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Evaluate, improve, deliver… Once the evaluation or audit is done, and it has become clear what strengths and weaknesses there are in the current innovation efforts, it is time to improve the current efforts. No matter whether you are a skilled and experienced innovator or a new beginner, there is always room for improvement.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses as it relates to the 10 imperatives of Robert’s rules of innovation enables you to study tips, best practices and next practices for each of the individual imperatives. Each imperative requires continuous reinforcement and improvement to deliver the maximum output in innovation. For only, if a holistic or “total innovation” approach is being implemented will a company or organization succeeds in creating sustainable innovation.
I am still amazed at the number of anecdotes about organizations looking for a “quick fix” to their business growth woes. I know I shouldn’t be surprised…you won’t believe the number of prospective clients I have that contact me looking for a “one-time shot” at getting something new out in the marketplace. Too many business leaders have become incredibly short-sighted. Wall Street doesn’t help the matter with the “what have you done for me this quarter” view of the world. And cost cutting/containment will only take you so far when looking to affect the bottom line over the long term. Eventually you need growth. Growth comes from sales. Sales come from offering something that someone wants to buy.
Sure, you can develop a one-time only process that develops a new product or service. You can ride that new product or service until your competition comes up with something better. You can hope that customer needs and wants don’t change faster than you can develop each new product. You can even choose to simply react to shifting market trends or competitor threats. You can be what’s known as a “fast follower.”
What a waste of opportunity! Organizations who follow best practices are just that…followers. On the other hand, organizations who create next practices are the leaders that others follow. They don’t just develop “one off” products or services…they develop a string of products and services tailored to meet evolving customer needs. They don’t react…they anticipate! They don’t plan for the future…they create the future!
So how do you become an organization that seeks to be innovative on a continuous basis? What are the steps that keep a constant flow of ideas entering the product development funnel, while also making sure that the best ideas survive to see the light of day at the other end? What are the key capabilities, processes and people that feed this continuous loop of innovation?
“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle” – Napoleon Hill