Innovation – Radical and Incremental

26 Jun
by Bridget DiCello

In what area of your business have you innovated so far this year? How about last year – what was your main innovative accomplishment? Sometimes innovation is organic, and you improve your current product or service. And sometimes innovation comes in the form of buying something that improves or transforms the way you do business.

Incremental innovation is the type that smart companies will do every week – based on feedback from customers, challenges they face and employee input and suggestions. Daily processes and systems are reviewed for opportunities to increase efficiency and productivity, and the product or service offerings are continually improved based on a desire to do things better, be more profitable and stay competitive. Radical innovation is the type that transforms a business, requires the willingness of the company to go beyond incremental improvements, is most often based on the dream goals of a visionary leader or entrepreneur, and is discovered through the work and input of the team.

It’s very important for leaders and entrepreneurs to stay in touch with their dream goals, even if they might not be realized in the near future. Revisiting them, sharing them with the team, and every once in a while, spending an afternoon researching and working on them, all brings them one step closer to realization. These goals are the basis for radical innovation.

Yearly goals, even if they are ambitious, often do not push the leader or the team members to move outside their current comfort zone, and beyond the incremental improvements that are routinely accomplished by dedicated employees.

Challenge your current processes based on your dream goals. If you haven’t identified those dream goals, spend some time doing that – what do you really want your company to accomplish? If you haven’t shared your dream goals – share them with your team: “Someday, we are going to…” – and they will start thinking and strategizing with you. Set aside a half day once a month to work on the goals – no matter how distant they may seem amid daily fires and challenges.

How have you come up with your greatest innovations?

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