Creative innovation addresses reality

Good businesses require creative innovation

Making innovation a reality, become creative

Creative innovation starts with an original idea or discovery. Any original concept, new or improved device, product, material, business model, process or service can be considered an innovation. The true test of whether an innovation can become a business success is when:

  • It becomes accepted by the marketplace.
  • A new business model, process improvement translates into cost savings, efficiency gains or productivity improvements or into a competitive advantage.

In making innovation a reality, you need to understand how to organise your business around innovation and get the best results from it. Consider your strategic imperatives and how you can  transform through people, process and structure.

The next step is to identify the technologies that are best suited to your unique circumstances. Then look to improve productivity by reducing complexity and creating a more agile environment that is an enabler for business growth, through the use of the emerging technologies.

Work towards a clear piece of innovation for a new product or a new process . Recognise the need for change. If existing product isn’t selling or, the process is no longer working well and delivering the outcomes required.

Look at the various parts of a product or process that you think is outstanding and could be part of some great innovation. In your search for innovation, this becomes a bit of a blur and you are often stuck with what to do next. At this point,  you need outside assistance,  such as your family, colleagues, or a facilitator to work through the concepts.

Entrepreneurs mobilise ideas, people and resources to act on opportunities

Their activities cause disruption and creative innovation can be destructive. This impacts  a business or community in ways that lead to employment growth, new products and services, as well as different ways of improving your life and lifestyles.

Entrepreneurs believe that by taking the hit and miss out of innovation and working together you can solve some of the greatest challenges. Challenges facing businesses and non-profit organisations while creating significant social and economic benefit in the process. They ask a lot of questions. You may think they’re being annoying. But it’s the only way to  learn and besides people will tell you when you’re annoying.

If you want innovation in your business start asking questions. Innovation is fundamental to growing and improving your businesses and organisations. It’s about making changes that will improve efficiency, growth, profitability and sustainability.

Every aspect of your business can benefit from innovation, every function, every activity and every process. The innovation does not have to be totally new or revolutionary. It may be a small but an incremental improvement that adds to a positive outcome. You need to consider how you will be able to measure the overall business value and impact and sustain commitment to execute the innovation successfully.

What is your current reality? The reality is often hard for many people to accept. Close your eyes and imagine yourself building a better future, what do you see yourself doing and when would you like to do it. When you look at your current reality, do you feel there’s something missing, or you’re always waiting for something to arrive? It is always a good idea to have a reality check on your aspirations.

Identifying the need for innovation

Usually, only a very small number of innovations end up making significant money for their creators. Many factors can contribute to this low success rate, such as:

  • The innovation is not technically possible because of the timing and should be postponed.
  • There is little demand for the innovation, possibly because you have inadequate knowledge of the marketplace and the competition.
  • It is unable to be produced at competitive prices.
  • The development of the innovation is poorly planned because of poor processes.
  • Inadequate management skills are available so commercialization of the innovation is difficult.

Before you invest scarce resources, time and energy

There are important steps you can take to determine whether the innovation is, or can become a commercially feasible opportunity. The following provides information for those who have been given responsibility for developing an innovative strategy, or initiative, for their organisation.

  • Why? This should be your most important question. Keep asking questions?
  • Decide on a list of possible projects, prioritise them and get started with the one on the top of the list. The rest can wait for inspiration and resources.
  • Find a nice place to relax, think, reflect and start to plan your innovation because good innovation can’t be hurried.
  • Decide on the urgency to solve a problem, or create a new opportunity and set a rough time frame.
  • Start thinking outside the box, don’t rule anything in or out because the breakthrough could be in the detail.
  • Define which objectives of the innovation are really required or in demand rather than relying on your own understanding.
  • What will be the benefits of the innovation to be developed. Who will benefit?
  • Consider the expectations of the stakeholders who will be involved so they can make worthwhile contributions.
  • What guidelines should you put in place so development and implementation will go smoothly?
  • Will there be any finance required? If you are likely to exceed your budget you either need reserves or to borrow more.
  • Have confidence that everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not it won’t be the end.

