Innovation is a very misunderstood word. To some it means creating new products or product features. To others it is a new service, new market or new distribution model. The one thing in common for all is innovation means something new. Today I am going to focus on two types of innovation ideas:
- Core – those ideas designed to optimize existing products for existing customers as well as expanding existing business into “new-to-the-company” business. In other words, these ideas are focused on incremental growth for products and services similar and adjacent to the customers and markets currently served.
- Leap – those ideas designed to create breakthroughs and inventing products, services and features for markets or customers that do not yet exist in our current portfolio. Those ideas designed to separate your company from the competition and potentially dramatically alter the industry.
Today eighty-five percent of all innovations implemented focus on core innovations. This is due to many factors, but the number one element is you already have experience with current customers and can readily access feedback for improvement. These improvements take the form of additional features, pricing plans, customer service enhancements, current technology systems and skills. Most core innovations only require tweaking marketing, sales and customer service processes and systems.
The second factor centers on our limited ability to think creatively and truly outside the box. Most people are not trained in creative and abstract thinking; therefore you tend to gravitate to what you know and are comfortable with. It is not that you are not creative, rather you do not know how to turn the creative brain on. Business leaders want to maximize their investment in existing collateral, websites, sales approach, etc. These factors tend to limit expanding potential ideas.
Leap ideas however, require new thinking. Doug Hall, international innovation guru, says “You want to focus time and attention on really cool stuff that matters. Do not just think cool – think crazy and outrageous.” This is where Leap ideas come from.
To do this type thinking, your brain needs access to diverse stimulation. Leap idea generation sessions include access to the internet in order to pull up visual images to get the brain juiced up. In addition, you should look at other industries and new entrant or start-up company websites to see what other people are thinking and creating. Leap ideas do not fall into your lap. They take work.
For more information on how to run Core or Leap Idea sessions contact IntelliThink LLC today. Bright ideas light the way for others to follow.