8 Strategies to Drive Product Innovation
In today's market, companies need to innovate to stay competitive.
Here are eight leading strategies that companies can use to drive product innovation.
Strategy #1: Provide a platform for creativity.
Creativity is essential in today's business world, especially for product innovation. In fact, the majority of CEOs cite creativity as the most important leadership quality.
In order to give employees a platform for creativity, managers need to foster an environment of engagement. This means that managers should know and understand their employees so they can better understand how they can best contribute. Effective managers should be able to provide feedback, give praise, and have open communication with their employees.
In addition, managers should allow employees to have input in their work and make decisions on their own. Employees thrive when they have autonomy and are able to make decisions on their own.
In addition to fostering an environment of engagement, managers need to encourage creativity by challenging their employees. This means they need to help them think outside of the box and come up with new ideas and solutions. And finally, it is crucial that managers provide employees with a safe space for creativity. This means they should give them time and space where they are less likely to be interrupted or distracted by other people's ideas or opinions.
Strategy #2: Listen to the data.
Relying on instinct or gut feeling is no way to innovate in today's world, considering the billions of product data points available to harness insights from.
With Commerce.AI's data engine, brands can tap into a myriad of product data sources, including unstructured data like YouTube and Amazon product reviews. Additionally, these insights can be integrated into commerce-centric platforms like Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Insights from this data can drive everything from market intelligence and product strategy to the product content in your catalogs.
Strategy #3: Involve employees in the process early on.
It is important that companies involve their employees in the innovation process early on.
This allows the employees to be more invested in the process and, consequently, more invested in the company's success. Employees can provide feedback in order to help create the product more efficiently and effectively.
Employee involvement should also be within a larger cultural context of empathy and collaboration, where everyone is valued and respected equally, regardless of age, gender, race, or other characteristics.
Strategy #4: Encourage risk-taking.
One way for companies to encourage risk-taking is by providing a culture that is full of trust. When companies provide a culture of trust, employees are able to take more risks without fear of being reprimanded or punished for their mistakes. This encourages innovation because employees are able to try new things and experiment with new ideas without fear of losing their job.
Managers have the power to encourage employee risk-taking through several different strategies. They can let employees experiment with new ideas by having them pitch their idea to the entire company. If the idea is a success, the employee should be rewarded accordingly. If an employee’s risk-taking doesn’t pay off, they should still be rewarded for trying in the first place.
Strategy #5: Agile project management.
Agile project management is important for companies looking to innovate their products. Agile project management allows for collaboration among teams and frequent feedback which can lead to more innovation and creativity. This method should be used early on as it will allow for creative solutions to be found much quicker than if it were used later in the project lifecycle.
Agile project management is a set of practices that are used to manage projects in a way that is more flexible and adaptive to change. This iterative process allows for continuous feedback and improvement. The goal of agile project management is to deliver high-quality products quickly and efficiently.
Strategy #6: Find inspiration from outside sources.
Companies should find inspiration from outside sources in order to innovate their products.
By trying new foods, going on vacations, or visiting art museums, employees will become inspired by new ideas and can incorporate these ideas into what they create which could lead to something innovative which could help drive innovation within the company.
Strategy #7: Continuously question assumptions.
Continuously questioning assumptions is another great way for companies to drive product innovation.
When an assumption is questioned, this could spark new ideas and creative solutions that would not have been found otherwise which could lead to something innovative which could help drive innovation within the company.
It is important for companies to constantly question assumptions because this is what leads to innovative products that can help drive the company's success and fuel growth within the business.
Strategy #8: Give autonomy.
Another strategy for driving product innovation is giving autonomy to team members.
Giving autonomy of team members helps motivate them because they feel trusted and valued. In fact, an in-depth study of 20,000 employees found that autonomy was a key ingredient to job satisfaction and well being.
Product innovation is a complex task, and it can’t always be solved by just throwing more money at it. Innovation starts with organizational culture, and requires creativity, risk-taking, inspiration, autonomy, and, perhaps most importantly, data.
Try these strategies to help drive product innovation in a meaningful way.