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Innovation – Tool for competitive edge

Business has to remain competitive at all times to remain sustainable. Creating a unique product or reducing cost will give that edge to a certain extant but will not give that edge which is required stay in the game.  However it is not possible to adopt these two approaches all the time and you need to add a more fierce tool to sustain the competition. Constant innovation gives you that tool and it helps you to remain at the top of the industry. It is essential to understand the real meaning of innovation and many times it is confused with invention. Innovation and invention are two different things. Innovation is a constant process and it keeps evolving. Innovation is hard and it requires you to take risks and break the conventional rules.

Definition of innovation – Innovation can be defined as doing something that is really new or it is different to you. It is not a scientific invention but it could be as simple as giving a different use of the same product.

Trends in customer behavior requiring innovation

Today the customers are far more mature and they need change. They are constantly asking for innovations. Their aspirations have increased. Few trends which can be identified are

  • Customers are not satisfied with a perception of owning the product but they expect to experience while owning the same. This is a age of access and they would want to feel the product before it is acquired by them.
  • The customers have become more demanding and it is not business as usual and one can not take customer for granted.
  • Digital revolution has brought about the change where customer also expect to get the digital fabrication of the product.

How does the innovation occur ?

There are multiple ways in which innovation can occur and some them are given below.

  • It is created by using the existing features or resources and building a product variant in a new way. It is not repackaging but it is a value addition to the existing product.
  • It can be created by studying different type of business from different industries around you and transform ideas by customizing your product.
  • Innovation can also be achieved by challenging the existing product or use of the product. It is a process of questioning the fundamental assumptions of your product.
  • It can also be achieved by observing the competition and their products. Constant study of why and where of competition throws ideas for product innovation. It also throws light on strategies and market needs.
  • Innovations can also be achieved by learning with customers. Constant feedback and interaction with customers throw ideas for product variant. Sometimes customers invent the way of using a product in a different way for which the product was not created initially. This is called customer co creation.

Art of innovation and its features

Innovation is an alternative and it has to be sustainable. There are some yardsticks on which you can measure the innovation effectiveness and define the success of it.

  • Innovation has to make meaning. It needs to address an issue or offer a alternate solution or create a alternative use.
  • Company has to make a mantra of the same. It is not a mission statement but it defines the culture of a the company which creates a product innovation company image. These can be 3 to 4 simple words but they bring out the meaning and purpose.
  • Innovation is a matter of perspective – It is not done for tomorrow or next week or next month but is for a sustainable and foreseeable future.
  • It has to be deep, intelligent , elegant and completes the product. It will remain a innovation till the next curve of innovation appears.
  • Innovation can not be perfect in first shot. It improves over a period of time. It may be crappy but still it needs to be launched. Innovation evolves over a period of time. It takes multiple versions to get the best innovative product.
  • Every innovation takes time and money. The innovation can not be cost effective but it has to realize the value of the efforts. Business can not do innovations and still offer cheap products.

Every business strives to be on the top in the industry in which they are operating. Innovation offers that cutting edge to the competitive advantage and helps the business to stay ahead of the competition. If the culture of the company is based on the innovation then they can look for constant process of product up gradation, This helps them to give a element of surprise to the competition.

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