New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for individuals to get in shape or quit a vice. The fresh start that comes with a new year offers businesses an opportunity to take a look at their daily operations to see what works and what could be better. Innovation is one area that most businesses would love to improve — to figure out what their consumers need and give it to them best. Learn to approach innovation differently this year, and it may be your company’s best year yet.
Hire a Professional Speaker
Hire a professional expert speaker early in the year to discuss ideas about innovation. An expert will have experience with innovation across multiple industries and will know the trends that work, as well as the up-and-coming techniques courageous businesses may want to risk. A professional speaker will open and lead a discussion about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to your company’s approach to innovation. He or she will be able to provide his or her expert opinion.
Meet With All Departments
After everyone’s had a chance to discuss innovation with the professional speaker, hold regular meetings with representatives from all departments. Every employee and every department has a role to play in a company’s innovation, so it’s important that they review how they can best contribute to the design team’s efforts. For example:
- The marketing team can introduce new products or services to consumers and build anticipation.
- The IT team can ensure the design team has the best tools to make their job easier.
- The administration team can maintain day-to-day business operations so the design team can focus on their tasks.
- The HR department can ensure every employee has a work environment conducive to innovation and productivity.
The first meeting should focus on how to adjust current efforts according to what they learned about innovation from the professional speaker, with subsequent meetings reviewing how well the new efforts are working.
Improve Business Intelligence Data Collection
You can’t design to the future — i.e., think of a product or service consumers will need in the future – without being fairly confident of what the future holds. Business intelligence is central not only to monitoring current consumer trends and feedback of released products and services but also to predicting what consumers want or need in the future.
The accuracy of your company’s business intelligence data collection impacts your chances of creating products or services that will sell. Update your software and look into alternative avenues of collecting consumer feedback, such as observing what consumers are saying about your company to one another on social media. Take a look at what they’re saying about your competitors as well.
Too many businesses sweep failure under the rug, or even worse, make an example of employees they think responsible for failures, effectively scaring employees and discouraging them from taking risks if there’s a good chance it may result in failure. The Harvard Business Review suggests defining “smart failures” and rewarding those failures instead of focusing on the fact that the business didn’t succeed.
For example, your design team may come up with a product into which your marketing team puts immense effort, and you launch the product hoping it’ll make a big splash. Instead, it fizzles. In lieu of pointing fingers, celebrate what was done right. The product may not have been the hit you projected, but if the design and launch was well-planned, it was a “smart failure.” Both the design team and the marketing team will learn from this miss and can apply those lessons to the next product launch.
Whether your business has had a good year or a bad year, next year could be its best. When you approach innovation from a new point of view, your company can make the most out of even what seem like mistakes. With the help of a professional speaker, your business will become an environment where innovation flourishes.
About the Author: Jennifer Stinson is a business consultant. She relies on Leading Authorities for professional speaking engagements for her company. Leading Authorities is a world class speakers bureau with experts on various subjects.