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Innovation is the driving force behind many businesses, it’s what keeps the world evolving and technology developing and companies who fail to innovate usually struggle in the long run. But innovation can at times seem difficult to come by – you may think that you have come up with the idea for the next best thing only to realize that it is already being marketed by a competitor, or perhaps you struggle to see the possibility for innovation within your given market. Whatever your barriers to innovation may be, here are 5 tips to help you bring it back into your organization.
One of the best ways to foster innovation is to immerse yourself in it. The innovation of your competitors or others within your market may seem frustrating but you can use this as fuel for your own work. Research innovative companies within your sector such as Medtronic.com for healthcare, and take a look at their latest product developments. This isn’t about copying what they have done, after all, that wouldn’t be innovating, but it’s about inspiring yourself to get into an innovative headspace.
Put yourself in the shoes of your end-user
Most innovations are born out of consumer need. The wide-angle lens on the new iPhone, for example, was created because previously camera phone users were needing to attach fish eye lenses to their phones to take wide angled snaps. Apple removed this problem by building a wide-angle lens into its design. Put yourself in the shoes of your end-user, listen to their complaints, their problems, and see what you could do to solve their issues.
Stop thinking that innovation needs to be big
One of the biggest mental barriers to innovation is the feeling that whatever you come up with needs to be completely new. Apple didn’t create an entirely new way for people to communicate in order to incorporate their wide-angle lens, they simply added this simple new feature to their current model. Iterative innovations can be small steps. A change in design, a new feature, the removal of an unnecessary feature. Think small, to dream big.
Talk to other people
Many of the most innovative companies in the world have a policy of open communication. This means that everyone, no matter their job role, can speak up about their ideas. Sometimes it can be easy to get stuck inside your own head and the inspiration you need may actually come from speaking to other people on your team. If you don’t have a team then attending innovation workshops are another great way to brainstorm with intellectuals and come up with innovative ideas.
Collaborate with others
Although you may want to feel as though your innovation is your sole idea, sometimes you may need to accept that the innovation your company or product needs might need to involve collaboration with another company. It’s better to collaborate and innovate together than to not innovate at all. Find a company who fits in with your ethos and values and try to innovate together, brainstorm possible collaboration ideas and then combine your specialities to produce a product that could appeal to both your target markets.