Three Ways to Discover the Innovation That Will Meet Customer’s Needs

Marketplaces everywhere are becoming significantly more competitive, thanks to the new technologies and greater trading and information-sharing opportunities made available by the Internet. Innovation and the successful execution of new ideas are essential to a company being able to bring new and improved offerings to the market, become more profitable, and, most importantly, meet customer needs.

Innovation can take many forms, but it is first and foremost a creative process. Ideas can come from inside the company (e.g., your research and development department or even your employees) and even outside (can include customers, suppliers, industry reports, and even competitors). Success results when you filter these ideas, identify the ones that will strengthen customer loyalty, and then make them happen.

Here are three innovation sources that you can use to bridge the gap and meet customer needs.

  1. Use Your Internal Thought Leaders

When you encourage and attract their input, creative employees can improve your business by suggesting ways to:

  • Discover new sales and product development opportunities
  • Make your products and services stand out from the competition
  • Improve customer service

To make the most of this valuable internal resource, create an environment that encourages innovative and creative thinking. You can achieve this by:

  • Creating an atmosphere in which people feel free to offer ideas without risk of criticism.
  • Setting up processes to capture ideas, such as an online suggestion form or workshops designed to serve as brainstorming sessions.
  • Facilitating openness between employees and management by setting up intranets, company newsletters, and other forums that support the sharing of innovative ideas and knowledge.
  • Making innovation a priority (rock) in your annual and quarterly planning and measuring how much is actually happening.

You can even make creativity and innovative thinking a required qualification when hiring new employees.

  1. Look Outside Your Company

Be willing to look outside of your company and even your industry. Innovation is everywhere: just because you operate (for example) an app development business doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay close attention to what is going on in the life sciences or social media marketing sectors and take note of their recent innovations.

Inspiration for growth can come from unexpected sources. Pay close attention to up-and-coming trends within alternative or parallel industries in addition to your own.

  1. Reach Out to Your Key Customers

When you engage your key customers through surveys and focus groups, you can access the insight needed for innovation that is both valuable and meaningful to them.

These deeper connections with your customers help you understand their challenges, hopes, goals, and pain points. Focus groups are especially valuable in this regard because what they don’t say can be just as meaningful as what they do say, and you have a direct opportunity to probe deeper and ask more questions for clarification.

Many companies devote their time and resources to product development and fail to pay equal attention to the changing needs of their customers. If you would like to learn more about how innovation can be applied to grow your customer base in addition to your product line or would like to learn more about the Soterian process of Finding Your How (including creating and delivering a customer and employee survey), Click here to schedule a time to discuss how we can help!

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At Soterian, our goal is to help business owners like you think bigger. Bigger than today, bigger than your business, bigger than yourself.

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