Everybody knows why badly managed businesses fail. What's more interesting, is how companies like Yahoo, Myspace, and Dell seemed to do everything right and still didn't survive to remain market leaders.
Some might say that entrepreneurs have it easy in terms of innovative thinking. Their ideas are fresh and new; they are hitting the market from a completely new angle. For companies that have been active in their industry for a long time, however, innovation can seem challenging. The key, it seems, to be successfully innovative is to take consumers by surprise. Taking your company in a slightly new direction may be the best way to make an impact. Of course, this does not mean that you should stray from your core concepts, services, or products. Think of it as an opportunity to expand or a chance to fill a gap in the market.
To come up with an innovative idea, you cast your eyes to the future. Consider which products or services could render you obsolete. There may be small adjustments you could make to current products that will make them seem revolutionary. Perhaps the best way to do this is to take a look at the up-and-coming competition. Budding entrepreneurs in your industry are guaranteed to have ideas that you may be able to adopt.
Remember that start-ups are only successful if and when they have created something that consumers have been unable to purchase from your company and others like it. To stay ahead of the game existing businesses need to continually push boundaries, keeping funds aside for continuous research and development.
Innovation may very well be the most challenging aspect of creating a new product. Innovative thought has a highly unpredictable nature, often making it difficult to separate a fantastic new idea from something a little staler. Brainstorming is always the first port of call for entrepreneurs, though there is a worry that this is a hit-and-miss strategy. The fact of the matter is that lateral thinking techniques are absolutely necessary, though they are certainly not intended to be the only type of research in place. Mind-mapping, group facilitations, and consumer surveys are all a part of the innovation process. Unfortunately, this is where many entrepreneurs end their research and fall short as a result.
There is the assumption that product development needs to be rushed. The major error with this type of thinking is that the inevitable solution is a "quick fix", without any real understanding of which functions the product should fulfil or the problems it should solve.
Consumers are no longer looking for products from businesses that churn out one useless item after another. The modern consumer is looking for a message. Products need to fulfil a purpose whilst inciting some form of excitement at the same time. Proper marketing analysis is the only way to achieve genuine innovation. In-house brainstorming sessions no longer provide the ammunition needed to tackle the ever-growing, ever-changing consumer base.
Outsourcing in-depth primary and secondary market research is one of the most valuable tools available to up-and-coming companies. The outsider perspective, combined with years of experience in knowing what makes consumers tick, is what makes these analysts so invaluable at the early planning stages of product innovation.