Myth Busting Strategy: Innovation

Strategy can feel like a vague term, and truthfully, it’s because everything requires one. Whether you’re on a football field or playing a board game, you need a strategy. The same applies to business. There is a step before your idea can be marketed, logos chosen and so on. You must know what you want to accomplish and how.

Of course there are many types of strategy. In this blog series we will focus on three: innovation strategy, operation strategy, and sales management strategy. First up, innovation.

Uniting the Two

From our perspective, innovation is about the process. You may be thinking, “process, realllly?” But here is our rationale – You want to create new ideas, devices, or methods, correct? Well, how is that accomplished? Innovation is the process of getting from company strategy to building that new solution for your customers.

Easy? How do you know what customers want? You listen. This can be tricky though. It may be telling you what isn’t working well. Or it may be that it does not exist at all. Listen carefully to the customer’s voice, because you might just discover something completely unexpected … a solution they didn’t even think of!

Strategic Innovation Pros

Consider Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of Kind Healthy Snacks whose approach to creating healthy and tasty snack bars revolutionized that industry. He simply replaced “or” with “and” and focused on his goal, and he has been rewarded with more than 125% growth in 8 years.

His innovation took strategy. Lubetzky realized at first that his budget for samples was way too small. How could he listen to the customer if they didn’t know about his product? He worked to get investors and within a year he multiplied his sampling budget by 1000! It has paid off. Sales grew from $1 Million in 2004 to over $125 Million in 2012. Kind continues to invest more in sampling than any other form of marketing.

The big take away here is that innovative business strategy shouldn’t be limited by the “rules.” What rules? It’s business, and when it comes to business innovation nothing should hold you back. Lubetzky changed the rules.  In the end, you should ask what needs to be changed in the market, ask what gaps aren’t being addressed, and then ask yourself how YOU can address them.