We hope a lot, and that you’re willing to do anything! Because growth is a critical key metric for any organisation to survive.
Yet, time and time again, we see our members not giving the ‘time’ needed to focus on this in their day to day work. A likely reason being that growth and survival are directly linked to the importance placed on an innovative mindset within a firm. Something that our member surveys showed 50% of our industry isn’t prioritising or even thinking about!
A recent report by the New Zealand Productivity Commission  showed that innovating firms grew (in terms of size) at a faster rate than firms that didn’t. Where the average output growth of innovating firms in their first year was almost 5% faster than the non-innovating firms – rising to 8.5% after three years. Similarly, these firms had higher survival probabilities with more pronounced differences after three years.
Create an innovation policy
Our communication focus is ‘policy’ this month. And while many of us associate this word with government, governance, or a statement of intent to align expectations and standards of work – I thought differently.
I thought (and those with a growth mindset likely think) – policy translates to a growth agenda for an organisation. An ‘innovation policy.’
Organisations need rules and systems to operate effectively. So why not add innovation as an extra dimension to these rules and systems? If you value your company and want business growth, it seems a no brainer. It encourages freedom of thought, and the sharing of ideas – which ultimately impacts your performance for the better.
And, when linked to strategy, is a powerful tool that provides a road map on how to implement and execute those innovative ideas. It also signals to your team that innovation is important so you can effectively build a culture around it.
What is innovation?
Innovation isn’t just about building new products or services (although that’s important). It’s also about new ways of customer service, incorporating technology into business models, new management techniques and ways of organising and motivating staff.
Consumers trust innovative companies because it tells them you’re listening to them and delivering solutions that solve their problems.
Innovation helps your brand image. And, an effective innovation strategy keeps your company relevant!
A lack of responsibility and time, or listening to the nay-sayers is a recipe for disaster. We must tackle this head on. Innovation isn’t a buzzword. It’s a survival kit for your business.
The most innovative companies don’t have the best ideas, they have the tenacity and dedication to get ideas out there.
Top tips to overcome a lack of innovation in your business
At HERA, we’ve introduced our Innovation READY, SET, GO! program to help our members develop innovation strategies. Take advantage of this offer and develop one for your own organisation too.
Or, work through the below points to create ‘rules’ towards a working innovation policy:
- Consciously create a sense of crisis to urge action.
- Set more ambitious in-market deadlines.
- Get closer to your customer.
- Don’t commit to just one innovative idea.
- Make prototypes and test early to assess their potential.
- Trust the small ideas.
- Identify the nay-sayers early and protect innovations from them.
- Minimise use of the word ‘no’.
- Put innovation in everyone’s job description.
At the end of the day, adding innovation to your policy matrix will be the best decision you make for the sustainability of your organisation. So, start preparing that innovation policy and make it more than just a buzzword in your business!
If you’d like to know more about how this can be done, get in touch with our General Manager Industry Development Dr Boaz Habib.
 Wakeman, S., Conway, P., (2017), Innovation and the performance of New Zealand firms, Staff working paper 2017/2, New Zealand Productivity Commission, NZ