Innovation redefined: the ultimate guide to become an innovative company

We all talk about innovation; every company wants to be innovative. But, do we actually know how to? Time has changed, so did the definition of innovation. It’s crucial for any company to adopt the new ways to be innovative in order to survive in today’s competition. Here’s my view towards the ultimate guide for becoming an innovative company.

Co-creation
It’s one of the most used words lately. Well, you must be wondering, that is this “Co-creation”. Let’s start with a formal definition, “Co-creation is a form of marketing strategy or business strategy that emphasizes the generation and ongoing realization of mutual firm-customer value.” The words to focus on here is “mutual Firm-customer value”. In today’s world it’s crucial for companies to break out of the box and work together with the customer or suppliers to generate innovation and provide better solutions to problems.
A perfect example would be, Nedschroef, a leading manufacturer of fasteners working with its customers like VW, Audi, BMW etc to create innovative fastener solutions.

Crowd Funding
It’s 2013 and we are still experiencing the aftermath of global financial crisis. The Euro crisis is taking a high toll on countries like Netherlands, Germany, once known as one of the strongest economy in the world. Getting funding for starting a business is really difficult these days. Even when it comes to produce innovative products it requires good amount of investment before theory turns to reality. Especially for SME’s and individual entrepreneurs, crowd funding has become the ultimate source for turning a great idea into a reality. Yes, crowd funding is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.
The Pebble Watch has been the most famous example of crowd funding. The original team scored more than $10 million with a target of less than $1 million via crowd funding platform named “Kickstarter

5C's of Innovation

Collective Knowledge
“Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, and working together is success” that’s definitely one of my favorite quotes anymore. When it comes to innovation, people from different background, different part of the world, even from different work experience can contribute to provide innovative solutions to any problem. Thanks to the rapid growth of the internet, people from different part of the world can share their knowledge and create innovative solution and products.
Recently, Facebook friends helped a scientist to identify nearly 5,000 fish specimens collected in Guyana in less than 24 hrs, YES less than 24 hrs. The majority of people commenting held a Ph.D in ichthyology or a related field, and hailed from a great diversity of countries including the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. By quickly tapping the collective expertise of their social network to help with the preliminary identification process, the expedition members were able to sort, pack and export the specimens to Washington, D.C in a timely manner.

Collaborative Consumption
Zipcar is a US membership-based carsharing company providing automobile reservations for its members, billable by the hour or day. Members can reserve Zipcars online or by phone at any time, immediately or up to a year in advance. Zipcar members have automated access to Zipcars using an access card which works with the car’s technology to unlock the door, where the keys are already located inside. Zipcar also offers an iPhone or Android application that allows members to honk the horn to locate a Zipcar and unlock the doors.
I was amazed by the overall idea behind such innovative car rental service when I first came to know about it in Marketing and Service Management Class during my MBA at Maastricht School of Management. And this is one of the best examples of innovation via collaborative consumption. In more formal terms, collaborative consumption is an economic model based on classical market behaviors of sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting access to products as opposed to ownership which both creates and adds value to existing products and services

Creativity
California State University defined Creativity as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.
It’s no doubt creativity paves the way towards ultimate innovation. But, in order to be creative, you need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. You can be from a totally different industry yet you can always add value and create innovative products to other industry just by able to see things in new ways. In fact, a research named “Innovation through diversity” by Forbes insight has proven that formula for success is in the diversity of people in the organization. People from different background when put together in a perfect environment produce creative and innovative solutions.

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