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A Key to Businesses Success

Times have never been tougher, times have never been less certain, we’ve never faced so much competition, change and disruption.  The message is clear - the days of precise and slow decision making are over.  Business leaders of today must embrace speed and ‘roughly right’ decisions in order to innovate, seize market opportunity, and create a unique proposition for customers.
Technology companies have long recognized this need for speed in innovation, introducing agile project management which implements small changes quickly – as opposed to bogging down with major projects.  “Fail fast, fail often” is a catch cry of Silicon Valley, embracing failure as an essential part of finding new ideas.
For many, innovation relates to ‘big change’, based on game-changing innovations like Amazon Kindle, Dyson and smartphones regularly used as case studies.  However making small innovative changes forms a firm foundation for bigger change, and can often be enough to make a significant difference to the customers’ experience.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, and thinks of the innovation system as a pyramid.
“At the base are a large number of small ideas, solicited regularly from anywhere inside or outside the organization. Continuous improvements and incremental innovations can be implemented immediately. Early-stage ideas with bigger potential can be elaborated upon with minimal time or funding. When companies emphasize this base, they ensure operational excellence and empower everyone to participate in a culture of creativity and change”.
Consider these three steps when looking to innovate in your business:
Start with observing your customer as they interact with your product, or are confronted with problems you feel that you can solve.  Ask probing questions around what they are doing and why. 
A principle of the popular ‘Design Thinking’ process, the key at this stage is to reserve any judgement on underlying motivations or potential solutions.  Take your observations and share with your team, expanding into fresh insights on your customer needs.
From these key insights, brainstorm ideas on what solutions could be offered.  These may be small changes to your current offering, a complete overhaul or a brand new product.  Choose a handful, and test the idea.
This could be as simple as placing the new product description on your website as available to purchase, and seeing how many people click through (to find it is ‘out of stock’).  Or a web tile or newsletter article to gauge interest.
Alternately, you may want to make the change to your service for some customers or over a set period of time – and assess what impact the change has and gather feedback. 
Don’t rush through this stage, ensure adequate testing to avoid critical flaws appearing in your offering – such as not supplying demand or being able to sustain the service level.
Iterate & Learn
Once the change is implemented and stable, ramp it up and tweak it as you go to continually improve the customer’s experience.  Go back to observing your customers in action with your new solution, and repeat the process for continual improvement.
Faced with an environment of constant change, it is even tougher for leaders to decide what to do and what not to pursue.  Adopting a process for small, fast innovation will allow you to move from advantage to advantage, seizing those short windows of opportunity.
For more information on how we can help you innovate your business, contact us via email or on 1800 505 529.

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