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Innovation in small businesses



2021: The year of widespread innovation


We’re celebrating #WorldCreativityandInnovationDay at Sharp Thinking. This is an opportunity to showcase our client work and some of their incredible achievements over the last year. According to Deloitte, innovation is defined as


"the development of new or the improvement of existing products, services or processes."

We've witnessed so many of our own clients launch new business ventures, diversify into new markets and embark on their digital journey and we've been proud to be a part of this.


There has never been a better time for businesses to innovate, think on their feet and go off-plan. A chance to push boundaries and achieve incredible things. The Marketing Week Covid Business Impact Survey revealed that 56% of directors said the first lockdown last year was their most innovative time at the company.


A new meaning


In the past, innovation has been associated with technology and according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group in 2019, most companies innovate by using AI and adopting new technology platforms. But last year saw a different type of innovation and it has taken a slightly new meaning and purpose. Innovation has not only become mainstream, but it has become essential for business survival.


How to innovate in your business


Let's not forget business innovation is not just about creating new ways of doing things for the accolades, it is also about doing so to increase profits.


There are several ways this can be done:


  • Product innovation – perhaps the most obvious one by creating new products or services for your business

  • Process innovation – new ways your business can deliver its products or services

  • Marketing – how your business is marketed through new packaging, pricing or advertising

  • Organisational – introducing new general business practices


The benefits can be enormous and game-changing from market differentiation, business growth and market relevance.


Examples of world-famous innovators


When innovators are mentioned surely some of these people spring to mind as mentioned in You Matter World.

  • Steve Jobs starting developed the smartphone world with the iPad

  • Marie Curie made great researches on radioactivity

  • Elon Musk has been making great progress on luxurious electric cars

  • Nikola Tesla worked on the production, transmission, and application of electric power

  • Thomas Edison invented the incandescent electric light bulb

  • Leonardo DaVinci, among many other things, invented the parachute

  • Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone


The list goes on but surely these would make your top 10? We all aspire to this and with the right tools, support and time, anything is possible.


So how can you ensure you innovate?


Successful innovation rarely happens by accident, it is planned. Here are some tips to help:

  • Take time out of the business – get away from your desk and engrained into the day to day operations of your business

  • Commission market research – ask for feedback from customers and undertake research to spot trends and gaps in the market

  • Bring in experts – use freelance consultants to spend dedicated time on innovating

  • Recruit fresh new talent – nurture new staff, train them and give them freedom and time to innovate


Further inspiration


We’ve all seen so many inspiring and moving examples since the pandemic. Discover some brilliant case studies from businesses small and large, that stood out to us last year in our blog.


Also, discover 5 ways to keep ahead of your competitors on our blog.

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