The business world is always changing. Alongside normal competition for customers and new revenue, today’s world has seen unprecedented disruption in industries and economies across the globe. From tariffs and trade wars to natural disasters and COVID-19, companies have had to scramble to shore up existing product lines and introduce new products and services to stay competitive or to survive.
As a result, business innovation – the strategy dedicated to implementing new ideas, products, services, methods, processes and workflows – has never been more important. But as companies struggle to keep pace, it is important to note that business innovation (BI) isn’t a narrow initiative best suited for specific industries. While it is easy to fall into the trap that BI is best for high tech or manufacturing or some narrow range of interest, the reality is that true business innovation can be applied to any type of company to produce better results.
To give the reader an idea of how broad the impact of business innovation can be, here are a few of the top stories about business innovation from across a wide range of industries and focal points related to BI:
No one would argue that healthcare spent the bulk of 2020 reacting to the COVID-19 virus. But from this dangerous reality, healthcare companies have learned to innovate within the industry to bring new products to market. One story published by the World Economic Forum notes that COVID-19 has spurred the healthcare industry to innovate quickly to roll out new products at a record pace.
This innovation has also spilled over into methods, procedures and protection protocols that have allowed them to react at an unprecedented rate. It notes one study by McKinsey that found that companies investing in innovation in crisis times always outperform peers once a recovery begins.
But true innovation isn’t just product specific. It can also mean new methods, protocols, and processes that allow the business to improve. In a recent story by Science magazine, methods and processes have also been under scrutiny with healthcare companies shifting or changing the way they approach teams and new ideas. Many have brought more of their employees into the ideation process to spur new ways of thinking. World Economic Forum, Science
While healthcare and agriculture are far apart in terms of perception, business innovation’s impact on agriculture has an equally profound impact. A November 15 article from Produce Business UK shows that even in farming and agriculture, the way we bring food to our tables is benefitting from innovative new models.
Those highlighted as innovators within this sector include diverse innovations such as business models that offer variety and new products that are not commonly available at today’s marketplaces. They also highlight several agribusiness companies aimed at sustainable packaging and green conscious consumers.
Other noted companies within this space include a handheld phone scanner app that allows shoppers to predict produce shelf life in less than a second. And there are examples of new takes on existing products that enhance marketing efforts. With these and more, agriculture is demonstrating how BI can drive even traditional industries to new heights.
Because of their unique structure and mission, non-profits may not be thought of as a traditional beneficiary of business innovation. But these entities can benefit from BI as much as their for-profit counterparts. In fact, the challenges of 2020 may prove to be so daunting that non-profits will need to utilize BI strategies to survive.
One story by Inside Business has noted that non-profits have had to explore innovation due to reduced services, staff layoffs and reduced donations. To find new and innovative ways to continue their mission many have implemented such practices as shifting classes to online instruction, offering curb-side services, hosting virtual fundraisers and other strategies designed to deal with the new reality. The story even notes that in some cases, these new online events and efforts have resulted in higher annual donations compared to in-person events. Inside Business
Government Innovation Policy Initiatives
As COVID-19 has raged across the globe, many governments are beginning to push innovation to get their economy on track. In an article by The Hamilton Spectator, they note that Canada’s efforts to spur innovation – already a priority since 2015 – had now taken on new urgency.
The article highlights initiatives such as ramping up e-commerce and e-health growth over internet-based models as well as partnering colleges and universities with companies across Canada through grants to explore new paths of innovation. And it notes the government’s commitment to having doubled applied research spending as one that will have an outsized impact on innovation across many industries. The Hamilton Spectator
These are just a few of the top stories in business innovation over the last few months. This sampling shows the focus, urgency and commitment to innovation that is currently underway. If you need consultation and assistance in a business innovation strategy, HBEC from Georgian can provide you with the help needed to forge a path to increased innovation in an uncertain world regardless of the industry in which your business operates.