More than a mere buzzword, innovation is one of the most important elements of the modern business world. What makes it so vital? Well, as Forbes contributor Bill Fischer explained, it is the greatest facilitator of growth. Forward-thinking businesses that aren't afraid to think outside the box are better equipped to meet the needs of their customers and consequently command a higher market share than enterprises entrenched in a conventional business mentality.
Around 40 per cent of local businesses are leveraging innovation to make substantial improvements to their offerings, work processes or marketing strategies, according to figures collated by Statistics New Zealand. While Kiwi businesses may be on the right track to unlocking greater innovation, it's clear that there is still room for improvement. Here are three ways you can foster greater innovation in your enterprise:
1. Attract the right people
While investing in technology can certainly help you maximise efficiency, true innovation must come from your employees.
As Kiwi Innovation Network Investment Committee Chair Andrew Turnbull explained, attracting the right people is absolutely critical for any business seeking to cultivate innovation.
"Team is number one. You can have the best technology in the world but if your team isn't up to it you're never going to get anywhere," said Mr Turnbull, as quoted by NZ Herald.
There are many ways to recruit strong talent. For example, creating a working environment that supports collaboration and rewards an experimental approach to business may enable you to assemble an innovative workforce that isn't afraid to disrupt and dominate your industry.
Small business software can streamline key work processes.
2. Leverage available technology
While technology alone does not make an innovative company, ensuring that your workforce has access to the modern tools necessary to get the job done efficiently can pave the way for more out-of-the-box thinking further down the line.
For instance, investing in small business software such as CashManager from Accomplish can streamline your employees' day-to-day duties, giving them more time to focus their efforts on advancing other aspects of the business.
3. Listen to your customers
Your customers are often more familiar with the advantages and limitations of your product or service than those within your company. As such, an incredibly effective way to unlock greater innovation is to get feedback from some of your key clients.
As Harvard Business School noted, this is largely due to the fact that the design process has become so heavily democratised that businesses should now consider their customers to be collaborators more than the powerless end users they once were.