Innovation is fickle. There doesn’t seem to be any golden rules you can follow to guarantee success. Innovation for most companies is risky, expensive, demotivating and wasteful… except in those magical moments when it works. But even the best performers in your business that have had past successes, can fail spectacularly on new projects. It’s no wonder most Australian companies struggle to take innovation seriously and embed it into their business in a meaningful way. It can be a massively destabilising distraction. “Let’s just get the core business right first. There’s plenty of untapped opportunity there.” Right?
But what if you knew that some companies had worked out a way to innovate for 10% of the normal cost, and have achieved dramatic increases in their success rates?
Here are the top 3 counter-intuitive tips you need to know about how differently these companies run their innovation process. How many of them do you do? How ready is your organisation for a bit of self-disruption? It starts here…
- Never research, plan and launch
Great innovators get out of the building and work in the market from the outset. They constantly test ideas rather than assume their market and consumer reports contain the answers. They test and iterate with the very customers they are targeting until they know they are building exactly what the market is looking for. The idea of creating and then automatically launching a product and marketing campaign based even if it’s based on a plethora of excellent assumptions is against their religion.
- Never target a mass market
There is so much to be learned from the very first customers. So much in fact that it’s unrealistic to think you can get a new offer right the first time. Targeting a small number of customers and validating the concept with them, then building it out with ever increasing numbers of customers until you are ready to scale and take on the mass market, keeps the cost of innovating down and the likelihood of success up.
- Never set revenue targets
Revenue targets that are set at an early stage direct energy to thinking big, capturing big markets and generating big results. This is the opposite approach to learning, testing and building from a small base over time. Rather than revenue, in the early stages of a new concept the best innovators measure traction. They measure how captivated customers are with new offers first, and when they have that right they work out how to capture meaningful and long-term new revenue streams for the company.
These fundamental concepts of new-age innovation have been used by startup companies for years. They have been the testing ground for a methodology that has enabled them to beat the big guys. We believe everyone can learn these methodologies and we have trained and guided thousands of people to put them into practice, from employees of big companies, to scientists at the CSIRO. The quickest way to test how effective these processes can be is to put them into action yourselves. A 2-day Microhack should do the trick. But be quick … because isn’t this about the time of year that budgets generally get cut? And the innovation budget is one of the first ones to go, right?
Are you disrupting your industry, or being disrupted?
Partner & Startup Scientist
Tristonne is a Startup Scientist and the Melbourne Partner at Pollenizer, Australia's first and most experienced incubator. Pollenizer invests in startups and designs incubation and acceleration programs for some of the world's biggest companies.
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