When there is economic uncertainty and all of the business world is uneasy about the landscape of the near future, focusing on and increasing your innovation process can help your organization to increase its competitive advantage. Becoming an innovation leader in tough times may not seem like the most ideal solution, but by taking advantage of the relatively small amount of ground that you will lose in a depressed economy will position your company for explosive growth during the coming boom. At the very least your organization will be able to weather the storm of any further downturn, by innovating solutions to any of the problems or challenges that arise. While it is not easy to make the decision to focus on innovation when the rest of the industry is focused on cutting costs and making their organizations more efficient, here are 3 ways that you can build innovation in tough times to weather the storm and position your company for success.
1. Understand what a good process looks like
Take the time to look across and study the innovation models of other companies, even in other industries. Find out what has worked for them and then start to develop an ideal scenario for your own process. Take the time to analyze the innovation processes that are proving successful even when tested by the tough times and then extract the most valuable components to build your own.
2. Innovate with value intent
Make sure that you align the process of your company with your mission or value proposition for your customers. Having an innovation process that can produces great ideas is only as valuable as their success in implementation. By keeping them focused on helping the customer succeed or providing the most value, you will make sure that you only spend resources-that can be even more scarce in tough times-on testing the innovations that align with your bigger goal.
3. Create sense of ownership and enable collaboration
Leveraging the creative powers of your entire organization and network as forms of inputs for your innovation process, can help to make your ideas more effective, and much less costly. By empowering your employees and even customers to contribute to your innovative process you are able to use a bank of creativity that far exceeds the capabilities of any small innovation team. Give them a reason to contribute and then collect as many ideas as you can.
Using these three ways to increase innovation you can ensure that you are competitive during tough times and poised for explosive growth when the economy turns back around.