Businesses must keep a constant focus on innovating product, service and operations in order to grow and outperform competitors.
Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes, from radical / breakthrough innovation, in which large-scale leaps are made, to incremental innovation, where tweaks and improvements are made to an existing product or service. Innovation can also be applied to a number of different business functions, such as product, process and service.
In addition, it is possible to look at innovation in terms of its relationship to the business, i.e. core, adjacent or transformational - often targeting new markets or sectors.
There are many sources of innovation, such as the problems or frustrations experienced by customers as they go about their daily life or work. Noticing these opportunities enables us to create products and services that make life easier or better for these target consumers - solving their problem (often called a ‘job to be done’).
New technology and other developments can often reveal opportunities, as can changes in the competitive landscape. By employing analogy and abstract thinking, companies can often make the necessary conceptual leaps required to spot opportunities and rethink their approach.
The authors of The Innovator’s DNA interviewed 25 top businesspeople including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos & P&G’s AG Lafley, as well as 3,000 executives with responsibility for innovation. The results of this research provides a useful rundown of the necessary skills for innovating within organisations: