"Innovation" Needs to Be More Than Just a Buzzword
Heidi Davidson, cofounder of Westchester-based Galvanize Worldwide, shares her thoughts on why “innovation” needs to be important — for every company.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “We need to be more innovative,” bandied about plenty of times. But what does this really mean, and why does innovation actually matter to your business? We need to challenge the preconceived notion that innovation is only about a new product or a new technology. Businesses can set themselves apart by adopting an innovation mindset and applying that to all aspects of their operations. Technological differentiation, a piece of the innovation mindset, is important, but it’s also hard to sustain. Being innovative in your processes and approaches to business can pay dividends well into the future.
Here are some key reasons why businesses should foster and embrace innovation:
The Innovation Mindset
In every part of your business, encouraging innovative thinking that challenges the status quo will create efficiency, inspire creativity, improve the customer experience, and drive employee satisfaction. It might even save you money. When employees are encouraged to look at business practices, find cost-savings opportunities and identify improvements in customer interactions, the improved practices might create greater efficiency or higher quality of customer care. Creating that innovation mindset in your employees increases their engagement to the mission of the business — and happier employees stay longer and drive deeper brand loyalty. Happier customers are critical for recurring revenue and growth, too.
“Encouraging innovative thinking that challenges the status quo will create efficiency, inspire creativity, improve the customer experience, and drive employee satisfaction.”
Often in a crowded field, innovation is a key differentiator that will set you apart from your competitors. This could be in the products that you offer, how you manage customer service, or how you empower your employees. But, it might also be in how you create your brand and talk about your business; how innovative you are in marketing yourselves — whether it’s the language that you use, your logo, your retail locations, or simply how you tell the story about what you do. This can be a very simple and inexpensive way to show you’re innovating and set yourself apart from the competition.
A community that supports and encourages innovation is one that attracts other like-minded innovators and fuels business growth. Seeing and hearing what other businesses are doing might inspire innovative ideas for your business, too. In Westchester, we’re lucky to have some great incubators, accelerators, and a vibrant business community. We’ve also got successful corporate brands that have longevity as a result of their ability to be nimble and innovate along the way. When businesses create a mindset of innovation internally, create innovation in their products, services and delivery, and are supported by the greater business community — this is a recipe for success.