Innovation invokes feelings of excitement, adventure, renewal, growth and learning. Innovation is the process of applying creativity to improve or develop new products, markets or processes for your business, and with it comes the promise of success and achievement. Most businesses use innovation when they start… few however see the need for continued innovation, or at least a continued reassessment of an innovation strategy, in an established business. 

Then a pandemic hits. The world and how we work is changed overnight, and “normal” is not returning any time soon. What happens to those companies who have lost the ability to be innovative? 

I won’t answer that question. I’ll remind you that 57% of Fortune 500 companies were started during economic downturns (Kauffman Foundation study), so what made them more competitive? Innovation. 

Here are the five top reasons to keep innovation alive and well in your business:

  • Innovation gives you that creative edge. Innovation encourages tangential thinking and the freedom to act on new ideas. Don’t lose that creativity by getting too accustomed to one way of doing things – stay open, stay fresh. 
    1. Innovation provides business resilience by keeping you relevant. By maintaining a focus on the end-user of your products and within your process, innovation can uncover how you can improve outcomes and accelerate growth. 
  • Innovation enhances employee engagement. Feeling valued, being productive, staying healthy, dealing with diversity and inclusion… Use innovation to find ways of building and developing your team to make it easier to adapt and evolve when needs must, and maintain the pace during stable periods.
  1. Innovation ensures you have a pipeline for continuous rollout. Fostering a culture of continuous innovation in your company means that you are always exploring new markets, products or services, ready to launch that new thing that will make a difference to your next phase of growth.
  2. Innovation works for even the most complex challenges. The collaborative problem-solving tools of innovation may take a little longer than one lightbulb moment but they yield better, more sustainable solutions for your business needs.

So give your business the permission it needs to stay open to truly new ideas. Include innovation on the agenda and bring back the fun – allow it to take you from creativity to market, from a problem to a solution, from nothing to something wonderful. 

And repeat.

(First appeared on LinkedIn