When it comes to achieving business success, ongoing innovation is what makes the proverbial world go round. From mom and pop shops to huge conglomerates, developing new ideas and processes can be key to keeping your business relevant and competitive.
So what steps can businesses take to become more innovative? While conjuring up new ideas and processes is typically more of an innate skill, businesses have a number of strategies at their disposal that they can employ. Specifically, there are five main types of innovation: open, disruptive, reverse, incremental and breakthrough.Â
Here are the five types of innovation broken down in greater detail, as well as some ways business owners can encourage this type of innovation in their companies.
1. Open Innovation
Open innovation takes place when business owners adopt both internal and external ideas to help grow their business. Indeed, obtaining knowledge from inside and outside sources can help businesses to be more innovative and profitable. To that end, a good example of open innovation is when a company strives to solve a problem, at which time the owner will look beyond a single type of specialist to help come up with a solution.
2. Disruptive Innovation
This type of innovation refers to when a product or service is in its infancy and slowly maturates to something bigger and better that takes over the entire marketplace and changes the way consumers think about it. Products inspired by disruptive innovation tend to focus on simplicity and problem-solving. A classic example is the way phones have evolved over the years from landline rotary phones that were tethered to walls to smartphones that can make calls from anywhere.
3. Reverse Innovation
When you think about companies that create innovative and useful products, companies like Tesla and Johnson & Johnson may come to mind. In the case of reverse innovation, useful services are first launched in a developing country before ultimately finding a receptive market in a much larger nation. A great example of this is when Nestle first figured out how to make dried noodles in India. Today, this product can be found in many much more developed countries, as well as on college campuses throughout the world.
4. Incremental Innovation
To define this type of innovation, think about baby steps. Instead of making sweeping changes to a product and service, business owners who focus on incremental innovation will look for ways to make simple and small updates to be effective. Pencils are a good example of incremental innovation, as they started out as a basic lead-writing tool before slowly evolving to mechanical implements that relied on reloadable or pre-loaded lead for writing purposes.
5. Breakthrough Innovation
This type of innovation involves plenty of thinking outside of the box to problem solve. According to Harvard Business Review, breakthrough innovation is especially useful when a well-defined problem is particularly challenging to fix. In these cases, it’s best to look at different and unconventional ways of problem-solving. For example, Dyson implemented breakthrough innovation to harness new technology in order to create the worldâ€™s first bagless vacuum cleaner.
Now, to Boost Innovation in a Business
Once business owners decide which type of innovation meshes the best with their small companies, the next step is to find ways to encourage this innovation to take place. One great way to do this is by making innovation a regular habit; for example, business owners can set up weekly brainstorming sessions with their employees to ask for new ideas about products and services.
Yet another effective way to increase innovation is by investing in tools and equipment that can help improve business operations. For instance, business owners could consider partnering with a company like MozyÂ and become a partner through its Reseller program.
In addition to being an effective way to make money, partnering with Mozy Reseller means having the ability to include your company logo on the web console and online backup product. This will add brand value and show customers your company doesn’t skimp out when it comes to protecting their data.
Innovation is Accessible to Everyone
While you might think of innovation as something that huge, multinational corporations implement over time, smaller companies can definitely benefit from the new ideas in business as well. Ultimately, entrepreneurs should consider which type of innovation is best suited to their company and then take tangible steps to implement in day-to-day business activities.