Author: Gerry Murphy, former president, SunGard
Most people probably think of innovation as the process of creating something new. What some may not realize is that invention is just one type of innovation. There are multiple ways to be innovative in your business. As we face a changed landscape, we should all be thinking about different kinds of innovation and what makes sense for your business.
In thinking about this topic, I gathered some ideas from Raj Mahajan, president of SunGard’s trading segment. Like me, Raj has been contemplating the challenges and opportunities around innovation quite a bit this year, and I appreciate his input. I also gathered additional ideas from the brokerage & clearance team and came up with 8 ways to achieve innovation:
1. Innovation through new product generation or invention: Perhaps the most obvious form of innovation, this comes through creating something from scratch.
2. Innovation through product enhancement: This is another common type of innovation: finding ways to improve upon the products your organization already has in its arsenal. This may mean adding a useful feature or changing an existing one.
3. Innovation through acquisition: Another way to achieve innovation is to diversify and strengthen your organization through acquisition. This is a popular choice for many organizations.
4. Innovation through business model adaptation: Adapting your business model is a way to innovate at your organization that can change how you deliver and how customers may procure your offerings. One of the ways this is being achieved at many organizations today is through the implementation of SaaS solutions.
5. Innovation through experience: Loosely related to innovation through product enhancement, this powerful form of innovation involves finding ways to improve or augment your customers’ experience. This model could cover new services, more streamlined workflow, automation, relationship management, and more.
6. Innovation through ideation: Before innovation can be achieved, you need to find the ideas that can spur that innovation. One place to focus is on gathering and filtering ideas about how to improve.
7. Innovation through execution: You may have gathered some great new ideas about what to change, but if you cannot execute on those ideas, then you will not fully achieve innovation. I read an interesting Harvard Business Review blog recently entitled “Innovation is Not Creativity” that goes deeper into this concept.
8. Innovation through collaboration: While similar to innovation through ideation, the concept of collaborative innovation takes this a step further. Gathering ideas from a wider set of people – whether employees or another group – and then giving them the opportunity to shape the ideas by combining their diverse perspectives can be a powerful way to spur innovation and develop smart plans to execute and achieve your goals.
Certainly, not every innovation style works for every organization or business. But I believe that in changing times, it is important to look for new ways to grow, improve and adapt.
Would add anything else to this list? What types of innovation make sense for your business? Do you stick with what you know you’re good at, or do you prefer to stretch yourself to achieve a new form of innovation?