Using Innovation for Success in Business and With Customers

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow” – William Pollard

As per the quote, companies that rest on their laurels and believe that because something worked in the past, it would continue to be effective in the present and future too, are the companies that are most likely to fail. For success in business and with customers, every company must strive to innovate, learn, and be better than they were. A company that claims to be innovative, would not believe in one-off changes and improvements, but would focus on constantly improving and taking incremental steps towards improving and enhancing aspects about their business. Companies must make innovation a culture – by putting it as one of its values, and encouraging and rewarding fresh new ideas from its employees, customers, and other business ‘partners’. For success in business and with customers, it is imperative for a company to have an open and forward thinking approach with regard to innovation – it should not be limited to the introduction of new products, and services, but where required, completely changing and revamping business operations in order to provide service excellence.

Using innovation for success in business and with customers is all about a company’s approach to and use of the latest technology, tools, and a mind-set that enables it to constantly change and improve its systems and processes. Of course, innovation and creativity cannot happen in a vacuum and would require the efforts of everyone in the company, and other associates of the company, ensuring that what customers receive would always be top class and relevant to their most current needs and desires. By maintaining a focus on innovation, everyone in the company would know their role, and would work to improve their own work performance and the efficiency of the business processes.

We believe that innovation brings success in business and with customers for a number of reasons. We know that customers like associating with companies that appear competitive, intelligent, and extremely open to receiving and implementing new ideas. Given this as the base, companies that promote and encourage innovation are able to increase efficiency, lower their costs, use the available resources more efficiently, and produce better quality products. The employees of such a company would be more competitive and effective, since the work environment would be challenging and would encourage them to push themselves to produce better results in a lesser amount of time. As employees feel encouraged and rewarded, they tend to work better with each, get better at finding solutions, and strive towards professional and personal development. Any company with an energized workforce is always a force to reckon with and gaining success in business and with customers is never hard. Innovative companies strive to learn all the time – this in turn pushes them to improve their existing offerings, while also constantly remaining focused on creating products and services that customers would not be able to get anywhere else.

Using innovation in a company for success in business and with customers is all about – constantly improving operational capability, revamping business strategy, understanding the market dynamics, and remaining committed to providing service excellence to customers. All these factors, of course, must add value to the business as well. Apart from all these factors, it would be imperative for a company to use its most valuable and greatest asset to innovate constantly. This asset for any company would be its employees- without them a company would not really exist or be able to function. In order to create and use innovation for success in business and with customers, the employees of the company must receive encouragement to think innovatively, share their experiences and knowledge, provide ideas and recommendations, and receive recognition or rewards for the best ideas. For any idea to succeed with employees, it would be necessary for the company to make it part of the culture – that is everyone must realize the importance of the idea, and know that they would not be penalized and or ridiculed, for sharing any idea or thought that they believe could ‘qualify’ as being innovative.

Further to the point of using employees to make innovation part of the culture, it would be wise for a company to hire right. While it would be necessary to hire people who share the company’s vision and values, it would be prudent to ensure that these people come from different backgrounds, have varied perspectives and capabilities, and have the ability to solve problems in highly innovative and creative ways. Having a diverse workforce and providing an environment that would allow them to work together cohesively yet innovatively, each bringing their own ideas to create something new and useful. For employees to remain open to new ideas and creative ways of doing things, it would be necessary for the company’s leaders to set examples of innovative behavior for their employees. We know that employees emulate the actions and behaviors of their leaders, hence it would be necessary for the leaders to remain open and approachable to new ideas and thoughts, encourage various events and activities to help employees have new and varied thinking environments, and ensure that great ideas never go unnoticed and unrewarded.

Simply getting ideas and suggestions does not suffice. It is imperative for a company to ensure that it has a robust process to put the implementable ideas into force in a timely fashion. Good ideas can prove to be unfruitful if they are not executed in a time-bound and effective manner. Implementing quickly through a structured process is required to ensure that the ideas have the desired result and positively influence the business, drawing it closer to its goals. As mentioned, innovation can easily wilt and die if employees do not receive encouragement in the form of rewards and recognition. A robust reward and recognition process would ensure that employees consistently strive to do better, and earn the lucrative job roles and development opportunities that the company would afford them. Rewarding employees shows them that they are valued and that their contribution to the company is highly appreciated, which in turn would make them feel good about whatever job role they would be performing and would strive to get better each day.

It is necessary for a company to actively create openings and opportunities for its employees to practice innovation. Job rotations, work in cross-functional teams, meetings and seminars to brainstorm new ideas, opportunities to be part of improvement committees, overseas short-term assignments, and other such incentives are great ways to breed, foster, and use innovation for success in business and with customers. The more employees can collaborate and work on new and exciting projects, the more eager they would be to come up with useful and innovative ideas. This in turn would lead to employees trusting their co-workers and respecting the diversity of each of them. The company must also have a robust process to ensure that every employee undertakes training for some number of hours a month. This would help them to gain fresh perspectives, new ways of thinking, gain additional knowledge and experience, and overall be able to translate all the learning to improve their own performance and add to the vitality and knowledge of their teams and the company.

Innovation is crucial for success in business and with customers. It leads to a complete change in the mind-set of a company, increases its efficiency, allows it to look at different ways to provide service excellence – all of which would lead to enhance profitability and sustainable success.

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