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The Innovative Heavenly Habits Every Business Must Adopt To Succeed

By Mat Shore

In an era of digital disruption, where emerging technologies affect the value proposition of existing goods and services, companies must adapt and evolve or risk extinction. But while most business owners recognise that they must innovate to survive, few really understand the habits required to make the concept a success. In this post, I break down the seven habits that all great innovators share. How do you stack-up against the innovative leaders in your industry?

Focus on a single-minded target. Not everyone is in the market for a Prada handbag, but those that are see the value, love the brand and stay loyal. Similarly, not even the big fast-moving consumer giants target everyone. P&G, for instance, has discreet segmentation for Daz that differs from the target for Ariel. It’s better to be relevant to 20% of the market than irrelevant to 100%.

Ask New Questions. Be curious when it comes to understanding consumer needs. If you ask the same question that you always ask, in the same way year after year, you’ll get the same old answer. ‘Make it cheaper, make it smaller, make it faster’. But if you change the question to ‘How else might you use it?’ or ‘Who else might use it?’ then you learn new things.

Only offer one clear benefit. Make sure that your solutions are memorable and unique by ensuring they have one clear benefit. Volvo’s are safer, Apple is easier to use and Fairy lasts longer. Don’t try and be a Swiss Army knife that does everything badly, when a dedicated tool would have been more useful.

Be happy when you hear ‘No!’ Successful innovators try lots of ideas, but don’t get wedded to any. They listen to feedback from their customers and abandon the bad ideas early, focusing on the ones that work instead. Bubble Wrap was originally designed as a wallpaper, but that idea was rapidly ditched in favour of making packaging more secure.

Great brands make the user feel good. For years BMW has been calling itself ‘The ultimate driving machine’, creating innovation around the driver and enhancing the driver’s experience. Just one word different and it would have been ‘the ultimate machine’, but that would have been a far less involving strategy for the target.

Don’t ignore consumer habits. Great innovators watch what their target does on a day to day basis and then innovate around their real habits. When Thompson Local realised that people stacked their telephone directories, they made theirs smaller to ensure it went on top and didn’t destabilise the pile. Being on the top of the pile meant more uses and more revenue.

Consider all the decision makers. When you develop innovation, try to ensure that you appeal not only to the user, but the purchase decision maker as well. One of Britain’s bestselling pet foods is ‘As Good as it Looks’ from Felix; it appeals to the cat, but also to the owner (who manufacturers call the Pet Parent) who wants their precious pet to eat food they would happily serve to human family members.

By remembering these 7 Heavenly Habits you can ensure that you put your resources behind innovation that works.

Mat Shore is one of the world’s leading innovation experts. He has trained 35,000 people in 27 countries for companies including Samsung, GE, Philips and Nespresso. His books, The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation, and The Seven Heavenly Habits of Innovation are relied-upon by CEOs and decision-makers in many blue-chip firms.

The new compendium edition is out now priced £15.99 in hardback from Amazon UK. For more information about how your business can benefit from innovation, visit www.matshore.com

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