It is absolutely crucial for a commercial enterprise to foster a spirit of universal creativity. All too often, we see massive capitalistic ventures fail to adapt to the marketplace. This failure to adapt, in reality, means a failure to survive. However, if said company were to cultivate a creative spirit and an innovative atmosphere from the beginning, then the ideas which culminated outside of the organization (and led the company to wither) would have been created inside, and would have propelled the commercial entity to triumph rather than failure. Innovation is mandatory for success. It is suicide to ignore. Over the course of my business career, I have come to know several truths regarding innovation. Here are a few:
Innovation Never Stops
While it is often very easy to attribute innovation to a single moment of brilliance, an individual instance of “eureka”, we know that is not the case. There is no one minute where it all comes together in a transcendental flash of genius. Rather, innovation is the result of resilient resolve, of undying commitment. Alexander may have discovered penicillin in 1928, but it was in 1943 that it was implemented on a mass scale. To perceive innovation as a goal that can simply be accomplished is to be wrong. Rather, innovation is a lifestyle choice, a way of thinking that can never be left by the wayside. Even when a company resides at the forefront of innovation, they must never stop thinking, “What can be done better?” The fact is, someone is always thinking “What can be done better?”, and if your company is not the first to come up with an answer, you will be left behind.
Innovation is a Team Effort
To innovate is to be part of a team. What you cannot solve, someone else can solve. To simply have the idea is, quite frankly, not good enough. It takes a team to have a creative idea, to rationally develop that idea, and then to logistically put that idea into motion. While an individual may excel in brainstorming what can be done better, that same individual may very well not have the logistical expertise to take that idea to market. It is for this reason that cohesive teamwork is such an integral facet of innovation.
The 70/20/10 Rule
Never stop improving your core business model. While naturally, when we think innovation, we think external projects and outside research, the truth is that core business improvement is more significant. Cite the 70/20/10 rule. 70% of your resources should go towards improving your existing technology. 20% of your resources should go towards developing adjacent markets. 10%, a lowly 10%, should go towards developing entirely new products or services. Never stop thinking what could be done better, but never neglect the business that brought you success in the first place.