Merchandising Features / Marketing Features / Design Features / Tactics
Thinking Inside the Box

A New Take on Innovation

October 2, 2013

"I" is for investigate. Pick a bunch of new thoughts and ideas about old and discontinued items that it might make sense to reintroduce. Investigate new product and promotional possibilities. Engage associates and find out what thoughts are percolating. Create a tool to gather from this vast hopper of creativity.

“N” is for new. Pick 10 “new” initiatives and assign teams to bring revolution to the table.

“N” is for never. Never discount any new idea without proper analysis. And never ignore lateral thinkers who might just be percolating the next big win.

“O” is for offers—offers to the customer, offers to the suppliers, offers to your own associates. What rewards do you have for your greater business community?

“V” is for value. What top 10 ideas for better value are you bringing to the customer in the next 12 months? Not just in the opening price point concept, but in terms of better quality, better functionality, better nutritional benefits, better shelf life, better service.

“A” is for attack. How many rocks do you pick up each month to see what lies underneath? Does a “clean as you go” mentality exist in your company culture? How many gremlins are you all attacking each month to make the business better? Change the paradigms. Challenge the norms. Check the processes and systems for simplification and better integrity.

“T” is for try. Trial is a word that should always be encouraged. Encourage a trial mentality in all areas of the business in a controlled fashion. It’s good to be safe. But being in a safe place also means staying in the dark behind locked doors.

“I” is for insist. Develop a mentality of everyone insisting on something important. The new idea, the new system that is not getting the right attention to implementation, the new supplier, the new package, the new approach to an old unsolved problem.

“O” is for opportunity management. This is the biggest of all. How do you decide on what can and what should not get into the pipeline of activity? This is where a really robust management discipline is needed. Every idea needs a sponsor, an in-depth proposal, a clearly defined brief of what the benefits are. Once all the due diligence is completed, and an opportunity is entered into the development system, then every stage and gate must be tracked in real time to expose progress and accountability. This is where you either win or lose.

“N” is for nothing. Nothing matters like innovation. Do you have an innovation pipeline in every department of your business?

We all talk innovation. The word means different things to different people. How it is integrated into your company culture is a crucial strategic discussion.

 Till next time! 

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