Innovation is rapidly moving up the agenda of CEOs throughout the global economy.
“Meeting the Innovation Imperative” is the key theme at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Chinese seaport city of Dalian.
With global competition fiercer than ever, leaders of countries and companies have no option but to employ an innovation-driven strategy: to harness technological, economic and social shifts and create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation.
Innovation, by definition, has the potential to ignite growth and boost performance. It is sought – and celebrated – here for good reason. In a recent BCG study of the world’s most innovative companies, 85 per cent of CEOs surveyed ranked innovation as a top priority. They understand, better than most people do, that in a world of rapid change, standing still means falling behind. The right idea, launched at the right time, can push a company far ahead of its peers.
#01: If you win people over, the profits will follow.
The first step in building a customer-focused business is to ask yourself: What can we can offer customers that others aren’t, or won’t, because they are so narrowly focused on profit? If you base your new business on this premise, it will be much easier to find an edge over your competitors.
#02: Build on your employees’ ideas.
The second step involves encouraging your staff to think like and empathize with customers, and then tell you about any ideas that they may have for innovations to your product or service. Find a way to empower your people to follow up on their ideas.
Many of the best ideas are free – it doesn’t cost much to make someone happy.
#03: Increase profits by being nice.
In some American classrooms I recently visited, there were signs posted that read: “Work hard, be nice.” That sign should probably be hung in boardrooms too. There is no better way to improve the bottom line than to go the extra mile for your customers.