Innovation is creating a meaningful and unique product or service (Doug Hall, Driving Eureka).
There are two basic types of businesses, traditional and venture businesses. Traditional business competes in a known market with known products, while a venture business create a new market with new products. Both, traditional and venture businesses can innovate.
Innovation has two basic approaches, product focused or customer focused. Innovation happens in three areas, the business model, strategy, and profit levers.
A lack of innovation is the single largest reason existing organizations decline (Peter Drucker)
A product focused approach to innovation is the more traditional approach where experts and/or researchers develop a final product based on their experience and/or research, then start selling it and adjust it in the future, based on customer feedback. An example where this is often used is the medical industry. Apple also seems to do a good job with this approach, since they set a high value on quality, simplicity, and privacy. Sometimes the customer doesn't know what they want until you show it to them (Steve Jobs).
A customer focused approach to innovation is a more recent approach that became what is known as the lean startup model. This began, in my humble opinion, by Steve Blank, author of The Startup Manual. This approach develops a minimum viable product to test assumptions with potential customers in order to further develop a final product, after you have discovered and validated real customers. There are no facts inside your building, so get out and talk with customers (Steve Blank).
The business model is how a business makes money, and is explained in detail in the book Business Model Generation. The business model can be recorded and developed with a Business Model Canvas that can be thought of as a one-page plan with nine parts. The Business Model Canvas can be found at https://www.strategyzer.com, and it consists of...
A business model describes how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value... The four external forces of a business model include industry forces, market forces, macro-economic forces, and key trends (Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Business Model Generation).
Strategyzer is a company of geniuses (in my opinion) who have followed up on their best-selling book, Business Model Generation, with the books, Value Proposition Design, Testing Business Ideas, The Invincible Company, and High-Impact Tools for Teams. You can get all five in a box set, here. They also offer classes, courses, and coaches, here.
There are many books written by experts about what strategy is. I believe strategy includes the following...
Industry structure can be shaped, and creative thinking can be systematically unlocked and developed (W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy).
One of my favorite strategy and innovation books is the best-selling and wildly popular book, Blue Ocean Strategy, which provides a simple systematic approach to renewing your strategy. If you visit the Blue Ocean Strategy website, here, you can learn more about a Blue Ocean Strategy, get some proven and priceless tools that can help you improve your strategy, like the strategy canvas, the six paths framework, and the four actions framework. The website also offers a Blue Ocean Strategy online course.
I first mentioned profit levers in my book Opportunity Truth, and have gone on to refine the idea. The following are the primary ways a business can increase their profits.
The only sustainable solution to the accelerated pace of change is to create a culture of innovation. Innovation creates something meaningful and unique, and can be a product or a process, and innovation should be everyone's responsibility (Doug Hall, Driving Eureka).
The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Driving Eureka by Doug Hall
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
Testing Business Ideas by David Bland and Alex Osterwalder
Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros
The Disruptive Voice
Innovation and Leadership
The Innovation Engine Podcast
We can innovate our personal lives within our top 10 natural opportunities (as listed on the Personal Growth page).. This can significantly increase our sense of purpose and influence, which can attract better human made opportunities. Many very successful people have referred to this cause and effect relationship as creating our own luck, or creating opportunities. When we focus on improving ourself and doing our best, it builds our confidence and competence, which naturally attracts better human made opportunities.
The book, Opportunity Truth, is a great place to start with personal innovation. It also provides details on how the Purposeful Growth System applies to professional growth, leadership growth, and business growth. The @AnewTrek YouTube channel provides great playlists with collections of links to many of the best videos of experts who share their secrets for personal innovation... https://www.youtube.com/@anewtrek/playlists
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