Innovation is the key to success in today’s business environment. Without it, your organization becomes stagnant and risks failure from being unable to serve its customers. In this article, we will go over how to stimulate innovation at your organization and improve its innovation process.

What it Means to Be Innovative

Companies that are innovative are always looking for new and better ways to do things. They are constantly trying to improve their products and services in order to stay ahead of the competition. This can be a challenge, but it is also what makes innovation so important.

Innovation is not about coming up with new ideas all the time. It is about correctly defining your market, effectively conducting user research, and then finding ways to serve it better. Once an innovative company does this, it then implements improvements or develops a new product based on these factors.

Innovation is a Process, Not an Event

Some may think that innovation happens on its own and without any planning or effort from them. This simply isn’t the case; there are steps you can take as a manager in order to stimulate your employees’ creative thinking process and improve their innovation abilities.

One of the best ways to promote innovative thinking within your company is to provide your employees with a creative workplace. This means providing them with the resources and tools they need to do their job effectively, as well as ensuring that there is an open environment where ideas are shared freely between peers. Having cross-functional teams is also a great way to encourage collaboration and creativity while also remaining productive.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Innovation Process

Innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas, it’s also about being able to correctly define your market and conduct user research. The best way to implement this into your innovation process is by defining your product and market around what a customer is trying to get done by using your product, then figuring out what outcomes they are looking to get from it.

Defining your innovation process around outcomes will help you focus on what is important to your customers, rather than on the features of your product. This will allow you to come up with creative ways to solve customer problems and improve their experience with your product.

Conducting user research is a great way to figure out what these outcomes are, which ones are overserved, and which ones are underrepresented in the market. Those which are underserved are the outcomes that you can model your product updates or developments after.

How Outcome-Driven Innovation Can Help You Better Serve Your Customers

When your customers are using a product, they are doing so because they need a job done. The result is an outcome, which is a measurement of how well their job is being done by their current solution, and whether or not they have achieved what it is that they wanted to do.

This means if a customer has trouble achieving their outcome, there’s probably something in the way of them doing this job (i.e., an obstacle). This can be anything from your product being too difficult to use, having incompatible features with another tool, or not being available in their region.

Once you have identified these obstacles, it is your job as a company to remove them so that the customer can achieve their desired outcome more easily. This is where innovation comes into play; by taking what you’ve learned from user research and applying it to product updates or developments, you are able to make changes that will address the obstacles that your customers are facing.

Innovation is a never-ending process that should be part of your company’s strategy for continually improving products and services to better serve its customer base as well as staying ahead of its competition. By taking advantage of innovation workshops, hackathons, or design sprints you can create an innovative culture that drives your business forward.