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Innovative ideas are right under your nose

Welcome back to the second in a two part series on innovation!

Shawn Casemore
Shawn Casemore
In my previous post I discussed the essence of innovation, now what I wanted to do is share with you the factors that influence innovation and then how you can find and tap into new sources of innovative ideas.

Where can you tap into the most valuable and innovative ideas in your business? More importantly, how can you collect or harvest these ideas so as not to damage the landscape, ensuring ideas become more and more plentiful?

When I think about innovation I consider it to be similar to a cloud. From a distance it can seem a bit, well, cloudy. It can be very difficult to see what the end state will look like, but as I begin to uncover new ideas and put the most valuable into action, the cloud dissipates. The more ideas you capture and act upon, the more ideas will be presented to you.

Let’s consider the best sources of innovative ideas in order to build rich veins of new ideas and opportunities. There are four different sources that I wanted to present to you today.

Employees. It might sound straightforward, it might sound too simple, but your employees are your #1 source of ideas for your business or your association today. They recognize the challenges and opportunities that exist at the front lines. You have to tap into that if you want to change how you operate, how you function as an organization.
Suppliers & Contractors. External sources who are familiar with your business are another key source of new ideas. Are you interested in what your competitors are doing? What’s going on in the marketplace? The answer’s to these questions exist in the very suppliers and contractors that you work with each and every day. Just ask them.
Peers. Are you part of an executive forum? Are you part of a group where you connect with peers in non-competitive industries or sectors and network; get ideas about what they are doing, what they have heard, what works well and what does not? This is a rich vein of fresh ideas and solutions to some of your most pressing challenges.
Customers. What are your greatest customer challenges? My clients are often surprised when we talk about the value their business provides to their customers. When asked what their customers value most, I get one of two responses. They either suggest that a survey has eluded to what their customers value, or they aren’t able to quickly and decisively provide a response. Either circumstance isn’t good. You have to have dialogue with your customers on an ongoing basis to really understand what are their challenges which provide you ideas and how you can help support your customers.

To capitalize on new ideas consider where the most valuable sources of ideas from the list above exist, then mine for the golden nuggets that will yield more value for your customers, and greater profits for you.

Question: Where are your most predominant sources of new ideas?

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