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Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur, a budding side hustler, or a decision-maker within an organization; innovation is fundamental to the survival of your business. Innovation isn’t just the latest technology or gadget, but a fundamental process you need to continually undertake in your business.
In today’s episode, we will unpack WTF is innovation and the core element you have to fulfill in order to be deemed a successful innovator.
When you think of the word innovation, what comes to mind?
The image that comes to your mind may be the newest technological advancement or a ground-breaking creation like the iPhone, or maybe you conjure up an image of a bunch of dudes in Silicon Valley cooking things up. Or you might think of a TV show like Dragons Den, where startups pitch their ideas to a panel of investors.
Innovation isn’t just about physical products or the new products you see lining store shelves or even the very latest tech inventions. There are a few major components to the definition of what innovation actually is:
Innovation means something new, something novel, something that isn’t everywhere yet. But ultimately, innovation and what you innovate can only be an innovation if it increases value for your business and your customers and drives sustainable growth.
Now that we have covered WTF is innovation, now let’s understand why your business needs it.
When you break it down, every innovation has three core elements that you need to fulfill in order to be deemed a successful innovation. The who, the what, and the how.
Who is the customer or user, and what problem do they need to solve? What are they struggling with when they are trying to get those needs met? Are there certain megatrends or consumer trends which are creating new customer needs?
As we mentioned in our previous episode, your users have a job to be done. Customers often buy things because they find themselves with a problem they would like to solve. Having a crystal clear idea of their unmet needs is fundamental to successful innovation.
What is the product, service, experience, or process that solves your user’s or customer’s problem? Is the solution compelling?
Does it deeply resonate with your customers and will they actually use it? And Is it even possible to make it happen?
Will the solution create value for your customers and your business? What does the business model look like?
As we discussed in episode 120, there are a gazillion ways to develop your business model. An important question to consider is: in what way can it scale? In other words, how can you reach the most people to solve their problems whilst maintaining value for them and for you?
In reality, most business owners tend to develop products and services without hitting every one of these core elements. That could mean, for example, developing a solution to a problem that does not exist in the reality of your customers’ lives; developing a product that does not properly solve the customer’s problem; or developing a business model for your product that does not derive enough value for your business and is not truly scalable.
You cannot skip the steps when you’re working on innovation. Some businesses are fortunate enough to succeed based on a gut feeling or instinct for a solution, but the vast majority of those who do skip the steps will find themselves frustrated and right back to square one.
The reason why innovation is so fundamental to your business is that designing and building a product or service that solves a genuine problem or unmet need in a compelling no-brainer way, can actually make you a lot of money. It is not only innovative but also good business. The most successful businesses are those that constantly innovate and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers.
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