Transformative radical innovation
In today’s age of rapid technological and social change, a business that doesn’t innovate won’t last. As a business owner, if you don’t adapt to the evolving needs and preferences of your clientele, your competition will leave you in the dust. To remain competitive, you must commit to constantly improving your processes, products and services so that they always add real value to your customers’ lives. Rather than remain inert in the status quo, you must embrace radical innovation that impacts your entire industry. By making radically innovative change part of your company culture, you’re able to stay ahead of the curve and create lasting customer loyalty.
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What is radical innovation?
Innovation in business takes many forms, which experts categorize into incremental innovation, disruptive innovation and radical innovation.
- Incremental innovators (existing businesses that innovate as necessary to stay in the game) are able to remain relevant without causing an industry-wide stir.
- Disruptive innovators (new businesses challenging existing firms and products) are successful because they are able to enter the low end of the market, snagging customers largely ignored by established companies.
- Radical innovation (in which existing firms create new information or products that transform the industry) relies on a company’s organizational capacity to be successful.
Research underscores the fact that in order to counter potentially disruptive innovations by competitors, established businesses must drill down on organizational capacity to achieve radical innovation. By building its human and operational capital, a business remains competitive while building forward momentum to drive long-term impact.
To understand radical innovation, consider the extremes of adaptation: Stagnating in the status quo versus constantly invading new markets. Rather than view innovation as a choice between inertia and invasion, think of radically innovative change as falling between extremes. Radical innovation means learning to harness your existing assets and core competencies in pursuit of a future goal which changes your industry for the better.
Examples of radically innovative change
Netflix is an excellent example of the role radical innovation can play to disrupt an industry. When Netflix entered the home entertainment industry in 1997 (selling mail-order DVD rentals), Blockbuster, an established company and Netflix’s main competitor, underestimated Netflix’s threat. Instead of clamoring for radically innovative change to counter Netflix’s market entry, Blockbuster sat on its haunches. Blockbuster did not realize that Netflix would disrupt the industry, claiming smaller markets’ loyalty and putting Blockbuster out of business. Now, Blockbuster is obsolete, and Netflix is a household name.
John Deere’s story is another example of how radical innovation can make or break a business. One of the largest manufacturers of farming equipment, John Deere took notice of emergent sensory technology and added sensors to its tractors. Farmers could track and monitor their crops’ yield via sensor, which revolutionized the farming industry. By embracing radically innovative change, John Deere created raving fan customers by filling an unmet need in the market.
The iPhone is another example of radically innovative change. Despite the device’s worldwide popularity, many do not know the iPhone’s inconspicuious origin. The iPhone was not a new innovation – its software and interface were derived from the iPod, an existing Apple technology. It was the iPhone’s computer capacity that was the real radical innovation. Rather than add a few new features to an existing phone (i.e. incremental innovation), Apple shifted its concept underpinning the iPhone. By introducing a product equipped to meet users’ total communication needs in real time, Apple transformed the digital communications industry. By applying its core competencies (technology) to a future goal (hand-held computers), Apple achieved a radical innovation whose impact is felt worldwide.
Embracing radical innovation
Committing to radical innovation is your first step in changing your industry for the better while growing your business. Radically innovative change means leveraging your core competencies – your team and existing assets – to reach a goal you’ve set for the future.
Prioritize communication and feedback
Teamwork is the name of the game when it comes to mastering radical innovation. Think of your staff as an untapped resource for industry-transforming ideas. Are you making use of this invaluable resource? Does your staff feel comfortable sharing their ideas or are they stifled in too-rigid roles? Embrace horizontal communication strategies so that creativity is not cloistered at the top of your hierarchy. Invite staff to participate in the process of innovation and always solicit customer feedback as you innovate.
Embrace technological advances
Changes in technology are part of the modern world, and you must be prepared to embrace them to remain competitive. Use your team to experiment with the technology you already have so you understand what’s at your disposal. Remain abreast of technological advances and keep an eye out for opportunities to innovate. As you uncover ways to make strategic innovations – innovations aligned with your goals that the customer will value enough to purchase – you’ll distinguish your company from the rest.
Understand that success often involves failure
The adage “practice makes perfect” applies to every aspect of life, especially business. As you work to embrace radical innovation, you’ll likely try and fail before mastering your processes and systems. Rather than buckle under disappointment or the fear of failure, learn from your failures and keep moving forward.
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Ready to use innovation to take your business to the next level?
Use innovation to take your business to new heights with Tony Robbins’ 7 Forces of Business Mastery free content series.