07th Aug , 2020
Given the complete disruption to many business sectors with the current COVID-19 crisis, it is time to reassess your business’ capabilities and focus on what you should provide for both existing customers and new customers. This requires a healthy disrespect for what has succeeded in the past and a great deal of innovation and fast research. Therefore, one aspect of business where it is now critical to gain competitive advantage is strategic innovation.
“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” – Steve Jobs
We have seen strategic innovation leaping to the forefront for many businesses, such as switching manufacturing by innovating new products to meet the short-term demands of the current crisis. Service businesses have also moved from traditional approaches to increasingly supporting their clients or customers and taking a long-term view of these critical customer relationships. Their service offerings have also focused into new areas, such as support and business mentoring.
In Australia, we have seen examples of innovation such as distilleries now making much needed hand sanitiser. Clothing manufacturers have switched to produce protective clothing and equipment, such as hospital patient breathing ventilators. Restaurants and cafes adhering to social distancing guidelines have switched to new or greater take-away foods and beverages, as well as actively growing their home delivery options.
Just like creativity, strategic innovation needs a business environment of encouragement and facilitation. That is an area that a business mentor or business coach can assist with. Having run their own successful businesses and worked through many changing strategic scenarios, they can share their skills, experience and innovative skills to further assist business leaders to embrace their own strategic innovation as part of their evolving business models.
In a business sense, strategic innovation refers to creating more innovative business cultures and the supporting of effective business culture, processes, products and ideas. It must also deal with assessing and implementing the innovations by improving services or creating dynamic products, or both. Strategic innovation means evolving your business culture and model to make critical changes in your existing business ecosystem to deliver much better products or services. This requires you to actively manage your people, operations, sales and marketing, finance functions, funding, products and services, supply chain, systems and IT, social media and online presence, delivery, customers, and customer feedback. This must all be strongly focused on your adapted business strategy, which will need change and improvement actively embedded not just in the strategy, but in the business culture and mind set of all of your people in the organisation.
Strategic innovation must directly support your business growth strategy to not only create new sustainable and profitable products and services, but to stay ahead of the game and your competition, and also create new and longer lasting competitive edges. This is where a business mentor or coach can help.
Globally, strategic innovation has been pushed into an upward trend, and one of the themes is to create more environmentally sustainable products. This is something that governments and significant numbers of consumers demand more and more. In the UK for example, brewers are looking at replacing glass bottles with paper bottles. Nestle is researching and developing packaging to reduce plastics, reduce sugar and salt, and promote other healthier food options.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
As part of our business mentoring programs, International Business Mentors encourages strategic innovative thinking to maximise business potential. Our business mentors and coaches will challenge and support you in a confidential relationship aimed to improve business performance, support you, and facilitate you to more success. They will actively challenge strategic thought and processes such as new ideas and whether they’re good ideas for the business. They’ll also help address other important questions. What feasibility and market testing has been done? Does the business case stack up? What is the plan to implement? Do we have, or can we get the required capability and capacity, and can these ideas be funded? Will the innovations make a projected return that is acceptable given the risks? How does this new idea enhance the good reputation of the business and its leaders?
Our business mentoring and business coaching support is delivered by highly qualified and experienced business people. They are a valuable resource and significant personal support to you in this space. They provide a practised independent and impartial eye over innovation, business challenges and the wider and specific aspects of your business, while challenging you and giving you support.
“Some people look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not?” – Robert Kennedy.
Strategic business innovation is more than the next breakthrough of a product or service. It needs to embrace the cultivation of innovation, creativity and developing new ways to improve business processes and efficiencies. It also needs to be imbedded in the strategic plan for business growth strategies.
If your business sits on a knife’s edge for survival, or is in danger of the competition outperforming you as they evolve rapidly to compete in the emerging new business environment, then you need a business mentor or business coach.
A business mentor or business coach from International Business Mentors will guide, support and challenge you to meet emerging business challenges, re-align your strategy, and get you moving on strategic innovation to gain a competitive advantage and facilitate your business growth strategies.