Have you ever heard so much talk of innovation? Me neither.
From Fast Company to your local LinkedIn corner, the topic is Innovation. (Is innovation dead? Five steps to innovation. Are your employees innovative? Why your mom was innovative.)
Of course, it suits our "I am the unique-est of unique!" culture. And I suppose I should be glad to see it. I've tracked it, worked hard to generate it and sometimes lamented the lack of innovation in various businesses over the years. It can be a truly powerful thing.
But true innovation is not easy, obvious or ubiquitous. So most organizations cannot build a culture around innovation. Is that a fatal flaw?
Not at all. There so many other ways to move the needle.
How much more potential can an average business realize by:
- Identifying its sweetest spots in the market and focusing on them?
- Communicating its value proposition more effectively?
- Structuring its channels to better align with its customer segments?
- Organizing operations around what the market truly values?
- Optimizing its pricing structure for the way customers think and buy?
- Expanding into a suitable adjacent market with a current product line?
That's a very partial list. It doesn't include improvements in the basic blocking and tackling, like being responsive to customers and doing what we say we'll do. Nor do we have time for all the things a business might stop doing in order to realize more potential.
None of these things are innovative. All can be very powerful.
I certainly won't recommend that you rule out innovation... but if you had to rule it out, what would be your biggest needle movers?