A Comprehensive Business Innovation Guide for 2021 and Beyond

What is Business Innovation?

Simply put, innovation is coming up with a new way to do things. In business innovation, new ways are introduced with the aim of earning more money for the business.

As a business concept, innovation applies to various products, services, policies, and efforts made to increase the profitability of an organization. It could include new products meant to serve customers better or new programs to help employees to communicate better about the projects they are working on.

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Business innovation comes into play every time you are trying to find new ways to improve your business.

Innovation means to change or introduce some modification in an existing product or service. In the face of the ever-changing business dynamics, your business cannot run at a steady rate. Currently, businesses experience so many changes over a short period.

No wonder you need to be ready to bring in the changes needed on your existing model, services, or products. The primary goal of bringing in innovation strategies in your business is to increase the productivity of your business.

It is the surest way of achieving work improvements. Let’s take a perspective on innovation changes that will single out your business for a trajectory of success in 2021 and beyond.


Why Business Innovation?

Business innovation is a must-do for your business for one simple reason: value addition. With so much competition that is ever increasing in the business world, every field has to adapt itself. It could be changing for a better revenue system or change in a series of actions.

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You need to keep updating your business to ensure you achieve constant improvements. A successful business stems up from the creation of new revenue opportunities, introducing more efficient work methodologies.

Eventually, every innovation step made in your business steers your organization towards improved productivity. And don’t we all want that? Basically, innovation is a step taken for the improvement of your business.

Types of Business Innovation

Surprisingly, most of the innovation efforts made are very small and are hardly noticed by others. However, the secret is in constantly building towards an innovative culture.

It is how you overtake your competitors and lead your industry seemingly effortlessly, with no one noticing until you have secured an undeniable top location on the industry map.

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As unseen as innovations may seem at first, they play a crucial role in improving your business’ productivity.

Innovation approaches can be improved services or from the incorporation of the latest technologies science can afford.

With the constant behavioural changes in customers and target audiences, you need to ensure your business is proactive enough to keep up with the changes, and you can achieve customer satisfaction despite the changing needs of your audience.

The small changes you will incorporate in your business will go a long way in ensuring that you retain your customers, which is your ready market for your products and services.

To achieve this level of flexibility, you need to be aware of all the innovation changes taking place in the market, even beyond your industry.

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Most of the innovative options are at your disposal, you just need to choose the best innovation that is best suited to give your business solutions that will improve the productivity of your organization.

Take a look at these amazing types of business innovation approaches that will befit the progress of your business in 2021 and beyond:

I. Incremental Innovation

Incremental Innovation deals with improvements made at stage levels. Through this type of innovation, you keep making some adjustments at every step. You should introduce gradual changes like improving the quality of your products or services and finding ways to do your work more efficiently.

Incremental innovation is like climbing stairs. All you need to do is ensure that every new step is an improvement of the previous steps. Business innovation is easier done in steps other than having to incur the costs of a major overhaul of your business structure.

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Make your team keep track of changes made daily and have them try to surpass the previous results. It is more efficient to have your team taking consistent small steps daily than have to wait for one major step periodically.

Keeping up with changes requires that you create an innovative culture that is engrained in your everyday business routines.

Incremental innovation takes into account the continuous improvement or enhancement of products or services that are in existence and strives to add value to the already existing market.

In this approach, your focus is reducing any defects in your products or services and incrementally improving the performance of your brand.

The performance enhancement can be achieved through features like expansions, next-generation products, and cost reductions.

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This type of innovation that occurs in the short-term and does not involve major technological advancements may seem to have a low market impact, but it secures your place in the competition throughout the constant growth efforts.

Incremental business innovation incorporates small changes daily. Your business could make changes that do not aim at creating a new market, such as improving the packaging volume or weight. Such alterations that do not create different types of products seek to achieve optimum customer satisfaction so that your retention levels remain high.

II. Disruptive Innovation

One of the most recent breeds of innovation is the newly surfaced disruptive innovation. Through this approach of business innovation, a new market is created – one that completely disrupts the existing market.

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Huge companies that are the major contributors to a given industry decide to start giving their services and products at a different brand value.

Such changes are made in close association with incremental innovation. Additionally, incremental innovations are accompanied by the launch of new innovative products.

Eventually, the focus shifts from the old customers that loved the old classic products. The creation of a new market creates room for your business to come up with disruptive innovation that takes over the audience left by the incumbent’s shift in product or services.