Problems are our teachers in business and in life

Some people don’t like admitting they have problems and others don’t like hearing about it but, eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and know that everything happens for a reason. Remember, there are two types of pain in this world: pain that hurts you (physical) and pain that changes you.

Before you assume the causes of the problems learn about them. Before you make a judgement understand them, and before you say anything, think about it. It’s not the problems that will hold you back, it will be the way you think about it and react to it. Problems overcome with creativity and innovation prevent a crisis.

Select your team

The failure of some people to see value in ideas from people unlike themselves usually limits the business’s potential and inhibits their growth. A lack of diversity in your team and contacts may mean you are failing to see the potential in ideas and opportunities you cannot relate to.


Creative innovation emerge more quickly in a team environment.


Take time to select the people (internal and external) who will be on your innovation team. You need to effectively prune distractions and focus the team’s energy on executing a few good ideas.

  • Ensure the project has people with key entrepreneurial attributes because they will keep driving the project.
  • It’s important to get fresh insights before you start because two heads are always better than one.
  • Provide a broad vision to guide the team’s behaviour rather than have them move forward aimlessly.
  • Allow behaviours to emerge and self-organise outside of your company’s structure so creativity can flourish.
  • Who will be on your team to help you and motivate you with critical decisions because it can be too hard doing it by yourself.?
  • Invite people for whom the innovation is personally relevant so they become more involved and committed.
  • Who will provide the technical support? This will be important because technology today can provide the breakthroughs you seek to make?
  • Get a good mix of gender, age and talents on your team because you want to see things from different life experiences.
  • Involve outsiders because they can provide you with objectivity and perspective.
  • Provide the freedom to fail, recover fast and move forward fast. Far too many people give up at the first mistake so nothing happens.
  • Should the project be outsourced because you can’t be expected to do everything that needs to be done?

Getting the team started

  • You want 100% commitment, not 50% now and 50% when a successful innovation is imminent.
  • Complete the initial business plan with the team because involvement equals buy-in.
  • Develop the action plan because you won’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to leave the shore.
  • Complete the initial budget so you can organise the required funding for the project.
  • Identify potential target groups since they can assist with the innovation.
  • Get support from families if extra commitments are needed.
  • Identify, quantify, measure, and manage risks and most of all use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Become more creative

In business, you often find yourself wanting to leap tall buildings in a single bound because of your motivation. And your enthusiasm is so high because you want to come up with the next ‘big’ thing. While it’s good to set the bar high, it’s more effective to achieve goals in smaller increments of innovation. Churning out many small innovations can work in your favour because it allows you to hone your skills, fail and adapt to your market in a cheaper, more natural way.

New information will open your mind to new possibilities. There is absolutely nobody in the world who has your unique combination of learning and experience. The more you learn and the more frequently you read, the more new ideas will come to life. Your knowledge and experience is the platform for your ideas and solutions to problems.

A book, an article or a short course can all make you look at existing problems in a new way. It is this updated perspective that gives you the ability to become more creative and innovate.

Look at your products and services

Along with your websites, social media, company structure, workflow process, ask, “can any of these be easily improved”? Are there quick tests you can perform that don’t involve a lot of risk, time or money? What about your customers, subscribers, fans and website visitors? Could you survey them to find out where you can make improvements in the products and services as well as the processes used?

  • The best way to come up with a good idea is to do some ‘possibility thinking’, or use other idea generation techniques.
  • Reassess the facts as you know them, so you can change conversations relating to the issues involved.
  • Use tools and processes to develop ideas important to managing good outcomes.
  • Ensure innovation processes are enjoyable and fun rather than having people lose interest.
  • Take quality time for effective brainstorming new concepts because good innovations should not be rushed.
  • Look for a special environment for your innovation meetings and workshops since they are more stimulating for participants.
  • Create emotionally safe environments where people really express themselves rather than be passive participants.
  • Work with strict deadlines so they help and encourage people to make choices.
  • Be open to ideas or suggestions to change or adapt the process you use.
  • Hire an experienced external facilitator because they can stimulate creativity and energy.
  • Start to visualise the end results while focusing on the outcomes you are looking for.
  • Keep to timelines and deadlines so it doesn’t become frustrating and boring for those involved. 

