Crafting a Winning Strategy in the Ocean of Innovation

woman crafting innovation strategy

In the world of innovation, much like setting out on a fishing expedition, knowing where to cast your fishing net or rod makes all the difference. Companies standing at the shore, ready to embark on the journey of innovation, face a sea of choices. Let’s explore how to craft an winning innovation strategy in the ocean of innovation.

Choosing the Type of Innovation

First up, companies must decide on the type of innovation to pursue. It’s like deciding whether to fish in freshwater or saltwater. Your choice depends on what you hope to catch and the tools you have at your disposal. You can opt for:

  • Product or Service Innovation: This is like improving your fishing rod to catch more or bigger fish. It’s about making your products or services better for those already using them.
  • New Market Innovation: Venturing into uncharted waters where no one has fished before, targeting those who haven’t been able to fish effectively on their own.
  • Operational Innovation: This is akin to finding a more efficient way to get to the fishing spots or store your catch, making your processes smoother and less costly.
  • Disruptive Innovation: Changing the game entirely, like introducing a new fishing technique that makes the traditional methods obsolete.

Understanding Who and What to Target

Next, companies must pinpoint the “who” and the “what.” It’s like knowing which fish you’re after and what bait to use. The options are:

  1. Help existing consumers get a job done better: Improve the bait to catch the fish you’re already catching, only more efficiently.
  2. Help existing consumers get more jobs done: Use a multifunctional bait that attracts more types of fish at the same time.
  3. Help new or non-consumers get a job done: Introduce fishing to those who’ve never fished before by making it easier to start.
  4. Help new or non-consumers tackle a completely new job: Discover a new fishing spot or technique that no one else has tried.

Focusing on the Right Part of the Value Chain

Deciding where in the value chain to focus is akin to choosing the best fishing spot. The choices include:

  • The end user: Directly benefiting the person who will use the product or service.
  • The buyer: The one who makes the purchasing decisions.
  • The channel partner: Those who help distribute your product or service.
  • The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer): Companies that might integrate your product into theirs.

Avoid common pitfalls such as ignoring the end user, excluding important customers, or relying solely on secondhand information.

Actionable Insights for Companies

  • Know Your Waters: Understand your market and circumstances to choose the right type of innovation.
  • Choose Your Bait Wisely: Decide whether to improve existing products, create new ones, streamline operations, or disrupt the market.
  • Identify Your Fish: Determine if you’re catering to current consumers or bringing new ones into the fold.
  • Select the Best Spot: Focus your innovation efforts where they’ll create the most value in the value chain.

Casting the Net

Before setting out, a company must define for whom it wants to create value and how. This clarity of purpose guides the data collection process, ensuring efforts are focused and effective. Just as a fisherman reads the water and weather before casting the net, a company must understand its environment and target audience to innovate successfully.

In the vast ocean of possibilities, innovation is both a journey and a destination. With a clear direction and the right tools, companies can navigate these waters, capturing the bounty of opportunities that lie beneath the surface.