A long time ago, Birdseye released a product called Ketchips. They were fries with ketchup running through the middle, which sounded great until you had one and realised it was like shooting hot lava into your mouth. Injuries aside, they're an interesting example of innovation.
Innovation is key to your strategy but that doesn't mean you need to develop a whole new product. The word innovation is often used as a bit of a catch all term, synonymous with creativity, product launches or market changes, but there are quite specific categories and knowing them will help you map out where innovation is required within your strategy.
John Bessant and Joe Tidd best summarise Innovation into 4Ps.
Paradigm Innovation is the shifting of an underlying mental model via a change, the common example being Henry Ford and the motorcar. A recent and more pertinent to this industry example is the iPhone. The launch of the iPhone, and subsequent smartphone growth, has had a massive impact on the way people consume information and interact with brands.
Process innovation focuses around change in operational processes and is often internal to a company. It can greatly impact the efficiency and profitability of a business and there are a number of tools and frameworks to help stimulate this type of innovation - for example, the Flow Process Chart. A good example of this might be redeveloping the way a business handles their support tickets to improve their customer service.
Positioning Innovation is about repositioning, taking a product or service and offering it in a new market, or with a new slant. A recent good example would be AirBNB, originally positioned around conferences before moving into the general holiday and traveller industry.
Product is the most commonly thought of innovation category, in fact when most people talk about innovation they are thinking product based. It encompasses the creation or development of new goods or services and can be commonly found. The Amazon Echo range is a notable example of a Product based innovation that changed the way many people interact with digital services.
Innovation is key to driving your business forward - which of the 4Ps will you focus on? Something to discuss over the fries.
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