Many large companies have been innovating for years with great success by not only creating and launching new products, but creating new product categories. The problem is that for a lot of these larger companies they have been responding to the difficult economic times by reducing the amount that they spend on innovation, which is resulting in far less meaningful innovations. Relying on any business strategy without innovating on the possible negative outcomes is a dangerous process that many large companies tend to make if they get complacent. By reducing the innovation spend they aren’t allowing their highly creative innovation teams to drive the solution and work on a possible blockbuster innovation.
Drawing on the unique experiences and expertise of various people within the organization allows companies to leverage the creative potential and reduce the cost of innovation. Focusing on the solution and then letting all of these people come up with ideas is a great start, but there needs to be a process in place to make sure that they ideas can be tested and implemented in a resource effective way. The economic future may be unstable but using all of the creative resources that are available with the company will allow these large innovation factories to restart and to once again pump out innovative consumer products.
It is important to balance the innovation of new products with the iterations and improvements on existing products for best results. In times of economic plenty it is often the case that companies shift their resources to innovating new products, but the focus shifts when the economics are a little more turbulent as they tend to be conservative and just iterate on their existing line. For best results independent of the economic climate, a balanced approach should be used that cycles periods of new innovation with improvements and iterations.
Introducing other means of innovation can be a cost and resource effective way to continue producing ideas and solutions. Some of these methods include co-creation with customers, open innovation, or strategic partnerships. Having a strategy that cycles and uses each of these methods that make sense for your business strategy can allow you to innovate in any situation.
When the innovation well starts to run dry up there are plenty of ways to spark new innovative idea, but make sure that you keep as many resources available for innovation will help to keep this from happening. Periodically using your innovation process to create solutions for a more effective process can keep the resources that it requires to a minimum; without sacrificing any of the quality of ideas. If your company is having trouble with internal innovation processes you can leverage your network and introduce even more creative power into your business.