We all love stories of the little guy finding a creative way to solve a big problem - and sticking it to the big players in the process.
However, success like this can feel out of reach for a lot of us. Whether you’re put off by fear of rejection, hesitant to ask for help or feeling like your idea just sucks, you’re not alone.
The beauty of innovation is its unpredictability. Today, anyone with an internet connection can find themselves the Next Big Thing.
Be an Agent of Change
All innovation starts with an idea. And that idea really can come from anyone. That doesn’t mean it always comes without hard work.
Write down all of your ideas in a dedicated ‘ideas book’ - no matter how insignificant or how grandiose. If any jump out at you, dedicate some time to thorough research. Look into industry trends, emerging technologies and what the competition is doing. Find problems and see how you can solve them creatively (and cheaply).
Act on your instinct and act quickly. There’s no more disheartening feeling than watching someone develop an idea you previously had and turning it into a success. Watching from the sidelines can hurt.
And size is no barrier to success. As Richard Branson says, “Small businesses are nimble and bold and can often teach much larger companies a thing or two about innovations that can change entire industries.” They can also move at a more rapid pace and have less at stake if their venture fails.
Pitching Your Idea
As you’re preparing your pitch, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek advice from trusted sources on the topic and ensure you’ve covered all bases.
Go in with a clear strategy for the future, an accurate budget and a risk mitigation plan. This will show that you’re well prepared and understand the process of getting the project off the ground.
And when you’re passionate about your idea, show it. Whether you’re pitching your idea to your boss, colleague or potential investor, your passion needs to shine through. It’ll give your listener confidence that you know what you’re doing and will help persuade them that it’s the best use of their resources.
Create a Culture of Innovation
The most successful companies strive for innovation in all areas of their business. However, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, only 58% of medium-sized businesses in Australia have introduced innovation in a meaningful way.
And although theoretically anyone is capable of innovation, a positive environment which encourages such thought is necessary for all good ideas to flourish.
This can be done by establishing innovation as a core value of your business. Keep an open dialogue between employees and management and ensure everyone is always looking for ways that processes could be improved. It may also be highly beneficial to set aside time for the sharing of ideas and encouraging employees to work on projects in teams.
It’s also a good idea to look at what the most innovative companies are doing. For example, Amazon and Apple spruik the benefits of diversity in hiring. This practice offers a range of perspectives when tackling a problem.
On the other hand, Google CEO Larry Page talks of Moon Shots. This ‘go hard or go home’ strategy is best described as the backing of the most outlandish projects that could change the face of business if they come good. However, since most companies don’t have access to Google’s level of resources, this technique may not be of much value.
You have the power to be an influence in your industry. So work hard, be curious and stay humble.