According to a recent study, it was identified that only 55% of Brazilian companies have an innovation department.
At first, this information may seem troubling. After all, aren’t companies investing in innovation?
On the other hand, the question remains: is it necessary to have a department focused on innovation? Or can ideas be transformed into innovative solutions in a non-linear way within the company?
In this article, we will understand 6 ways to transform ideas into innovative solutions, deconstructing myths about innovation. Follow along!
After all, what is innovation?
First of all, the concept of innovation must be demystified. In a market taken by the constant need to implement digital transformation, the act of innovating ended up undergoing some changes in its concept.
However, now is the time to understand, in fact, what is and what is not innovation. Here are a few points about what is NOT innovation.
Innovation is not just creativity
It is the foundation of innovation and can be seen as the first step in developing innovative solutions. However, creativity alone does not guarantee innovation.
Innovating is not just inventing
Every day, thousands of inventions are prototyped and become available on the market. However, this does not mean that these inventions are, in fact, innovative solutions. For a solution to consolidate itself as an innovator, it needs to go beyond the invention: it needs to succeed in the market.
Innovating is not just launching products
This is very important: innovation does not need to be focused only on the delivery of the product itself. It can be applied in the service or even in the optimization of an internal process, which will add value to the end customer, even if the product is a commodity.
All these assumptions reveal, in fact, what innovation is: an idea that turns into an innovative solution thanks to its ability to solve a problem or improve a process.
In other words, it is not enough just to have innovative ideas, they need to be useful and adhered to by the final public. Let’s understand how to walk this path from the idea to the innovative solution.
6 Steps to Transform Ideas into Innovative Solutions
1. Explain the benefits
When we are immersed in a project, we are so caught up in making it happen that we can forget about contextualizing it for outsiders.
In the case of transforming ideas into innovation, it is essential that the solution is well accepted by people — customers or employees — and, for this, it will be necessary to convince people of why they need this solution.
For this, nothing better than showing how the innovative solution you are proposing meets the challenges and needs of a particular group, presenting the advantages focused on solving a specific problem.
2. Improve what doesn’t work before improving what works
We know that innovative ideas can occur at any time, but not all of them need to be executed together. If you and your team are in doubt about two or more innovative ideas, choose the one that can improve the weakest points of the process, product, or service.
For example, if you have an idea for pre-sales and an idea for after-sales, be sure to find out where the sales team has the most problems: in capturing or retaining customers. From there, focus your innovative solution on the most critical stage of the sales process.
As a result, adherence to your innovative solution tends to be greater on the part of the sales team, in addition to the fact that it will probably move faster in the company’s financial ratios, proving the importance of implementing the innovative solution proposed by you.
3. Build scalable solutions
Your idea may be good, but it needs to be beneficial to a larger group of people. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to create niche markets before implementing innovation. In fact, segmentation is important.
The point is that it needs to be highly scalable so that it can be cascaded to the entire market ecosystem. This means that as much as the company’s CEO is the big decision maker on innovation, you don’t have to create the solution just for him. It is necessary to think about how it can reach all other levels of the company after passing through the executive’s screen.
4. Ensure that there is a market to consume your solution
Let’s take a practical example: suppose Ferrari needs to innovate in order to increase its sales in regions where it has low penetration in Italy.
The obvious innovation would be to launch even more modern cars and campaign in cities where sales are low — as, for example, in Venice.
The big point here is that no matter how innovative your product is on the market, Venice has no roads, so selling any car there would be a waste of time. After all, it would create another problem for the consumer who would buy the car, since he would have no way to use it.
Therefore, a launch of innovation in the automotive category in Venice would be nothing more than an innovative idea, with no potential to become an innovative solution.
5 – Check the usability of your solution
You may have heard that we are in the age of experiences: terms such as Customer Experience, Employer Experience, User Experience have become part of everyday business vocabulary.
This also applies to innovation. After all, there is no point in having an innovative idea if it is not highly usable by consumers.
6 – Have a holistic view
Finally, it is important that your innovative solution does not generate new problems that need to be solved before or after the solution is consumed.
For example, let’s bring here Tesla’s innovation with its electric cars. We know their benefits, how these vehicles have excellent usability, and how scalable they are.
However, another factor that makes these vehicles even more innovative is the fact that Elon Musk modified the entire chain to ensure that his solution did not generate new challenges for the consumer.
More than selling electric cars, Tesla has invested heavily in items such as batteries and chargers for electric vehicles. After all, it wouldn’t do any good to have a car like this in the garage and not have the structure to make it work, would it?
So, did you get a better idea about how to turn good ideas into innovative solutions?
If you want to delve into the subject and get more insights to put innovation into practice in your company, how about attending our free Masterclass on Innovation and System Logic, taught by Professor Jacopo Filippo Bargellini, from CUOA Business School (Italy).
And if you’re looking for an international training in Innovation, check out some of the best short courses on Innovation at universities in the United States and Europe: