Innovation might seem easy. And it is.
After all, who doesn’t have a new idea at least once a month, even if it’s not regarding your industry.
So anyone can innovate and do well, as long as they execute their idea and market/package it right.
But that is any old innovation.
You need more than that. You are in a massively competing environment and you need to stay on top to be remembered and to create and ongoing, solid income.
You need to be a dedicated, ongoing innovator.
So how do you become this great innovator?
To truly innovate, you need to get out of the constant think pattern you are in.
Asking certain types of questions is a fantastic way to jumpstart your mind out of the familiar, & shift you into a different way of thinking.
Your questions are crucial in this innovation process.
If you ask the right questions, you will be more apt to get better answers/solutions.
I am not talking about these common, ho-hum generic questions
1. What can I do to improve my business?
2. How can I improve my marketing message?
3. How can I make more money?
4. How can I increase my ROI?
5. How can I get more traffic to my blog/website?
These are questions, and will help you – but not to innovate.
To innovate, you need to ask very pointed questions.
Pointed questions will get your mind automatically thinking differently.
Specific, focused questions will allow you to create, innovate and possibly expand your product line or services.
It gets your mind outside of what you are usually focusing on.
This helps create space in your mind so you can pick up on ‘the new’ or allows for your creativity to be sprung free.
Big name brands know this.
I will make a bold assumption that Nike probably posed either one of these 2 questions to come up with their new Fuel Band:
1. How can we incorporate technology into our industry, to keep up with the population’s love for technology?
2. How can we incorporate technology into our product line, to keep up to date with the current times – as technology is being incorporated into everyone’s daily activities – whether it’s life or work.
So now it’s your turn. 🙂
“How can I incorporate technology into our industry more or into my business more to serve my customers better and to remain the top in the industry or at least ahead of the competition?
Think like Nike thinks.
(note: technology can be replaced with anything that is large, dominant or world affecting – just incorporate what is impacting current times into your question)
Nike doesn’t do this once and then stop. They do this constantly.
Asking specific questions should be a constant in your business.
This is what all entrepreneurs should be doing throughout each year, at the minimum, at least a few times a year.
Tip: Build this into your annual schedule. Do this once a quarter as you reflect on your business and what is going on in the world.
This brings me to my second point: Research
Be savvy & occasionally look outside your own industry (even related industries) when doing research.
If you are online, go to industries that are offline mostly.
And visa versa.
If you are an online marketer, don’t look at online sales. It’s too closely related and won’t really get you out of your current mindframe to help your mind see things differently to help you innovate.
Better suggestion: Look at what the agriculture industry is doing.
Might seem odd – but you have no idea what can come to mind & what you might end up innovating just by looking at another industry more closely.
Have fun with this research. Get into it! Research should be exciting! Make it an adventure!
ex: For agriculture industry: go out to a ranch and observe!
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to do all your research with reading (everything online).
Go and see with your own eyes!
Put yourself smack in the middle of the element you are observing or studying and your mind will really begin to flourish with more creative thoughts and ideas!
ex: See the workers on the field, smell the smells, hear the sounds. Observe what they do when they are gathering the food or done gathering the food.
Is there any way you can develop something that can help them? Is there any way you can take this old fashioned business model, that is sustainable to this day, and replicate any aspect of it in your business?
There is a reason they still have ranchers on the farms even though there is a ton of technology and industrialized equipment out there. Think about that.
Just keep your question active as you learn. When you are studying/observing/learning, just keep your specific question in mind and it will help form the ideas innovation.
And same for offline: If you are a restaurant, don’t look at the vendor industry. Again, it’s too closely related.
Better suggestion: Observe online marketing or study what the engineering industry is up to.
ex: Interview a top online marketer or go to a seminar.
The possibilities could be endless
ex: Talk to a top engineer and find out why more bridges are being made. Is vehicle transportation always going to be the leading transportation even in the future?
If it will be, can you create 4-5 healthy, low carb or low fat or low sodium, or low sugar quick meals into your restaurant (take out center) so people can eat them in their car – but keep them mess free?
1 vegetarian, 1 meat, 1 chicken, 1 fish, 1 kids meal would give you 5 right off the start.
How can you cater to your customers who might not always have time to come in and eat /dine yet love your food but are in their car more now because they are sick of flying and all the hassles that come with it.
You get the idea.
This is how you need to be thinking, whether you run a business offline or online.
1. Just research or observe what another industry is doing or has done to keep current with our constantly changing times.
2. Or discover the intersection point between your industry and another. This is happening more increasingly today than ever before.
3. Or think how you can bring another industry into what you are doing.
ex: Professional athletes creating their own clothing line. Sports and designing clothing on it’s own don’t sound like they go together. But this has been proven true over time. David Beckham has his own line.
There are numerous benefits to this:
1. Other industries often are already addressing society’s demands and requests (work or personal life) before it even hits your industry.
Imagine if you could capitalize on your innovation before it even hits your industry and be considered a thought leader 🙂
2. It will allow you to gain a new perspective on business.
Seeing the operations, customer service, management, or other aspects of other industries will bring a more global business perspective into your own business.
3. It will spark your mind with ideas – as you observe or study what they are doing or what they seem to be going towards to keep up with the current times.
Be clever and get a head of your competition (who right now, is probably reading the ‘same old’ industry stuff.) Differentiating yourself doesn’t start from the outside – what you project to your target market or your competition.
Differentiating yourself/your business starts with all the things you do behind the scenes/within your business model, they don’t know about.
So if you really want to differentiate yourself and stand out, you have to first be different in how you ask questions and research.
What comes from that: what you produce from that – what mindset comes from that – what product or service that comes from that – will be a solid factor that really differentiates you/your business in your industry from all the others.
Train your mind to think differently. This might take some time, so give yourself a break if it doesn’t happen the first time you do it. But stick with it. It will.
Your mind can’t innovate being in the same place all the time. Give it a break and allow it to have room to take in some ‘new’ and process it. That is why it is commonly said some of the best ideas are thought of when that person wasn’t even thinking about the topic.
Trust in this statement and it will help lead you to success:
“Specific questions and outside-your-industry research will provide one of the best foundations for innovation.” ~ Jaxi West
I would love to hear about your new innovations once you start to do this! Share them or any thoughts you have on this on my Facebook fanpage. Also, please share this with others if you think it can help them.