing businesses to steer clear of innovating their offerings include changes in the economy, globalisation, changing consumer needs, rapid growth of technology and increased competition.
Reasons To, not, Barriers to Overcome
Yet, I see all of these as reasons to innovate, not reasons to avoid the generation of business ideas.
When innovating can be used to harness the rapid growth of technology, can directly address and meet consumer needs and is one of the strongest forms of competitive advantage, why wouldn’t you choose to innovate?
It has been proven that innovative organisations are consistently outperforming their competition, as a direct result of understanding what the consumer needs and differentiating their processes and offerings to match what the market is looking for.
Still believe the barriers to new business ideas are too big to overcome, and the obstacles a little too high for you to clear?
Then begin the innovation process with the customer at the centre of your focus, or even by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.
Now ask yourself, “what problem am I trying to solve for the customer?”
If you are able to recognise an issue facing the consumer how can you, as a business owner, continue to operate in the same manner, knowing that your customers are having problems with the current situation?
At this point there should be a little light bulb click on in your head. This is the time when you recognise the significance of innovation.
Though there are obstacles ahead of you as you face the journey of innovating, stop for a minute and think, “do I have a good solution that can solve my customer’s issues?” If you answered yes, then pushing through the barriers and overcoming the challenges, while unavoidable, is necessary to see you develop new business ideas and ultimately achieve competitive advantage.
But I’m not an “Ideas Man”
Do you believe that lack of funds would have stopped Steve Jobs when he was about to invent to iPod? Or would competition, technology, unskilled personnel or any other potential excuse off the aforementioned list of challenges, have stopped the McDonald’s franchise model being built? We’re they just lucky?
What is it that enables some business leaders to push through these barriers while others struggle? It is perceived that some of us are simply gifted with the ability to continuously generate new business ideas. An “Ideas Man”, you might say. But what about the rest of us?
Well I believe that new business ideas generation is not just for the gifted few. It is in fact a learned process. Like any new skill, it is destined to be unfamiliar and awkward at first, but once you put the basics of innovation process in place, ideas generation will start to become a naturally occurring resource in your business.
A Way Forward
If you believe your new business idea or innovation has legs, don’t fall victim to the fear of innovating, and don’t become part of the 38 per cent of new business ideas that never become any more than simply an idea on a piece of paper.
Be prepared to challenge the dogma and the view of those who lack faith in your idea, and start the innovation process; you never know, your entrepreneurship may just see you become the next Steve Jobs or Richard Branson.
Next Article we begin to unpack what is Innovation Process and how you implement it into your business.
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