Everyone can decide to make improvements and to share suggestions. But once that mindset is created and you start to take action, a world of creativity and innovation awaits you.

Escalating your performance with innovation projects

You admire people with a creative flair or those who are innovative because it makes life more interesting and at times creates a pleasant surprise. Push the envelope and identify the emerging competitive edges. So what do you do to escalate the innovation projects if you’re not particularly innovative or creative?

  • Repeatedly ask the most important questions, again and again, don’t stop, stir up ideas.
  • Use web searching to open up fresh thinking and uncover useful ideas.
  • Always delay judgments without evidence.
  • Visit customers, observe and analyse their attitudes and behaviour.
  • Look for customer frustrations and problems to discover and solve.
  • Analyse the trends among potential customers.
  • Seek to discover emerging new technologies suitable for the innovation?
  • Visit businesses in other industries that could serve as a source of inspiration.
  • Remember great ideas are the ones that appeal to customers. 

Test the ideas being generated

  • Check the strength of the ideas and new concepts being presented.
  • If nothing is happening go back to the start.
  • Use your customers to determine relevance and value.
  • Are the outcomes becoming relevant to the problems and frustrations of customers, or adding to them?
  • Use tools and processes to check the validity of ideas.
  • Does the emerging innovation fit your brand and market positioning?
  • Are you happy with the emerging ideas, would you use the concepts involved yourself?

Barriers to innovation

Many people simply sit and wonder why they can’t keep up in this modern fast-paced global business world. With accelerating change, chaos, disruptions, excitement and sometimes fear, the businesses that win will bypass the traditional approaches.

Today it is often the case that information technology and communications will be at the centre of any innovation. A barrier to innovation can be technology itself. Because of complexity, or you don’t have the required expertise or desire to get more involved with emerging technologies. Forget using mass reach to connect with the market segments that matter most, simply focus on marketing innovation.

Perhaps you don’t have the time or budget to focus on innovation or to assess where it might add business value. Or, your business is not set up to be innovative because you have too many day-to-day operational tasks. Barriers to innovation are in sharp contrast to the business that focuses too heavily on the innovation and not enough on finishing and commercialisation.

Once the right strategy, processes, and organisation are in place to embrace new ideas and initiatives, there is an opportunity to leverage technology to enable innovation. In fact, most investments are made primarily to support growth initiatives, as well as leveraging emerging innovations associated with mobility and social media.

As your creative innovation emerges

Do you find yourself  in a mad rush to do be innovative? You create innovation strategies, innovation processes, innovation jump-starts etc. You start to do things, as earnestly and energetically as you possibly can. Then you measure something and decide that what you did was, or was not, a contributor to your creative innovation output.

Then, you do it all over again, forgetting about the single, most powerful, indispensable tools you have available to cause innovation. Your customers and your stories.

  • Use customer feedback to improve the emerging concepts.
  • Build stories around the emerging concepts and the benefits they will deliver.
  • Refocus the business models,  business plans and budgets. Be sure the new innovation will fit the business’s vision and strategies.
  • Start making a business case for implementation.
  • You only get a buy-in and sales when the innovation becomes useable.
  • Start approaches for new financing of the implementation and marketing, don’t leave the business short for marketing.
  • The innovation should give potential customers a concrete reason to buy, be ready.
  • Prepare implementation and any marketing collateral required.
  • Marry the organisation’s culture as quickly as possible with the innovation. Start preparing your people and your business ready to adopt of the innovation.

