At RevelX, we love innovation. It is inspiring and contributes to society’s well-being. Moreover, innovation is crucial to your future success as an organization. Below, I will tell you why.

“Innovation” is a very popular word in government and business circles nowadays. The problem is, sometimes it is just a buzzword. Real innovation is more than attending a congress or a roundtable. It is about embracing real change and new opportunities, because your future may depend on it. Below I will tell you why innovation is the lifeline of every modern firm.

1. Not only for tomorrow, but even for today

Most executives regard innovation as something important for the longer term, as innovations usually take quite some time to develop and to lead to additional results. But… at the basis of bringing a steady flow of innovations to the market is being an innovative organisation.

And in these times, being an innovative organisation can make the difference between staying alive or going down on the very short term. In very recent times we have seen that truly innovative organisations are much more adaptive to unforeseen external circumstances. It’s the truly innovative and adaptive organisation that have been able to adjust their way of working end sometimes even their business models to kee themselves alive in unprecedentedly challenging times.

So, being a truly innovation organisation may pay off a lot sooner than you may think.

2. Market Disruptions: Are you the Disrupter or the Disrupted?

You don’t want the competition to take the juiciest parts of your market. That is why you have to be proactive and see new opportunities before others do. How do you do this? The answer is as simple as it is complex. You have to find the unfulfilled wishes of consumers — even if they haven’t noticed them yet. A great way to accomplish this is analysing your user data.

The story has been told many times before, but the Instagram success story is probably the best example of user data which result in value. Starting as a location-based social network called Burbn, the app was well-received. Attracting new users was much harder though. Looking into the user data, developers found out Burbn was mostly used for sharing photography. So, the app was stripped of most of its extraneous features, and the rest is history…

3. Changing Customer Demands: #failure Versus #innovation

Because customers are well informed about almost everything through their smartphones and social media, customer expectations are getting higher and higher. Make one mistake, and the customer will choose an alternative, your competition. Nowadays, failure is just a hashtag away.

In this new reality, making a great product is not good enough. You have to know how to address the consumers by understanding their needs and finding ways to share their positive feedback with the world. Without an innovative approach to your customer data, the perfection of consumer feedback loops, and real customer-centricity, you are in a tough spot.

4. Changing Workforce: It’s All About New Skills

Experienced baby boomers are continuing to retire. At the same time, the world we are living in is becoming more complex every year, and simple tasks are automated more and more frequently. Finding and maintaining skilled employees can and will continue to be a real challenge.

Because today’s education barely meets the high demands of the future, the question arises as to how to help young people fit the high demands of tomorrow’s workplace. In-company education and sharing of knowledge will be key. Internal innovation incubators will combine the goals of knowledge transfer, learning new skills, and innovation. Google, 3M, and Adobe all do this, and so can you!

5. Globalization: Future Opportunities without Borders

As national boundaries are becoming less important, the global competition will increase. But globalization is a two-way street. New markets will be open for you, and this creates new opportunities!

This comes with a price though; you have to find and conquer these new markets. This difficult task can be accomplished by your classic R&D department, but more and more often, futurists become a part of development teams. Some of them have amazing ideas!

6. Faster Growth: Innovation = Sales

Innovation pays off. Of course, there are amazing success stories of inventions like Swiffer that has been very profitable for Procter & Gamble. But there is also more general data: according to Bain, companies that perform well in innovation initiatives grow 84% faster than those who do not.

And just look at the Forbes’ ranking of the world’s most innovative companies. It is proof there is a positive correlation between innovation and sales growth. I hope these numbers make you think.

7. Inspire Your Customers: The Elon Musk Factor

Everyone loves Elon Musk because his crazy ideas are new, fresh, and inspiring! Going to Mars? Sending a car into space? Manufacturing a flamethrower? He just does it.

Growing organizations such as Tesla are loved by their customers, their employees and other stakeholders. They breed confidence and positive atmosphere and contribute more to society and well-being than non-growers. Take a page out of the Tesla playbook and become an innovator just because you can!

Do You Want to Innovate?

So, innovation is about survival, but it is about inspiration, and profitability too! I recommend that you begin to adopt an innovation mindset. Today! Just begin asking yourselves these questions:

  • Do you have your eye on the ball? Free time and money in your organization to study possible market disruptions, and how to deal with them. To get started, form a growth team or talk with an expert.
  • In what ways are your customers changing the way they use your product? What does this tell you about their needs and wishes? Take action to fulfill these wishes.
  • Are you dependent on some experienced employees who know everything that happens in your business? Ask them to share their know-how and start a program to incubate new ideas.
  • Are you doing just “okay” in your market? That is really not good enough. Find ways to expand and counter competition from firms around the globe.
  • Do you have a wild and crazy idea? Great! Start to do something with it!

We’ve discussed here why it’s important to innovate, now learn how you can become the innovator in your industry in this article.