Innovation is not only something that is super new and unmeasurable, but it is the improvement of something that exists and making it better
When we are talking about innovation, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Technology, Sales, NFT, Accelerator, Hackathons, Blockchain.
It is hard to think about one specific thing when thinking about innovation. It somehow evolves its meaning to everything and nothing simultaneously, and more often than not, it costs a lot of money.
So what is innovation?
A recent study by Delloite shared that innovation is not only wholly new; successful innovation must be both new (but not necessarily new-to-world) and improved (as measured financially).
So, in other words, innovation is not only super new and unmeasurable, but in fact, it’s the improvement of something that exists and making it better.
“Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.” – said Tom Freston, Co-founder of MTV.
Why innovation is important, and how to unlock it?
When you see history through the ages, we can see that innovation has come in waves and is, in fact, directly responsible for massive economic growth and value creation in its time.
Starting from the investigation of steam engines and the first industrial revolutions to mobile phones and social media. Founders need to understand these general trends to capture the first waves of opportunities that come with innovation.
Then, the next question is how do we unlock those tremendous opportunities. Stay ahead in the game and create the proper strategy to accelerate other new innovative ways and market entry strategies for your company.
Five general tips to plan your innovation initiatives:
- Start with demands: A study showed that demand-driven innovative initiatives in which efforts are focused on identified customer and market opportunities have more likelihood of success. Start with getting to know areas of improvement, conduct proper surveys for your organisations, check which areas to improve, and identify key customers and their correlating market opportunities.
- Say goodbye to PoC: If you are doing corporate innovation or doing business with large enterprises, you will face the term POC. The problem is POC customers aren’t actual customers. Of course, your innovation initiatives are not fully commercialised yet but to garner real customers; you need to deliver its real value to your potential customers.
- Start quietly and be loud once you have product-market fit: measuring financial outcomes too soon, risk premature decisions that will impact your innovation journey, try sandboxing your ideas and build based on what works. And once you have that product-market fit, showcase your result and engage with strategic partners across the regions.
- Look to the past for clues about the future; it’s not always about the newest invention: History always repeats itself, even if the past patterns don’t always apply to the end. Companies such as OVO and Shopee are among the few that started late, but both can thrive and become successful.
- Harness the power of partnerships, leverage their asset and reduce risk: Test assumptions of your innovation strategy, whether you start with implementing new features for your product, to even having new ventures for your company, garner different perspectives with existing partners, reducing the risk of failure, and validate those assumptions fast.
At the end of the day, whether you are just starting your company or managing a big corporation, everyone will always need to grow and innovate themselves.
If you are in Asia, Asia has become one of the hotbeds of innovation over recent years, with one of the most dynamic startup scenes anywhere. With its venture deals, with record highs in 2021. Funding was up 89 per cent from the 2020 mark. Starting any innovation journey in Asia will be very exciting in the following years.
So start with demands, engage clients directly but quietly, learn insightful clues from past initiatives and leverage key partnerships to achieve sustainable results for your innovation initiatives.