Where do you start when innovation is the only way to grow?
As a CEO friend of mine is fond of saying: “Businesses have
three options: get bigger, get smaller or stay the same. But if you stay the
same, you’ll eventually get smaller.” However, there are only finite ways to grow.
You probably remember the good old Ansoff Matrix from your business or marketing
studies, which sets out four strategies: market penetration, product expansion,
market expansion and diversification.
W L Bateman famously said “if you keep on doing what you’ve
always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got”, but today’s
reality is that companies that are risk-averse or try to maintain the status
quo are more likely to fail – evidenced by the plethora of empty retail units
once occupied by former titans of the high street.
As the world grows smaller, before too long, there will be no
more “emerging” markets into which to expand.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to grow share of
established products and services within developed markets that are stagnating
or nearing saturation point – especially when comparable products and services
can be sourced more cheaply from low-wage economies.
So the key to growth is to try something new. “Innovation” is undoubtedly the mot du jour but being tasked to innovate
can often feel like being ordered to be creative or original. If you’ve ever
been presented with a blank sheet of paper or stared at the blinking cursor of
new document, you’ll know how intimidating it can be. Internal brainstorms are
of limited value for many reasons, not least because collectively, you don’t
know what you don’t know.
Innovation starts with inspiration
Innovation isn’t necessarily about novelty, coming up with
some radical invention that rocks the world, or having a “Eureka moment” out of
the blue. It’s often about finding ways to
evolve products and services or make interactions smarter, so you can meet
customer needs more closely and outperform competitors. It can involve pinpointing
new markets for existing offerings through insightful research and granular segmentation.
Or rather than applying a deductive approach to problem-solving, it might mean focusing
on ‘problem finding’. Most importantly, it’s about being receptive to outside sources
So we’ve developed a brand new reference in the form of a World of
Innovation interactive map. It “listens” to conversations from social channels and displays a customisable
heat map of the macro trends, as people are talking about popular topics around
innovation. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be unveiling more functionality
including the ability to pan and zoom, read individual Tweets, and watch video
content. It’s a really neat tool and could help you identify a brand new market for your company’s next big thing.