Can innovation help your business get ahead?

by Kate on October 5, 2012

Over the last two weeks I’ve written a couple of times about the importance of looking for better, smarter ways to do business. So it was interesting last night to attend a discussion, hosted by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, about Corporate Innovation.

No surprise to see panel members from the academic world, and Aussie Tech success Atlassian, but I was curious about Nick Aronson, from CommBank.

Innovation wasn’t a word that came into my mind when thinking about banks.┬áSo it was fascinating to hear how that bank has chosen to make innovation and technology its point of difference (example here). It does make sense, given the way we are using technology for payments and the opportunity that presents for bank customers to be more efficient with financial management. Plus, if you’re a bank, finding truly innovative ways to operate could dramatically improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve service.

One of the panel members defined innovation as “The collision of ideas that creates value for a business”. Defined this way, innovation doesn’t stop with the idea, something is done with it that benefits the business.

So, innovation isn’t just creating cool new products, it can be about process, and using old ideas in new ways. The key is it brings ideas together and creates value for customers and the business.

On this basis, any business might choose innovation as a platform to help it stand out and create value. According to one of the panellists, innovation happens in every business, it’s just that not all shine a light on that. What if you did?

Business faces a plethora of challenges in this economic climate: to grow, bring new products and solutions to customers, contain costs, improve productivity of people, money and infrastructure, increase financial efficiency and so on.

As Einstein said:

The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

The ability to innovate both in product and process is looking more and more like it’s something we need to take on board to help stay ahead of the pack.

Some questions to consider:

  • Where is innovation occurring in our business at the moment?
  • Are we creating value from the collision of ideas (or are they just ideas)? Specifically, how?
  • What could we do to create more value for customers and the business?
  • What difference could it make if our business was known for its innovative approach?

 

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