Hard work, dedication and perseverance are essential qualities for achieving your business goals. In this economy more is required – continuous innovation. Prepare your business for 2012 by considering where you will need to innovate to anticipate and capitalize on changes in your market niche.
Innovation, coming up with new ideas, methods and approaches, has been essential for business and personal growth in 2011, a challenging year for many. Change, whether self initiated or through external circumstances, requires new responses often unshackled from past thinking. Just look back at 2011 and consider the social, political and economic events and upheavals that have often speeded change at unprecedented rates.
For business people change requires the ability to spot and seize the opportunity in the midst of what often seems like never-ending chaos. Change requires the need for new ideas, fresh ways of thinking, often radical shifts in perspectives and innovation.
Courage to create
Most importantly, change requires courage. Rollo May, a renowned therapist, in his book “The Courage to Create” says: “Whereas moral courage is the righting of wrongs, creative courage, in contrast, is the discovering of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built … In our day, technology and engineering, diplomacy, business, and certainly teaching, all of these professions and scores of others are in the midst of radical change and require courageous persons to appreciate and direct this change.”
This year ideaaccelerator.co.za has offered insights into various techniques to spur new ways of thinking, generate ideas and encourage innovation. Blog posts have covered idea generation tools such as freewriting, closely looked at business models and provided promotional ideas in a challenging economy. Other posts have explored the discipline required to create and form new works of art, businesses and even charities and see them to completion as well as case studies of innovators who have succeeded by using ideation techniques and processes.
All through the difficult economic circumstances we have held the new that obstacles and challenges can be surmounted through generating new ideas and spurring innovation. We have assisted small businesses using idea generation processes to achieve outstanding results. We have also witnessed the more successful companies innovating their technology, reformulating products, improving their service offerings, incorporating more sustainable business practices and reaching out to customers in new ways. These companies know that their success and in some cases survival depends on innovation.
Polar opposite of creativity
Yet for many business people creativity and innovation don’t sit well in an environment that has become mechanized on a massive scale. “Mechanization requires uniformity, predictability, and orderliness,” according to May. This is the polar opposite of creativity, which often requires human processes and even unconscious thinking for breakthroughs. New ideas and approaches are a hard sell to the assembly line until of course demand for poor or unsustainable products spirals into a trickle.
That’s why our approach is to work with business people who run their own businesses and who often need to respond rapidly to changing circumstances or face going out of business. Small businesses don’t have deep pockets that can keep them toiling in the wrong direction (sometimes for years); they need to move quickly, come up with smart solutions that retain, build and delight their customers. Staying ahead of their competition, fighting for smaller market niches, requires continuous innovation.
As the end of the year approaches, it is time to relax, reflect and recharge. 2012 will soon bring its unique set of challenges. For those fascinated by new ideas that “pop up” from the unconscious in response to the need to find innovative solutions to changing business circumstances, ways to excite customers or to simply raise their game, we will try to keep you inspired with innovative ideas in 2012.