“If you’re not living, you’re dying,” the old maxim goes — and, in life as in the business world, this rings particularly true. Perhaps rewording it as, “if you’re not innovating, you’re not only stagnant, but you’re also taking a step backwards” would be more applicable these days. That aptly sums up the sentiment of innovation in the business world: Without some sort of innovation, a company will have an extremely hard time attempting to expand and grow.
The term “innovation” is bandied about so much that it seems that every company calls itself “innovative.” In its original Latin form, innovate means “to renew.” For the most part, the word has retained its original meaning, and the modern definition is “to improve or replace something, perhaps a process, product or service.” In short, it’s a process in which a product or service is updated by establishing new techniques or new ideas in order to create value.
The goal, of course, in any business, is to be profitable and keep the stakeholders and shareholders satisfied. In the big picture, innovation is important for any company, in order to grow, or to at least stay competitive in the crowded business world. Attempting to keep current, stay relevant and ultimately expand your business is war, and being innovative is a winning strategy. These areas include the following:
Like many other areas of life, companies have a tendency to think they’re unique, have a strong sense of purpose, and are innovative. But, in order to be truly innovative, there are several attributes that indicate whether it’s true or not. Of course, these aren’t written in stone, and are presented below in no particular order of importance. These attributes include the following.
Tracking how well innovation impacts a company can be a tough slog through mountains of numbers and reports. That’s because the business world is constantly changing, and finding solid numbers can be a wild goose chase, due to any number of external factors. It all comes down to numbers, of course, and historical data from the same period in earlier years proves indispensable.
Yes, but that’s easier said than done. For example, the same time period in previous years could be marred by events like a pandemic, a worker’s strike, or the fact that a new company was acquired after that year’s results, so those considerations have to be factored in. Much of that work is in the domain of the bean counters, those financial professionals who know how to glean these figures from the heap of financial data the company produces.
There are also non-financial metrics when it comes to measuring innovation. According to Inc., the top five measurements of innovation are the following:
Being in a company that considers itself “innovative” requires that innovation be in its DNA. It isn’t simply something that is mandated, a new rule or regulation that the company has to follow. It’s more of a way of life than a mantra that is repeated. But, as we learned from above, successful innovation is trackable, and the end result is growth in sales, market share, or new and/or improved products, services or processes.
Chris Capelle is a technology expert, writer and instructor. For over 25 years, he has worked in the publishing, advertising and consumer products industries.
McKinsey - How To Take The Measure Of Innovation
Harvard Business Review - The 5 Requirements Of A Truly Innovative Company
Inc. - The Simple Secret To Measuring How Innovation Your Company Really Is
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