By providing the unhappy customers with what they need or by giving them better products and services at affordable rates, your business will disturb the market by creating a new market through the use of a value network.

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Disruptive innovation is when there is the creation of new technologies and products to serve an already existing market. This innovation is made possible by the introduction of a new technological advancement that provides a more efficient and accessible alternative to what already exists in a market.

Businesses utilize disruptive innovation to serve and meet the ever-evolving needs of the customers. It leads to the emergence of new value streams of products and new services offered that did not exist previously.

You do not have to take up an entire already established technological advancement to make the most from disruptive innovation. You just need to stay informed. Harness the potential of newly introduced technologies before they are established and taking over the entire market.

You should make sure you are up to date on all technological advancements, even those that are not necessarily directly impacting your field as they start. In most cases, disruptive innovation originates at the lower end of most market segments.

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As the maturity of the technology increases, it grows to eventually displace the seemingly already established market leaders. This type of innovation occurs on a medium to long-term basis.

For more information on how best to utilize the benefits, take a look at our quick guide to disruptive innovation.

III. Sustaining Innovation

Sustaining innovation is similar to incremental innovation in the sense that it seeks to improve the products at every iteration in keeping with customers’ demands. Unlike disruptive innovation, the product improves with minimal changes as a way of keeping up with behavioural change and taste in preferences of the target audience. The improvement can be made at higher levels provided there is a demand that necessitates the changes.

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Take advantage of the direction forces in the market of your products and services. Keeping up with the minimal changes as the need arises does not only ensure that you retain your customers but also could result in a high-end product, and in the long run, one with a higher cost than the previous original products.

Such major advancements could be realized, yielding your business great profits through the changes that may currently seem irrelevant.

Sustaining innovation is also referred to as architectural innovation. It involves the modification of the existing solutions for a new market. Architectural innovation refers to changing the overall design of your products by putting the existing components together in new ways. This type of innovation occurs on a short to medium-term basis.

IV. Radical Innovation

In this type of innovation, a business applies new technology to a new market. Radical innovation takes place when a new product, process, or service that incorporates high technological advancement causes a high market impact and ends up replacing the existing offers completely.

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This type of innovation occurs on a long-term basis.

Business Innovation Management

Innovation is a compilation of change agents. Since the basic objective of introducing innovation is to bring change to your processes, you need to make sure the change is favorable, lucrative, and attainable.

There are multiple options on which you can apply innovation in your field. It could be as a new idea or introduced change to your products or services.

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Principally, your drive for innovation needs you to think imaginatively and collect relevant information and take up initiatives to obtain greater benefits from the resources available to you. You need to always remember that innovation has more to do with the adaptability of your business than it has to do with invention.

Change is inevitable in your business experience, and your growth is heavily reliant on how flexible you are to anticipate change and make the calculated moves necessary to benefit from the forces of change.

Successful innovation demands that your processes embrace any changes in the business environment and make the necessary changes to deliver better results. Taking up the process of innovation involves a great component of risk as new paths are discovered, and uncertain territories explored.

Taking risks is an inevitable element of business innovation. In this business innovation guide, we take a close look at how best to effectively manage innovation.

What is Business Innovation Management?

Business innovation management is the process through which you will manage the innovation you settle on, dealing with how it affects aspects of decision making, practices, and actions as your way of responding to your business vision and opportunity.

All of the decisions you make depending on the type of innovation you are pursuing at a given point are aimed at achieving set targets that are meant to increase your business value.

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The process of managing your business innovation requires you to make use of certain management tools that will help bring the management and other entities on a common platform and get them to move towards the desired goal.

Business innovation management tools could be something as simple as a brainstorming session with your team members or something more complex like strategic planning and prototyping. Managing your business innovation processes revolves around the following five stages.

a. Evaluate Ideas

As you sample out various innovation strategies viable for your business, you need to evaluate the ideas and their contribution to the planned business product and model. Numerous ideas are available to you for consideration.

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You must therefore maintain a balance in evaluating the validity and value addition of the different ideas.

It is the surest way to ensure that the various ideas do not bring in some stray ones to overpower the core objective. Business innovation needs to achieve the set goals, and their effect on other business operations must remain manageable.

b. Conceptualize the Product

Now that you have sampled and evaluated different ideas to explore in your business innovation, you need to develop concepts based on valid ideas. You need to look at the investment required to achieve the said innovation. Workable timelines and expected returns also need to be evaluated.

