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The Secret to Business Survival is Constant Innovation

Although all entrepreneurs have their own recipe for success, there is one element that seems to be common to all prosperous business ventures. That element is constant innovation, and in this article we are going to describe the reasons why constant innovation is a pre-condition to success, along with some examples that attest to that fact.

Old Problems Require New Solutions

Einstein’s famous phrase “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” sums up one of the main reasons behind the need for constant innovation. The concept of innovation itself is closely linked to problem solving, and for many successful entrepreneurs, they are in fact one and the same. It must be noted that in the business world, the link between innovation and problem solving can be seen in practice at four different levels:

- Problem or challenge solving

- Problem prevention or risk management

- Continuous improvement or incremental innovation, and

- Future creation or the development of solutions that represent a breakthrough

In all instances, only business owners who engage their visionary ability with a focus on constant innovation are the most likely to survive in a sea of ever-increasing competition.

A Constantly Evolving World

In today’s world, one-off innovation is no longer enough when it comes to future-proofing a business idea and its long-term implementation. The nature of innovation itself makes it an ongoing quest for betterment, since at its very core, innovation means the improvement of existing products, services, and conditions. Therefore, only those who are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to fill gaps find will find a reward to their efforts.

Linked to this is the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy, a marketing concept that has redefined our understanding of what it takes to achieve strategic success. Blue Ocean describes an uncertain environment full of unknowns, where demand for new products and services is created rather than uncovered or evident on the surface. For businesses to operate in this environment, they must invest in value innovation, or the ability to offer new solutions that combine unrivalled and differentiated functionality with cost savings for both the company and its clients. Cirque du Soleil, Home Depot, and Starbucks are some examples of businesses that have successfully applied this idea.

Changing demographics are another reason why innovation is key to business survival. Changes in the makeup of the population end up becoming primary sources of innovative ideas, as different consumer groups have different needs and expectations. Business owners need to anticipate those needs in order to give their businesses a competitive advantage. Currently, millennials have emerged as the most significant and influential demographic group, with attitudes and behaviors markedly different from previous generations. It is obvious that catering to the needs of this demographic segment is essential for any business that needs to stay ahead of the innovation game.

Examples of Constant Innovation

The modern business world is brimming with examples that demonstrate the relationship between constant innovation and survival. Procter & Gamble’s systematization of innovation is often cited as a model to follow. The US multinational invests nearly $2bn every year in research and development, and its ongoing dedication to what has been called transformational-sustaining innovation was able to reverse a dramatic decline in the sales of some its trademark products, such as Tide or Crest.

We can find another example in Lego, which outgrew its risk-averse tendencies and understood the value of constant innovation and of embedding it into organizational culture. As a result, Lego was able to rebuild its brand and bring the company back from the brink of collapse into a decade of consecutive increases in profits and sales.

To sum up, there is no doubt that innovation matters, and that constant innovation is a game-changing approach that no modern business can afford to overlook.











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