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Business innovation: its many forms, and why it matters

This is the first post in a 5-part blog series on business innovation. Throughout the series, I cover business innovation basics, from different innovation models and establishing a strategy for project selection to common roadblocks and value creation.

Business Innovation Series (Part 1 of 5): What to Expect with Business Innovation

This five-part business innovation series uncovers some components, considerations, and conundrums that companies face when creating an innovation strategy.

Part one is here to remind us that it’s not easy to define “business innovation” during a presentation (when you haven’t done it before), but enablement is a whole different beast. After all, creating an enterprise-wide or departmental innovation plan encompasses a much larger and more complex decision-making process than meets the eye.

Links to other posts in the series:

Does Business Innovation Really Matter?

When it comes to business, does innovation (alone) matter, and what constitutes “business innovation” anyway?

P.S. If someone asked me that question a few years ago, I would have answered with a resounding “HECK YEAH!”

However, since it is “now” (ahem, 2020), I would probably second guess because I’d mesh it in some unforgiving way with COVID-19, but NOT today!

My honest answer = “HECK YEAH, but let’s remember that innovation, just like a business, remains in constant flux.”

Business innovation ideas

Of course, innovation alone isn’t going to create a product! It takes a whole cohesive team, not one person. And it takes a team (whether in person, hybrid, or virtual) that intentionally wants to move in a similar direction in a project and towards the same goal. At the same time, they deliberately avoid stifling their creativity and work toward continually improving their approach. The goal remains: generate new, refreshing, innovative ideas along the way and cover as many bases as possible (like knowing the difference between data and tech).

Anyway, of course, innovation matters! And so do many other components in business and our day-to-day lives. Shall we use an example of getting innovative during quarantine? (just kidding-ish)

Deeper Dive into Business Innovation

To dive deeper into that last point, let’s consider how and why companies have become more customer-centric or how they “innovated” their advertising during the pandemic. In short, not only did companies have to figure out new ways to service customers quickly, effectively notify everyone about abrupt service changes, be sure not to disregard reality, yet remain sensitive. P.S. This type of action is a form of strategic innovation (Rouse, 2016) in a sense.

Therefore, strategic innovation in advertising during a pandemic shows us how abrupt change can be and how companies adapt.

Check out this video to see one example.

How Brands Are Advertising During the Pandemic | WSJ

The Takeaway

Ultimately, unprecedented times call for exceptional design thinking, innovative strategy plans, and other measures yet to be developed or enabled (think remote work vs. hybrid vs. WFH). So, whether you can relate to the video or how the pandemic altered our world, both unexpectedly and not — living standards are not the only things impacted; some of us experienced permanent loss, whether career-wise or a family member, friend, or coworker.

Nonetheless, despite our triumphs and tribulations, it seems clear that the world will continue with or without us and that there isn’t a single, best way to innovate. Yet, at the same time, innovation is also the thing that seems to keep us moving forward.

?What are your thoughts?

In part two, I delve more into the definition of innovation leadership, where some of the confusion exists, and why modern companies need to take note.

Main Sources:

Rouse, M. (2016, July). Strategic innovation. Retrieved from https://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/strategic-innovation

Wall Street Journal. (2020, May 28). How brands are advertising during the pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4DpxASLnXo

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