Business Innovation Strategy And Its Team: Everything You Need To Know
The creation of new products relies on innovation strategies, which companies of all sizes and shapes can use to improve the delivery of their goods and services. Besides helping to launch new products, these strategies are vital for brands that want to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded market. Whether an independent startup or a seasoned entrepreneur, an innovation model can help your brand enter new markets, increase market share and drive business growth.
Innovation and growth go hand in hand, and innovative strategies should be both creative and inspiring whilst adding something unique to the products and services they are developing. Ultimately, the goal of innovation is to increase the value of your products and services and to create something unique that will appeal to customers – both old and new.
Although, innovation isn’t always easy, and neither is establishing a strategy that is reliable, unique, and aligned with your company’s goals. Nevertheless, a team of dedicated innovation strategists can certainly help. Your organisation can remain relevant, competitive, fresh – and most importantly, in demand – with the help of a team of dedicated innovation experts.
These team members should not only understand your organisation’s objectives, value proposition, market trends and customer needs but also be able to work seamlessly together to develop and execute innovative ideas that drive growth, profitability and positive differentiation.
In this article, we will discuss all things innovation strategy and its team: what one is, why one is so significant, the key elements, the skills and characteristics that make up a successful innovation team, and how to implement one that drives long-term success.
Let’s dive in!
What is a business innovation strategy?
Essentially, a strategy of innovation is a roadmap for desired future outcomes that allows companies to introduce new innovations, ideas, products or services to the market. As well as outlining how a company will utilise its resources to achieve its objectives, they also outline how a company will create value, innovate, and gain a competitive advantage.
The goal of these strategies? To identify new opportunities and develop creative solutions that meet the needs of your customer base and improve core business while maintaining long-term competitiveness. It’s a win-win.
In essence, these strategies outline how your team will execute a vision and turn it into reality and provide a key framework for critical decision-making, such as:
- What areas will we invest in?
- Is there a budget for the investment?
- How will investment decisions be made?
- In order to support our investments, what will we need to develop?
- Are key stakeholders on board with the goals set?
A long-term decision such as this should never be taken lightly. When developing a strategy of innovation, it’s important to take into account your long-term business goals. In order to succeed, your strategy must align with the overall goals and objectives of your existing business, as well as take into account emerging technologies, market trends, and customer needs.
Why business innovation strategy is important?
Success doesn’t come from clinging to traditional practices just because they’ve worked in the past. In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, brands that don’t innovate run the risk of getting left behind. It’s that simple.
Here are just some of the reasons innovation systems are so critical. They help to:
- Establish clear goals and priorities. A good strategy helps you prioritise your organisation’s innovative activities and focus resources and energy there. As a result, you’ll be able to keep your focus, reduce the amount of time you spend squandering, and decrease the likelihood of having to do the work again.
- Encourage alignment. An effective innovation strategy will enable different sections within an organisation to work together rather than pursue their own interests. A successful business relies on continuity and alignment.
- Keep business fresh. Adapting to changing demands is the key to remaining relevant for businesses. By providing new products and perspectives, you can ensure the longevity of your company and also appeal to a wider audience.
- Ensure long-term success. It really is impossible to sustain long-term customer engagement and competitive advantage without an effective innovation strategy. It is crucial that brands adapt to changing customer needs in order to remain successful in the long run.
- Improve existing products. Sales and marketing teams can reinvent or reverse existing products’ value propositions with a strong strategy. the result? Innovative products or services that bring more value to the customer and, ultimately, more revenue for the company. It’s a win-win.
- Create new products. One of the most appealing benefits of radical innovation is its ability to generate completely new and unique ideas. A new innovative product or service can enhance your existing product lines, open new markets, or solve growing social problems. The possibilities are endless.
- Reduce costs and maximise revenue. You can streamline workflows and teams through continuous innovation so that you spend less on administration and more on activities that generate a higher return on investment. Whether you’re developing new products or improving existing ones, your business strategy should prioritise your earnings.
Business model innovation team members and their responsibilities
A strong and diverse team is critical when it comes to innovating. Teamwork really does make the dream work – no matter how much we hate to say it.
Typically, a business model innovation team is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise who collaborate to create new and collaboratively contribute to the overall innovation process. It is this talented, cross-disciplinary team’s mission to make your company truly innovative. In short, you really can’t innovate without them.
