Startups are built on an idea that has the potential to disrupt an industry and challenge the existing status quo. But how far can just an idea propel a full-fledged startup? If an idea is the spark that kick starts your venture, innovation is the fuel that keeps it going.
Innovation is a buzzword that has been heard across all lines of the startup ecosystem. But, how an entrepreneur interprets and executes it in their long-term strategy can be the difference between an enterprise that flourishes and one that flounders.
In an environment where startups are constantly piggybacking off each other’s business models, innovation needs to be the lifeblood of your startup and be included in each part of your business operation.
Here’s how you can ensure that innovation is omnipresent while building your business.
- Incremental Innovation
While your existing product or service might be satisfying your current crop of customers, ensure that there are always processes underway to identify gaps and solutions. This can range from investing in new technology to tweaking user journeys or even simply adding more value to the customer experience. Be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to your business processes.
- Introducing a Fresh Perspective
While hiring, instead of looking for people who will ‘fit in’, seek out people who dare to challenge your own assumptions and biases and bring in new ideas and views. Startups must focus on creating a conducive environment where people are encouraged to branch out instead of ‘going with the flow.’
- Change your mind, not your mission
As an entrepreneur, take that first step to dismantle the rigid protocols that prevent your full potential from being explored. Ask your team ‘Is there another way to do this?’ for any existing processes.
- Creating Cross Functional Teams
To prevent information silos in your startup, encourage the formation of teams consisting of members with different skill sets. Cross-functional teams can greatly increase organizational agility and are able to create and execute innovative ideas in a far more holistic manner.
- Share successes and failures
It’s easy to trumpet your own success, but there is much to be learned from failures- both your own and that of others. Analyse the gaps in what went wrong and ensure that the takeaways are shared with the whole team to avoid repetitions and to help you take different routes next time.
In a market that is constantly changing with customers that are never truly satisfied, entrepreneurs should be willing to experiment and test the sustainability of innovative and disruptive ideas. Go back to the drawing board each time you feel like you’re in a rut. Surround yourself with people who can help you view your ideas from a different lens and recognize that there’s always room for improvement and growth.