Innovation is a fundamental aspect in growing and improving your business – it improves the efficiency, profitability and ultimately, the viability of your business. There is no denying the fact that we live in a time of a hyper competitive global economy where creativity has never been more important to achieving success.
“Innovation is a change that creates value”
All aspects of your business can benefit from innovation whether it is finance, human resources, research and development, sales and marketing or logistics. Your innovation does not have to be completely new or revolutionary – it may be a small but incremental improvement that results in a positive outcome. Your business competitiveness and survival is directly linked to your ability to innovate therefore, your business model must be agile to respond to marketplace changes whether that’s the entry of a new competitor, a change in the economy or an industry-specific law change.
At Ivy College we are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and deliver a better service to our students. In August this year, we were recognised for our innovations and placed 4th on the 2015 BRW Most Innovative Companies’ list. A fantastic result, Ivy now proudly wears the badge of being Australia’s top ranked education company. BRW recognised two of our innovations:
- Disrupting the Australian education sector by developing a flexible student-centric service model
- Our philanthropic business model – placing importance on innovating for good
This is the Ivy story but what about yours? How can your company get ahead in the innovation game? Let’s delve into how your business can unleash and capitalise on innovation*:
Disrupt the market
- People talk a lot about disrupting markets, but few successfully do it.
- Use technology to lead to business models that are innovative & disruptive in your space.
Create a creative culture
- Develop a creative culture that encourages and rewards employees for their innovative contributions
- Develop a strategic, responsive plan, which includes innovation as a key business process across the entire business
- Invest time and money on innovation to create resources (financial and human) to devote to the process of innovation
- Seek customer feedback
- Use your networks to generate new ideas, learn from others and access new business.
Leaders do not delegate innovation, they do it themselves
- Leaders at innovative organisations truly understand what innovation means in a practical sense – rather than just playing lip service to it.
- Furthermore, rather than delegating innovation to others, innovative leaders get their hands dirty & innovate themselves.
- Train and empower your employees to think innovatively from the top down. Inspirational leadership and motivation is what drives innovation in business.
Innovation is no longer happening behind closed doors
- The best companies put it out in full display to customers, clients and employees.
- Connect with customers and employees to generate ideas for improving processes, products and services both internally and externally.
Big doesn’t have to mean slow
- Applying Lean Start Up principles is gaining more traction within Australia’s most innovative companies.
- Lean Start Up methodologies to help fail fast, and more importantly, lean & iterate fast.
- Be Agile. Take a ‘test-learn-approach’.
Innovate for good
- Many innovations don’t just focus on improving the bottom line, they also value environmental and/or social improvements.
“Being innovative is about taking calculated risks which will require you to be positive, imaginative, fearless and undeterred by negativity, cynicism and resistance to change”.
*Source: Inventium’s 5 Big Innovation Trends
About the Author: Nicole Schaerer
Nicole Schaerer is Ivy College’s vibrant Social and Content Executive. A young gun with a curious mind, she has over 4 years’ experience in Marketing. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science and a Diploma of Marketing, she is always looking to learn something new. Nicole has a passion for writing and producing great content while also obsessing over TV shows, celebrities and really cute photos of puppies on Instagram.