As markets become ever-more competitive and commoditised, the need to differentiate and innovate increases.
We see it across consumer, business and not-for-profit industries where organisations large and small clamour for elusive customer attention. The ‘me too’ approaches to new product and service development result in an obsession with what the competitors are doing and by default this results in copy-cat emulation which has a tendency to stifle creativity and new thinking.
For these reasons, many of the more progressive and thirsty companies move to the theories of innovation to refuel, differentiate and grow.
Innovation is a well-established ethos of looking outside of the box, challenging the traditional and seeking new and often unproven ways of working.
This is a great first step in the journey into new market sectors, finding new customers and expanding the range of products and services beyond the predictable. The intentions of those jumping on the wagon are invariably positive.
However attention can be short-lived as the pressures of short term commercial target achievement takes over from what is regularly a focus on mid-term improvements. Short term focus is a constant threat and when the eye is taken off of the moving ball that is innovation it can often result in a return to proven, predictable, and yet restrictive practices.
But there is a better way. Evidence-based innovation.
This outcome-focused approach to innovation steers those involved not only into setting a positive and eager mindset, but helps to secure evidence and tangible results en route.
Evidence-based innovation is all about balancing behaviours, outputs and processes. With behaviours it ensures that people’s time and commitment to innovation is highly valued and that the resource commitment is seen as an investment rather than a cost. With outputs it ensures that all meetings, idea storms and thinking time is documented and shared, as a legacy for future projects. With processes it is all about incremental improvements. Many of the best innovations came from little nuggets of gold, joined together, rather than one huge brainwave of an idea.
By combining the evidence of improved behaviours, outputs and processes, it drives those involved to look at their outcomes. What changed as a result of these thoughts, ideas and improvements. The outcome is the result of the change, not the change itself. This is true evidence-based innovation.
- Define your challenge
- Evaluate the current scenario
- ‘Idea storm’ incremental improvements to
- Prioritise short term, medium term, long term improvements
- Define the desired outcomes from implementing these improvements
- Monitor the change and ensure evidence-based reporting