By Emily Woodman
In today’s business environment, it literally doesn’t pay to stick to tradition and go with the old motto, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Because, unfortunately, many organizations don’t realize that something is indeed “broken” until it’s far too late.
Such was the case with well-known companies, like Blockbuster, the former king of movie rentals, for example. There was a time that they could have implemented changes that would have pushed them ahead of Redbox or maybe even Netflix. Think about it — consumers tend to put their trust (AND money) into household names, rather than taking a chance on their loyalty. So, it stands to reason that customers would have flocked to Blockbuster to rent their favorite flicks without the confines of a brick-and-mortar store. And they did eventually come to this realization, but they had missed their chance at pivoting toward innovation.
Whether your company is a global corporation or a brand-new startup, it’s important to look within your organization to begin to implement change, to create disruptions and, ultimately, to continue to grow. Let’s take a look at a few tips that should put you on the path toward a variety of inspiring new ideas!
1. Identify Your Intrapreneurs
An intrapreneur is an employee who completely understands and embraces the goals and the culture of a business, and will function just like an entrepreneur. Every company has at least one and, if luck is on your side, perhaps more. They are the perfect people to have by your side as you begin to get creative and spread the seeds that will grow your business.
But how do you identify an intrapreneur on your team? They are typically:
- Extremely self-motivated
- Energetic team players
- Always willing to take initiative
- Not afraid to think outside of the box
- Eager to step up to a leadership role
- Phenomenal mentors
- Ready to spring to action
- Fully responsible for their work
2. Schedule Brainstorming
Now that you’ve identified the intrapreneurs who can help you take your company to the next level, what’s the next step? Begin brainstorming immediately! Set up a time at the office that will not take your newly found intrapreneurs away from their work, and give them an open floor to discuss ideas and feel inspired.
Be very clear about the fact you’re not after the ordinary, but you’re looking for something to shake things up. If a business strategy hasn’t worked for other organizations, don’t think that it will work for yours just because you have a better team. Instead, pick up suggestions that are a little risky and will require a lot of input. Remember, there is often no reward without risk!
3. Research and Discover
Once you have a gameplan on the table, it’s time to move into what many refer to as the “discovery stage.” This requires extensive, thorough market research so that you can see where your competitors may have failed and which changes you can make to achieve a positive outcome.
Often, large corporations become too eager to begin utilizing new plans and ideas, without first researching and exploring customer-related evidence that may be imperative to success. In short, you’ll need real-world data to ensure that the best methods are being implemented.
4. Test Your Ideas
And of course, testing your ideas after research may be the most important step. If you execute a strategy without the proper planning and testing, chances are good that it will soon fail or, worse yet, begin to unravel when it will affect the bottom line the most.
It’s best to select a number of test samples, so that you may more accurately ascertain which outcomes will serve both you and your customer base. Whether you’re testing a new product line or an innovative business model, knowing in advance how your customers will respond can allow you to pivot and make changes before doing so is no longer cost-effective.
5. Create an Innovative Culture
Finally, once a system has been established and put in place, maintaining it is a large part of the process. Therefore, creating a culture that fosters innovation is imperative, as the ideas will keep coming, and your intrapreneurs will continue to grow and perhaps even inspire other team members.
Innovation can be contagious. Who wouldn’t want a workplace environment that is always brimming with excitement, always on the brink of the next big thing?
Once this culture becomes a way of life, it can spread beyond the organization and bring fulfillment and creativity to your team outside of their nine-to-five. Once this is set in motion, the stale, standard way of doing things will be left in the past — exactly where it belongs.
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