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At the end of the day, any innovation effort made should result in value addition for your business. You, therefore, need to conceptualize all your innovation ideas to see which will work best for your business.

c. Demonstrate the Plan

After conceptualizing the business innovation, it is time to formulate the concepts. You need to come up with an all-encompassing plan that will see the implementation of the desired changes to the products and services offered to the end-user.

d. Validate Value to the End-User

Once your customers interact with the demonstrated plan, you are now in a position to tell how much value the innovated product or service is delivered to the end-users. It is at this point that you can ascertain whether the results yielded by the introduced change are in-line with the desired goal.

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Validating the value of your business addition and the level of customer satisfaction achieved is important to your business. It will help you ensure continuous improvement of your business products and services.

e. Develop the Product

With your customers happy with the value added through your business innovation, you can now go into the actual development of the product.

Whatever aspect of changes you have introduced, you now need to build consistency and meet the newly developed expectations from your customers.

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At this point, you can earmark a definite investment to be utilized on the planning lines set apart to build the product or service. Such resources could also be used to commercialize the already developed products that have featured some of the innovation changes.

Our Business Innovation Guide

You need to manage the process of your business innovation, and make sure to follow the following steps to achieve innovation excellence in your organization

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1. Map Your Entire Innovation Process

As you manage your business innovation, you will develop a bird’s eye view of the entire innovation process. It will also place your top management in a better position to identify areas of improvement.

Mapping the innovation of your business will enable you to identify new ideas and quickly assess their level of compatibility with the big picture of your business.

2. Forecast Market Conditions

The innovation management of your business will create a foresight of the market. Your business stands a better chance of taking on your industry against your competition when you can anticipate market changes beforehand.

From the forecast, you can keep tabs on the customer trends and identify the upcoming market segments.

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Your business will detect the competition on the existing business models and charts out necessary measures to counter them. The nature of innovation creates two sides in the market.

One side catches the wave and rises with it, whereas the other side is covered by the wave and is left struggling to survive.

Ensure you are ahead of your competition by managing your business innovation in a manner that puts you on top of the game in your industry and beyond.

3. Steer Effective Communication

What your business needs to achieve the set goals is motivation instilled in your team members and channel inquisitiveness and innovation-driven by your management. To ensure that your leadership remains motivated and communicates well, you need to manage your innovation process.

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Communication among teams will establish more effective ways of dealing with all the innovative tasks of your business.

Your leaders will remain open to new challenges and will be highly flexible and ready to change the customary challenges as they strive to keep up with and stay ahead of all the innovative market changes.

4. Ensure Proper Timing of Market Introduction and Avoid Delayed Innovation

When it comes to innovation, timing is everything; it is more than catching your wave while surfing! It determines how successful your innovation is in taking up the market forces. Faulty timing w is one of the primary causes for the failure of projects in taking up innovative steps.

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When you delay the introduction of the changes in your products or services, your business loses its competitive edge over your competition, and starting out on the wrong foot adversely affects the outcome of your business innovation.

Your staff and top management all need to be on the guard when it comes to taking up an innovative initiative. They all need to be in sync with market forces and direct the innovation process to embrace all the necessary changes.

Managing your business innovation means every aspect of your business is ahead of the stipulated timelines for different milestones.

5. Strategize and Govern Your Innovation Process From an Effective Business Perspective

While venturing into innovation, you need to manage it in a manner that ensures all the related responsibilities are fully undertaken. To make the most from business innovation, your team needs to be well coordinated.

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The success of your innovative efforts is dependent on the consistency established among all the involved departments of your business.


To build a successful business innovation strategy, you have to be knowledgeable about the type of innovation best suited for each product as well as the process and management involved.

Your strategy determines how you will spend your time, efforts, and money on the innovative process and management.

Business innovation revolves around identifying customer needs, generating ideas, evaluating the ideas, and choosing the best options after conceptualization.

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The timing for the development of your idea has to be perfect to ensure successful implementation. Translating your idea into innovation is a detailed process that needs to be handled with utmost care.

Implementing the business innovation and strategies to ensure they do not divert your objectives and set goals protects the focus of your business, enhancing its relevance in the market and industry.

Monitoring your idea set into action is the most exciting part of the business innovation process and management.

Your business innovation management is the determining factor of achieving the growth desired.

About the Author

Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization focused on a better way to learn business!

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