9 Ways to Start Innovating Today

Your Go-To Guide for Putting Innovation at the Heart of Your Company

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

The ability to come up with new ideas, services, and products is a vital part of being a successful business today. Innovation, however, is easier said than done. Luckily, there are several steps you can take toward putting innovation at the heart of your company. To help you on your journey into the world of innovation, we’ve put together your go-to guide to thriving in this tech-savvy environment.

Keep reading to learn more.

  1. Kick start your innovation
  2. Reimagine your systems
  3. Dream with your team
  4. Put customers at the center of your thinking
  5. Solve meaningful problems for your business and customers
  6. Supercharge your product team
  7. Illuminate opportunity
  8. Embrace new technologies
  9. Be ready for the next leap

1. Kick start your innovation

Bring your business future to life and get ahead of the competition with a design sprint. A design sprint is a phased framework that encourages fast collaboration between team members of different disciplines and is focused on getting to the innovation intent of the business through exploration.

An effective design sprint can help you bring your roadmap to life. By applying service design methods, you can test concepts, get past internal roadblocks, and gain key learnings quickly to reach clearly defined goals and deliverables.

The process brings innovative thinking to the forefront and revolves around the user of the service or product. The takeaway is a vision made tangible and a plan to go to market.

2. Reimagine your systems

If the web is the internet of information, blockchain is the internet of value. Blockchain connects multiple parties and provides a way to record and transfer data between these parties that is secure, auditable and built on trust. In the coming five to ten years, blockchain will disrupt the way many organizations operate and connect with one another.

Changing how you transact and share information with other parties can have a profound impact on your business. You can improve your supply chain efficiency, simplify information sharing, benefit from quick and inexpensive financial settlements, and keep your transactions secure.

To implement blockchain technology, you have to reimagine your systems. To get you started, you must first understand that prototyping blockchain technology is less about the technology and more about the understanding of the operational processes connecting your business with others.

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a few “get started” quick tips:

  1. Detail the current and future features of your business and prioritize their importance.
  2. Review your software currently in production and evaluate the needs for application updates and integrations.
  3. Think about the situations, motivations and expected outcomes of your parties’ interactions.
  4. Create an application map to illustrate your strategy.
  5. Work with technology partners to develop voice scripts into a working voice control application.

3. Dream with your team 

Being an innovative company is not about how many apps you put into the market. It’s about the people you bring together and the culture you foster. Leverage the myriad talents of your employees and put innovative thinking at the heart of your team with a “Hackathon.”

There are two types of hackathons: Design-Led and Idea. Both involve bringing your braintrust together to focus on solving specific issues or business problems. The major difference is that Idea Hackathons are “no-code”, and therefore, for everyone infusing design thinking into the organization.

But there are many keys to running an effective Hackathon.

  1. Cultivate an environment of collaboration, learning, and fun
  2. Create an experience that will inspire participants
  3. Focus participants to the latest trends and technologies that will make an impact on the business

After a successful Hackathon, you’ll leave with innovative ideas that will enable experiences for your customers.

4. Put customers at the center of your thinking

Digital experience now spans every step of the customer journey. Customers expect you to provide the right service, on every channel whenever they need it, and to deliver personalized experiences.

With more channels emerging, it is crucial for businesses to fix issues with their current digital channels and identify opportunities to create new experiences in order to get ahead of the competition and grow loyalty and revenues.

But how do you create experiences that customers love and that will grow the business? Take the following steps toward the future of your digital business with a Digital Experience Audit.

  1. Take a walk in the shoes of your customer to understand their behavior
  2. Map your customer touchpoints, auditing the experience you have today and identifying future opportunities to improve
  3. Understand the competitive landscape to see how you compare and to gain inspiration
  4. Prioritize your digital experience roadmap
  5. Choose the most compelling experiences and create prototypes to test
  6. Create a vision for the future of your digital platform
  7. Create a plan which will deliver ROI and the future of your business

By conducting an Omnichannel Digital Experience Audit, you can create an innovative plan that will transform the way your channels are connected, delight your customers and ultimately lead to business success.

5. Solve meaningful problems for your business and customers

Software design and development projects can be ambiguous and complex. To create an innovative digital product, you must first understand your ideas and goals for the product, how the product will be used by people, and what role it plays within someone’s life. Think about how your product could make customers’ lives more efficient and enjoyable, and how it could result in more value for your business.

Once you have clearly defined these ideas and goals, take the following steps:

  1. Develop the product requirements
  2. Create your future roadmap
  3. Prototype and test as you go

Going through the process of a thorough product discovery can not only lead you to innovative products but can get them to market efficiently and serve real roles within your user’s lives

6. Supercharge your product team

To develop a new digital product, it’s important to combine design, product and development teams. By collaborating with a cross-disciplined team, you can create an innovation pipeline that can be delivered efficiently. Each role focuses on a different area, making them a well-balanced team that can create product strategy that marries customer experience and business goals.

The design, product and development experts can help you:

  • Engage: Understand the customer and the market
  • Make: Experiment with product concepts and make strategy tangible
  • Run: Design and build the product and platform
  • Evolve: As products go to the market, teams gather data and feedback to create a strategy for new features

The end result is a product that is connected to the business and the customer.

7. Illuminate opportunity

As you work toward discovering innovation that could drive your company forward, it’s important to take technology trends as well as customer and business needs into consideration. With this in mind, you can develop a strategy to ensure innovations can impact across the business, not just in silos where innovations make limited impact.

To systematically innovate, take the following steps:

  1. Identify opportunities: Focus on your end customers to define your innovation goals
  2. Prototype and learn: Run multiple experiments to learn at a lower cost
  3. Partner with the future: Collaborate with innovative companies and technologies to get to market faster
  4. Create your future roadmap: Move successful experiments into production, becoming the future of your digital business

8. Embrace new technologies

The next evolution of technology is emerging due to the scarcity of time. People today are seeking ways to reduce the time they spend on their daily tasks and their devices. That’s where voice interaction comes in. There are enormous opportunities to enhance your customer experience by adding Voice UI to your product. In fact, by 2021, more than 1.8 billion people will be using voice digital assistants, and voice is projected to drive $11.7 billion in revenue.

To start adding Voice UI, first identify users and which problems they face so that you can then create features that will make their tasks more efficient. Then you can begin mapping out how the conversation will be structured, such as what commands and responses would be used. Finally, you can start developing, testing and refining your product.

No matter who your customer is – voice will play a major role in your future engagement with them. Incorporating voice technology can bring your brand and service to life, allow you to be present in the home of your customers, and get ahead of the competition.

9. Be ready for the next leap

To stay on top of what will happen in the mainstream years down the road, it’s important to follow technology trends and innovation. Future Tech Mapping compares customer and business needs with technology trends to identify future opportunities. Evaluate, experiment and refine technological innovations to be ready for the next leap.

In order to start innovating in your business, you need to be willing to fail. Try things quickly to determine what works and what doesn’t, and learn and gain confidence along the way. You have to start somewhere — take your first steps with any one of these methods.

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