What is it that separates the super successful from the average in business? What is that special ingredient that creates fortunes?
I have pondered this question long and hard and I believe it is not just innovation, but strategic innovation which separates the wheat from the chaff. Innovation simply means to evolve. And when we look at evolution in nature, any species that fails to evolve, i.e. it stops bringing something to the table, it is eliminated, it goes extinct, this is the same in business.
Strategic means to have a desired outcome, i.e. a map to get from A to B, a plan if you like. It is naïve to innovate for the sake of innovation, but by researching, analysing and keeping abreast of trends within your niche innovating strategically can have superb results.How do you know if your innovative idea has had an impact? Well the key ingredient to this is measuring your results. Why spend time, resource, money investigating what your customers want, researching your market place and creating new ideas without following up with a metric to measure the success or failure. The ability to act quickly to address issues and problems puts you in a far stronger position than just assuming things are ok.
Just look at the success of Starbucks. Howard Schultz noticed that coffee in Italy was big business but it was served differently there than in America. Coffee in Italy was about the experience, they simply served coffee, but the service was personalised with the server knowing the customers preferences and even name. This inspired Schultz, he decided to strategically innovate the way in which coffee was sold in America and opened his first Starbucks in 1971.
The Starbucks way is to make the work environment a fair, happy and pleasant place to work as they believe in employee engagement impacts significantly on customer service delivery, they serve only the best quality coffee and make the experience totally bespoke for each customer, asking for your name and giving you choice to bespoke the coffee to your liking, Skinny Mocha Choca Latte anyone? Starbucks bucked the trend of “traditional coffee shops” in America, but through research, implementation and measurement of the results it is now worth a staggering $2.3bn worldwide.
In summary the key takeaways from this are you must innovate in ways which will delight your customers. Dare to be bold. Make researched choices, implement the change, but also make sure you have a system in place which will measure the results.