Depending on the type, size, and industry of your company, the objectives and specific roles of the team may vary. An in-house team is usually formed to act as a driving force and introduce the right technologies and best practices. This team ensures that the overall innovation programme is aligned with your organisation’s strategy and harmonises with ongoing business.
Let’s take a closer look at their unique roles:
1. Business strategists.
These are your strategic thinkers who set your team’s direction, define strategic goals, and identify opportunities for growth. It is crucial for your strategists to have a deep understanding of your industry, competitors, and market dynamics, as well as the best technologies and opportunities in your field.
2. Product experts.
These professionals develop, launch, and manage new products and services with their expertise in your field. It’s up to them to identify – and stay on top of – relevant market opportunities in the face of rapidly changing consumer trends. It’s vital that they understand your competition and global trends extremely well and that they are able to identify gaps, overlaps, and opportunities regarding your company’s commercial aspects.
3. Market researchers.
In order to identify innovation projects and opportunities, you need a dedicated team of market researchers who can analyse market trends, customer behaviour and other relevant data. This will help your team focus their innovation efforts on value creation and find the right business model to meet customer needs.
4. Technology experts.
Technological innovation is driven by these experts’ in-depth technical knowledge and understanding of product architectures, product development cycles, and innovation methodologies. With a focus on technological experimentation and data-driven decision-making, they identify and implement new technologies to support business model innovation and the testing and development of new products and services.
Each innovation programme aims to transform every employee into an organic innovator. The result? An organisation driven by creativity and innovative thinking, which inn turn, creates value for both customers and stakeholders.Leading by example and resetting the standard for mentality, best practices, and outcomes is essential to creating an organisation of innovators. Ensure your employees know how to innovate and then give them the freedom to do so.
Five different types of innovation strategy
Strategies of innovation come in many forms, shapes and sizes. Essentially, business innovations can take the form of smaller improvements to existing services and products, or they can be as significant as complete changes to the architecture or business model. Let’s take a look at the different types of innovation strategies:
1. Incremental innovation.
In this strategy, products or services are improved by making gradual, consistent, small changes and subtle variations. Instead of creating new markets, segments, or product categories, it improves a product’s competitive differentiation, production efficiency, and development efficiency using low-risk technologies.
2. Disruptive innovation.
This strategy is all about creating new products or services that disrupt the existing market. By creating an entirely new value network, it aims to displace existing leading products. A strategy like this could result in significant market share gains, and in most cases, involves reducing the price of highly expensive, sophisticated products and services.
3. Radical innovation.
Radical innovation aims to create entirely new products or services that don’t exist in the market yet. As it disrupts the market by displacing existing products and services and creating new categories of products, it changes the relationship between customers and suppliers. Essentially, radical innovation combines the power of technology and a new business model to create never-before-seen products. The results can be pretty astonishing – just look at Netflix!
4. Architectural innovation.
In architectural innovation, new products or services utilise existing technology to create new markets and reach a wider pool of consumers. A smartwatch, for example, uses existing mobile phone technology and repackages it as a watch. By repackaging an existing technology, an entirely new market of buyers was opened up. Firms usually alter the architecture of the product to open up new markets for sales.
5. Routine innovation.
This strategy enables a company to leverage its existing technological competencies. To put it another way, it’s when companies play to their strengths. One of the most famous routine innovators is Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.
Seven steps to implementing innovation
1. Develop a clear strategy and objective
As with any first step, now is the time to outline your goals and how you plan to achieve them. In what ways will your business innovate? What makes this different from your competitors? What problems do you solve? What are your innovation opportunities? Here, you are trying to identify an opportunity for improvement. Perhaps you have discovered a new market trend, identified a gap in the product line, or streamlined a process.
Keep in mind that your innovation strategy should be aligned with your overall business objectives. After you have found some promising ideas, keep exploring them from different angles until you’ve found the best fit.
2. Identify your target audience
The next step is to identify your target market. It is imperative that your innovation addresses the needs of your target market and that there’s a demand for it. Otherwise, your product, service or solution won’t take off, it’s that simple.
Identify the wants, needs, desires, values, and pain points of your target consumer by digging deep into their world. Study, listen, and understand what your customers want in order to innovate and respond to them.
3. Define your value proposition
Next, you need to define your value proposition and ask yourself strategic questions that will help you explain the problem you are solving, how you are solving it, and why your solution is better than what is currently available. In other words, you will communicate the unique value your innovation brings to the market.
