Most organizations seem to believe innovation is all about disrupting business models, adding new features to products, or launching a game-changing service.
These initiatives often involve the hype methodology of the moment, implemented by a team of overconfident junior consultants in suits they can’t really afford (sent in once the senior partner who sold the project is safely back in his corner office).
Of course, innovation sometimes has to involve big, deep work that fundamentally changes and improves your offering. But there are lots of alternative ways to wow your customers that are quick, easy and cheap, and which don’t involve week-long workshops and months of “ideation”.
Here are three ideas:
1) For a software company: Instead of sending a standard mass email announcing the latest new feature, set up a live Q&A session with your CTO and invite your customers to ask him about the update. What? Direct access to a senior executive for the people who pay his wages? Revolutionary!
2) For a hotel: Look for consumption patterns among your most frequent guests. Does Mr Jones always order the same drink before dinner every time he stays with you? Offer to send it up to his room when he checks in, or just surprise him with it. Alternatively, have that as a personalized upsell in your app, instead of the early-check-in option that he almost certainly can’t use.
3) For a manufacturer: Find out if your product is used in ways outside of its primary purpose – ever used a chair instead of a ladder, or the end of a fork to open a beer bottle? Then consider integrating these additional use cases into its positioning.
I’m not saying you will find a killer USP by exploring options like these.
I am saying that most companies never even try.
Which gives you an easy opportunity to stand out.
And since your biggest investments are time and a bit of brain power, it has to be worth a shot, doesn’t it?
If you’d like some help to innovate without breaking the bank, just drop me a mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start discussing some ideas.
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Copyright Hamish Mackenzie Consulting, 2020