What good innovation will do

Creative innovation helps you to get closer to your customers and find new ways to engage them. Creative innovation can leave your competitors in a frozen state of anxiety as they try to work it out. Customers are now demanding a higher level of intimacy and engagement.

You need to innovate by creating new products and services, or launching new business models to meet those demands. Fundamentally, cloud computing enables this innovation by helping companies to optimise, innovate and propagate new value and customer experiences.

Customers are now demanding a higher level of intimacy and engagement. You need to apply creative innovation when you consider developing new products and services. Creating new products and services, or launching new business models to meet those demands can be fueled by creative innovation. Fundamentally, cloud computing enables this innovation by helping companies to optimise, innovate and propagate new value and customer experiences.

The cloud increasingly contains more of the information and applications that people use. Mobile devices give you access to the cloud, social networks help you collaborate and communicate in the cloud and analytics help you make sense of the data you’ve gathered via the cloud. Make use of these new technologies as good creative good innovation will:

  • Be approved when it has good profit potential.
  • It will attract new customers and readily be taken up by customers.
  • Will attract new investors and investment.
  • Creative innovation will stand out in the market.
  • A good innovation is useless unless it is implemented and used.
  • The innovation helps to realise extra revenue and make sales easier.
  • Inspires the organisation to greater achievement.
  • Will take on a life of its own.
  • Maybe it could even ensure you’re very survival.

How to drive creative innovation for growth

If you could wave a magic wand in your business, what would you wish for? What would be your top three wishes to make important steps forward. Even the best innovation can’t deliver success without a focus on your business strategy and goals.

It is important to have a clear vision of where the business is going and how the innovation will fit. Define and set the context for the role creative innovation will play.  Helping to determine the type of creative innovation you want to drive and the way you need to organise it to effect change and enable profitable growth.


Steps in managing creative innovation.


How will you view the challenge of balancing cost control, growth and innovation? Which actions are critical to achieving a balance between costs, growth and innovation while managing the risks involved? How will you exploit the full landscape of opportunities available to you?

Great businesses cannot and will not stand still even in the most challenging times even if they want to. There are always situations when cost cutting must be prioritised above growth. When growth and innovation demand above normal investment of time and money, just tread carefully.

Many businesses are building their strategy around radical new assumptions to take them forward and provide better outcomes. These new assumptions, if they succeed, are redefining the rules for business performance.  Sustainability of your organisation is created by innovation, not low cost. Innovation can manifest itself in multiple ways. Whether in a technology change that determines the products and services you deliver, or a business model change that defines the value you deliver.

You must determine the types of creative innovation you need

  • Creative innovation. Pull something new out of the box.
  • Incremental innovations. Make small changes to a company’s existing technologies and business models.
  • Breakthrough innovations. Make significant changes to either the technology or business model, producing significant growth.
  • Radical innovations.  Combine technology and business model innovation to create major new industry paradigms with exponential growth.
  • Innovations that maintain the status quo.  Should be avoided.

Although breakthrough innovation is transformational, it’s often the build up of incremental and continuous innovation around existing technologies and business models that can transform the way your business functions.  You need to set up the organisation around innovation and establish appropriate processes and metrics to integrate it into the fabric of your culture.

Entrepreneurial businesses play important roles in today’s complex economy, where history shows you a common pattern. Small entrepreneurial start-up enterprises serve as incubators for new ideas and creative innovation. While many fail, a large number succeed. The winners often attract outside interest from large companies with greater resources, which then gives a boost to the most promising innovations through investment or acquisition.

As countries try to sort out their priorities for the next 10 years, fostering entrepreneurship must be a cornerstone of their economic policy. If they fail in this regard the costs could be enormous.  Are you as an organisation simply trying and to survive a current crisis or are you setting yourself up to thrive?  Innovation is the only ticket out of the disruptive nature of the global marketplace and the associated technology.

Quotable quotes

“Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom. The power to choose, to respond, to change”. Stephen Covey

“Successful innovation lies in the fun of achievement and the thrill of your creative efforts”. Peter Sergeant


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