By defining your value proposition, you can not only differentiate your innovation from your competitors but also maintain focus on your goals and test your solution with key audiences.
4. Collect information and ideas
Following the identification of your market gap, the definition of your value proposition, and the pinpointing of your target audience, it’s time to conduct that all-important research.
In order to do this, you may need to interview customers, stakeholders, and employees or analyse what your competitors are doing. To succeed in this stage, you must generate ideas about how to overcome the problem or capitalise on the opportunity.
5. Prototype and test
Put your ideas to the test and get prototyping. An MVP could be created for testing with customers, or a pilot program could be developed to demonstrate a new process in practice. Your goal here is to collect as much user feedback as you possibly can to make the necessary improvements and perfect your product or offer.
6. Implement and scale
It’s time to implement innovation on a larger scale now that you’re sure your solution works. No matter whether you want to launch new products or services or expand into new markets, it’s crucial that you understand how business innovation works and the techniques you should use to succeed. Additionally, it’s worth considering which innovation systems will work within your current organisation’s structure. Don’t rush the scaling and implementation process, or you may miss your target. Take your time.
7. Monitor and measure
Last but not least, you should continually monitor the success of your innovation and make necessary improvements and adjustments. Take note of how customers are responding to your new product or process, and welcome feedback. This feedback is crucial when identifying areas for improvement and staying competitive, as it staying atop of trends and technologies.
Take periodic measurements of your key metrics for every new idea to monitor progress and evaluate performance. You can determine whether you’re on the right path by measuring innovation from the start, even though it’s not always easy.
Determine the most appropriate metrics to track based on your goals. Your goal may be to reach new audiences, so you might track engagement, website traffic, subscribers, social media followers, or sales.
Four brand innovation strategy examples
In today’s market, there’s no shortage of brands that are known for implementing new technologies and radically innovating, but let’s take a look at some in finer detail.
It’s impossible to think about innovation without considering Apple, who continuously creates innovative technological products with unique value. Known for its innovative products, such as the iPhone, iPad, and AirPods, the brand has a long history of creating products that are ahead of the curve. Providing intuitive, easy-to-use, aesthetically pleasing, and cutting-edge products is Apple’s innovation strategy. And it works.
Besides acquiring startups, they also partner with other companies to develop new products, such as a driverless shuttle van partnership with Volkswagen. In addition, Apple has an internal accelerator for pushing forward new research projects, such as Titan, an electric car.
As part of its strategy of innovation, Amazon places a strong emphasis on customer experience and convenience. A number of innovative technologies have been developed by the company, such as Amazon Go stores, where customers can shop without needing to check out, and Echo devices, which help customers order products and set reminders using voice commands.
More importantly, Amazon encourages all employees to pitch innovative ideas. Among other examples, the idea for Amazon Prime was spontaneously pitched in a memo, and leaders agreed to provide internal funding.
One of the best examples of a brand that has implemented multiple strategies of innovation over time is Microsoft. Over the years, the company has developed innovative products and technologies that have transformed the industry. Cloud computing is one of Microsoft’s most significant innovation strategies. Offering services such as Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and OneDrive, the company has been a leader in this field. By using these services, businesses have been able to reduce their IT costs, improve collaboration, and enhance security.
With tools such as Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit and Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft has also invested heavily in artificial intelligence. By using these tools, businesses can better utilise their data, automate processes, and gain insight into their customers.
Hopefully, by now, it’s clear that innovative strategies can be developed by businesses of all sizes, shapes, and sectors to successfully achieve future growth.
In order to stay competitive and develop the best strategy of innovation, companies must develop a blueprint that takes into account market trends, consumer preferences, new technology, and disruptive competitors. The most critical component of innovation, however, is having a dedicated team of creators to oversee, implement, and innovate.
In addition to ensuring a business’ success today, building an innovative team will also ensure its longevity in the future. When a team like this is encouraged to experiment and think outside the box, they push the boundaries of traditional thinking, stay competitive, and can even disrupt entire industries.
We can help
We understand how challenging it can be to develop your own strategy of innovation – let alone field a team of innovation experts.
Fortunately, we can help. Whether you’re looking to disrupt current markets, create new products, or improve what you’re offering, we can help you develop an innovation strategy that aligns with your company’s goals.
With decades of experience helping brands succeed and grow, we can assist your organisation with its innovation needs. For more information, please get in touch.