A recent post discussed a very important business thought from the book, The Game-Changer by former Procter & Gamble Chairman & CEO, A.G. Lafley and business consultant, Ram Charan. In this post, let’s look at a different but just as vital lesson.
The subtitle of their book is: How You Can Drive Revenue And Profit Growth With Innovation. Early on, the author’s make several key points that set the tone for their teaching. A major one is:
“Innovation must be the central driving force for any business that wants to grow and succeed in both the short and long terms.”
One key point is that this cannot be left only to technical experts, or to luck. They say it must “become integral to the way you run your business. That means making innovation central to the goals, strategy, structure, systems, culture, leadership, and motivating purpose and values of your business.”
In other words, it’s not a matter of some genius working alone in a laboratory but is very much a matter of “key social interactions.”
Today, let’s discuss another aspect of wisdom they shared, and that is:
“To understand innovation, you first have to see the difference between an invention and an innovation.”
They define them as such:
Invention: A new idea that is often turned into a tangible outcome, such as a product or a system.
Innovation: The conversion of a new idea into revenues and profits.
As the authors say, “An idea that looks great in the lab and fails in the market is not an innovation.”
Being able to innovate helps the business owner or salesperson to change the game which, as the authors say, is to control your destiny.
So, what about those of us who are not – by our nature – innovators? Personally, I’m neither an inventor nor a natural innovator. You might be, but what if, like me, you are not? How do we stay competitive and even ahead in the game?
I believe that we create an environment for innovation. We can do this in several ways. We can align with innovators (in my case, Kathy Zader); we can Mastermind with innovators. We can hire innovators (though, we cannot abdicate responsibility). And, we can read and study those who are innovators, find out what they do, and utilize their knowledge to provide ourselves with ideas.
We can also take confidence in knowing that innovations don’t have to be huge in nature. Sometimes, just a tweak in the right direction makes a huge difference in the “thing” itself, and how it effects the bottom line.
How about you? Are you an inventor? An innovator? Both? Neither? How have you found the best way to create innovation?