It would be difficult to look back through history and identify a more dynamic business environment than we are experiencing today. While current events (economic, supply chain, labor force, etc.) create many business challenges, they also present amazing opportunities for those companies who can innovate at a faster rate than their competitors.
When a company innovates to provide greater client value than their competitors, it is not only possible to establish industry leadership, but the companies who successfully do this can also create a powerful and impactful competitive advantage.
After 25+ years helping our clients create a more meaningful brand through continuous innovation, we’ve seen first-hand the impact this can achieve, and we understand what this takes. In this article, we are going to outline a roadmap and some critical keys to help your company drive continuous innovation. By effectively following this roadmap, you will be positioned to enjoy increased leadership within your industry. When messaged and communicated well, this can be a true marketplace competitive advantage.
Discontinuous innovation is a far more difficult task than dynamically continuous innovation. Discontinuous innovation is defined as the creation of something which is entirely new to the world. It is a product made to perform a function for which no other product has previously existed. The largest challenge with this type of innovation or invention is that it requires a lot of education and a complete change in consumer behavior to adopt the new technology.
Conversely, many of the most successful companies in the world, like Uber, Apple, and Google, have used dynamically continuous innovation to create leadership within their industries. Dynamically continuous innovation can be defined as creating a fundamental change in the core features of a service or product, where the same people use it for the same purpose.
One example of this is the creation of liquid soap. People have been using soap to wash up for thousands of years. But, in 1865 one of the first patents for a liquid soap was filed. Using soap was not a new concept for people. Liquid soap was just a different form of the product that they were used to using.
Another example is Apple. Apple did not invent the mobile phone or even the smart phone. The first mobile phone was invented in 1973 by Motorola. The first smart phone was the IBM Simon. Introduced in 1994, it was a cellular phone that had a calendar, email, and fax (yes fax) functions. However, when Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007, this represented a fundamental change to the core features of what a mobile phone had ever been. This catapulted Apple into a position of extreme industry leadership, created a true competitive advantage, and propelled them to become the world’s first $1 trillion (and $2 trillion) company.
If your goal for continuous innovation is to create industry leadership and an impactful competitive advantage, there are four critical considerations.
This concept sounds simple enough, but there are many aspects to consider when making this evaluation. Some of general questions you must evaluate for successful continuous innovation include:
Even with the best innovation idea in the world, successful continuous innovation is extremely challenging. If you are already running a successful business and offering existing products or services, continuous innovation usually has to occur as you are providing these other services. Some of the critical resources required for successful continuous innovation include:
Let’s say that you create the next best thing since sliced bread (first introduced July 7th, 1928 – humans have been eating bread for 30,000+ years). You must have the means to successfully bring your innovation to market.
Working with many highly innovative companies at Webolutions, we get to see and experience all the challenges that this can bring. Quite often, this boils down to effective messaging, communications and marketing. Many companies get so caught up in the technicalities of their innovations that they want to market it based on the features that they have built into it. This is not effective messaging, communications or marketing.
We cannot emphasize this point enough:
To illustrate, let’s go back to the sliced bread example. If I were Otto Frederick Rodwedder, the man who invented the first bread slicing machine, I would need to go around trying to sell my new machine to bakeries. Would I be better of telling the bakery owner that my machine uses a #7 slicing width wire to slice the bread or that he can double his sales volume, create a competitive advantage over all the other bakers in town, and charge 20% more for his bread? The answer is obvious.
Another challenge with marketing an innovation is that the marketplace is changing faster than ever. To be successful, you must determine if you have the resources (time, money, expertise, etc.) to effectively market your innovation while it is still highly relevant. Larger competitors may create a competing product, the market might change, or other factors may make your innovation less relevant. You must understand how you will successfully market your innovation before spending valuable resources to create it.
As you continuously innovate, you can borrow from the world of science. Applying the “scientific method,” we have used these steps as a roadmap for your company to continuously innovate. Below each step, we have added the questions and considerations to help you achieve success.
Webolutions has launched many successful continuous innovations. These innovations are at the core of the value we create for our clients and represent the unique intellectual property which gives us a competitive advantage over other companies in our industry. Some of these successful continuous innovations include our:
Webolutions is a full-spectrum business consulting and strategic growth implementation company. We help businesses across the country identify and effectively bring their unique story life throughout all experiences, allowing them to scale faster, smarter, and easier.
Our specific areas of expertise include:
To speak with one of our experts about how you can more effectively message, communicate, and market your company’s continuous innovation for your company of at least $5 million in annual sales, call us at 303-300-2640 and request a free marketing innovation consultation. During this 60-minute introduction, we discuss your specific needs, share ideas and insights, and help you start outlining your plan. You can also email any questions to [email protected].
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