Outstanding companies use innovation to stay in front of the market and the competition. Alas, most innovations do not fall into your lap or come knocking on your door. Still, many business people seem to think that might happen. They watch the world from their desks, and base most of their decisions from that view. Perhaps they expect the same old marketing and controlling costs will be enough to boost their profits.
Accomplished businesspersons aggressively pursue innovations. They develop a systematic process to develop an innovation strategy containing three key components:
Analysis, Planning & Implementation
Analysis includes market research reports; assessing the health of your organization; finding out what your customers want; how your competitors operate; and finding out what the petfood industry's R&D trends are. Crucial to any analysis is upper-management, making face-to-face contact with experts, suppliers, retailers, existing customers and potential customers.
If you place undue resources on long-term planning, today's business will suffer. The ideal approach is to focus on the present to achieve growth and keep one eye on the future. Looking for innovations is important, but so is taking good care of current business.
Imagining the future
Companies tend to see their competitors as providers of similar products. Then the future throws them a curve ball. A helicopter service may be doing very well transporting people to an exclusive conference center. Then, high-quality videoconferencing cuts their customer base in half. Innovators concentrate on what their customers' requirements are likely to be in the future.
The customer's ideal
The core of what you are looking for is what the customer wants from you. Analyze why your customers buy from you and what their ideal is. Next, prioritize their needs to increase the odds of your strategy succeeding.
Paying close attention to what your customers say and what they really do is crucial. Formal and informal market research are important. Scientific journals and trade magazines are valuable resources. Perhaps some of the best hunting grounds are at symposia and exhibitions. For example, at Petfood Forum 2006, you can find useful contacts, ideas and innovations. You can network and discuss key issues. In the exhibition area, you can have an exceptional opportunity to evaluate a wide range of products (over 170 exhibits). As one attendee put it, "it is a Mecca for purchasers."
Testing the idea
Before committing to the production and launch of a new product, it is wise to test the idea. When projects involve different teams, the following list helps to keep the project on track and avoid problems.
After a process has passed to another team, it will still need to be monitored if it affects your customers. Documenting processes always leads to their improvement.
Again, the core of what you are looking for is what your current and potential customers want from you now, and in the future. Innovators concentrate on what their customers' requirements are likely to be in the future. Looking for those requirements at Petfood Forum 2006 is part of that quest. The following are summaries of the innovative presentations you will find there.