The effective implementation of new ideas is critical to your capacity as an organization in enhancing your processes, particularly in delivering unique and profitable products and services to the market and boosting your efficiency in responding to your customers’ needs.
As the competition gets tough, organizations strive to create new concepts and technologies that can resolve existing issues within their industries. The novelty of these solutions, and how they are being carried out, is what attracts customers and drives their loyalty.
That’s why finding and implementing innovative solutions is definitely a great step forward for every business. The question here though is how you can successfully do it.
In this article, you will learn how to effectively create new and innovative solutions for your business.
How to find innovative solutions in business
Discovering new and innovative business solutions can help you fix the difficulties that arise within your current processes, or even those that your customers face at a certain period.
Once you figure out how you can productively find the best solutions, you can accelerate significant changes and create more profitable ideas for the organization.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Identify the problem
Finding solutions is all about getting the problem right. Most businesses aren’t extensive enough in identifying the challenges that they are aiming to address.
As this happens, firms lose out on the opportunity to pursue strategically-aligned projects. A fact which unfortunately means squandering resources on a technical aspect and not being able to cater to the right audience.
As a result, innovation projects go down the road and funds end up being wasted. Desired outcomes aren’t met and initial plans are left unexecuted. Because of this, businesses have to carefully tread on identifying problems, and they can do this in four comprehensive steps.
- Define the problem in the simplest way possible. Highlight the significance of the issue to understand what resources are needed to resolve them.
- Determine an issue that your organization wants to address. List down the problems that your customers face and select an issue that you’d like to resolve. Present it plainly as it is and focus all your attention on it.
- Enumerate the results that you would like to achieve. Discover the viewpoints of your consumers and other relevant parties. Remember to avoid biases upon choosing your preferred methods of solving the problem. Set clear and precise targets, particularly those that correspond to your company’s innovation objectives.
- Find out who your potential audience is. Make sure that they understand the value of your innovation and that they’d actually use it or avail of it in some way.
2. Study the problem
See the problem in action. Talk to your employees and your customers to have a deeper grasp of the issue. Widen your scope and learn more about its other aspects. Examine it from different angles and establish possible methods of solving it.
Below are some of the things that you can do to fully dissect the problem:
- Analyze and document every factor that minimizes and aggravates the problem. Figure out its root cause and identify how it negatively impacts the lives of your prospective customers and other beneficiaries.
- Pinpoint any particular circumstance that springs from it and observe its existing relationship with factors like damages and time.
- Evaluate if solving the problem supports the goals and objectives of the organization. Moreover, assess whether your approach brings economic growth and possibilities for development.
- Set revenue targets to achieve in a specific span of time. If you’re aiming to obtain a market share, steer your efforts in that direction and determine the appropriate steps to get there.
- If you want to sell something, identify the people who would most likely purchase your product.
- Determine what other brands offer as a solution to your problem. You’d want your innovation to be unique and original.
Assuming that a solution has already been identified, uncover potential bottlenecks and constraints. In addition, find someone in the organization who is knowledgeable and responsible enough to be assigned as the person-i-charge.
Regardless of your innovation project, this person has to believe in what your team is planning to execute so he can lead it right. He must be capable of conducting high-level discussions inside the firm in order for innovation teams to obtain the resources that their idea might require.
Remember that even if you are still in the process of studying the problem, it would be helpful for you to consider what resources are at your disposal, and what alternatives are there in case things don’t go your way.
3. Gather as many ideas as possible
Before you begin your ideation process, determine what methods have been tried in attempts to solve the problem. The goal here is to uncover solutions that may have already been tried in the past, as reviewing previous attempts can help you save money and time.
There are several resources available to assist you in producing fresh ideas for the company. You can tap your business partners, suppliers, customers, employees, and all other relevant persons and parties that can give significant outputs in your creative process.
To achieve this, you must establish an innovative atmosphere and a culture of creative thinking within the business.
Here’s what you can do to obtain it:
- Provide specific procedures and venues to submit ideas. Create digital idea boxes to make it more convenient for those who would like to participate in your ideation activities.
- Establish a steady environment where individuals are encouraged to communicate their thoughts without the fear of criticism.
- Train your employees to be risk-takers. Teach them how to make calculated measures against hazards so they feel empowered to experiment on their novel thoughts without being anxious about falling short.
- Be receptive to people’s suggestions. Encourage innovation teams to share their information, ideas, and expertise with one another. Get them to work together and collaborate on innovation tasks.
- Emphasize accountability. Even if you have appointed a person in charge, inspire your employees to take initiatives responsibly. In short, make everyone feel that they matter.
- Acknowledge progress and motivate them by giving out incentives.
4. Select the best ideas
Choosing the best ideas for innovation projects limits innovation risks. Not every venture for innovation creates positive profit, so it’s better to focus on the ones that have the highest rate of success.
Provided how these projects require time and other resources to implement, it is wise to ensure that they bring value to either the customers or the business.
To choose which ones are the most beneficial for the company, create a set of standards where you can thoroughly assess them from. Base these criteria on your desired outcomes and convey them to concerned parties.
Below are a few pointers on what to consider during the idea selection process:
- Strategic alignment. Strategically aligned ideas gain the support of top stakeholders as they see a huge array of possibilities that are in line with the objectives of the business. While picking which ideas to convert into projects, develop a holistic approach that includes your business strategies and innovation goals.
- Return on investment. One of the most significant factors in choosing innovation concepts to prioritize is a positive ROI that is helpful to the business. However, profitability by itself is not always the best element to consider in ranking ideas. As an innovation manager, you need to consider long-term effects as well.
- Timelines. Something else worth considering is how long it would take for the task to be accomplished. When can it yield profits? At what phase is it scalable? Taking time into consideration enables you to set proper deadlines and monitor its progress should you choose to bring that idea to life.
5. Experiment with the best ideas
Testing ideas is an essential component of innovation. It aids in identifying possible flaws early on, amplifying new information, lowering expenses, and averting costly errors.
The methodical testing of ideas allows businesses to build and enhance their products, internal processes, services, and many more. It transforms ideas into products through simulations and rapid prototyping.
Aside from this, companies should experiment with the best ideas because:
- Experimentation provides the feedback necessary to mold and enhance concepts for the better.
- Findings must be integrated early in the product development process. Otherwise, designs may need to be changed later to accommodate test findings.
- When a novel concept flops in an experiment, significant information gaps are revealed.
- Projects that collapse in the later part of the development phase may generate far-reaching consequences, like wasted resources and time.
- Experimentation keeps organizations aware of evolving customer preferences, helping them create the necessary adjustments for the final results to suit their clients better.
- A company may achieve its ideal innovation sooner at a lower cost by experimenting with different types of factors and technology.
Keep an eye on the implementation while moving on to the next problem
Now that you have done the five steps of finding innovative solutions, you now have a concept that you would like to pursue. If so, you can now begin with your blueprint for the execution stage. Before you begin, choose the right people to do this with you.
Assign them with tasks and set up realistic goals and deadlines for them to follow. Lastly, don’t forget to set up benchmarks and KPIs to track your progress. Celebrate success when you’ve achieved it and give out rewards to drive engagement.
Keep an eye on its implementation while moving on to the next problem. If you need more information about idea management, grab a free copy of our idea management ebook and learn what to do next.