09 May Innovation is a lot easier than invention
For decades it was all about new inventions. “What will they think of next?” people used to cry. We were amazed, intrigued and expectant with the wave of new inventions presented to us. The rocket ship, the personal computer, the mobile phone and the electric car all fundamentally change lives and societies. But the pace of invention has slowed somewhat in recent years and been replaced by innovation. However marketers often confuse the two terms and miss the opportunity to innovate because they are desperately trying to invent.
Consider the layman’s definition of innovation and you might be surprised; innovation at its most simplest is doing something better than it was done before. That’s it. So slight improvements or tweaks on an existing product or service count, as long as (and here’s the kicker), your market judges it as better. Not you, not your team, not your boss, not your Mum, but your customers. Today’s innovators, the likes of Uber, Air BnB, Warby Parker and EasyJet, all improved an existing experience sufficiently to disrupt a category, grow it or even create a new one.
How to innovate
The trick here is to look at the market, look at the customer and seek out “pains” that exist for the customer in that market. Then look at changes that are happening in the market or externally that could be applied to solve the pain point and improve it in some way. Then generate some ideas on how your organisation might innovate and test those ideas on a sample of the people in the market and adapt the idea accordingly. Then repeat that process; idea; test; iterate. Until you have your innovation which is going to get traction in your market.
So take some time, create a team of like-minded individuals and start the process. Most likely you’ll be surprised at your ability to affect change in your market by not trying to invent but trying to innovate.