Consider the “WHY?” in Innovation 

Asking “WHY?” typically starts about the time children are two years old and continues until they are about five years old. The lessening of this question probably starts when children discover their parents, older siblings, and even teachers are tired of hearing them ask “WHY?” – but what if we need to be a little kid again for the sake of innovation?

First, let’s look at some of the top factors that drive innovation:

  • Continuing to improve products
  • Offering something new or unique
  • Coming up with new ideas for products and services
  • Delivering great customer service

Simply put, we all tend to look at innovation as generating new ideas or product improvements. But business innovation is typically defined in variations of the following:   

  • The ability to conceive, develop, deliver, and scale new products, services, processes, and business models for customers
  • The systematic practice of developing and marketing breakthrough products and services for adoption by customers
  • The process of making something new or improved that better serves a business like a new product or service, a workflow improvement, or anything that improves the business in a new way

This is where we differ slightly in opinion – because it goes deeper. This is how we define it:

Innovation is a creative solution to a customer’s problems.

The key to innovation is to identify these problems, understand the solution your company provides, and then communicate the “WHY?” – the message that connects the solution to their problem. But in order to communicate it, you have to know your “WHY?” as well.

Innovation requires that we not only listen to ideas, but also identify whether they are the RIGHT ideas. This is where we see problems and you do too – in other companies, your own business, or maybe in a product line you are a fan of.

Will implementing the solutions you have planned solve your customers’ problems? Are you collaborating on, and considering your customers’ true needs? Do you understand their “WHY?”

If you don’t, innovative ideas won’t positively impact your business or bring the growth you were expecting. Too often we think like “ourselves” as the engineer, as the developer, or as the marketer, and as the company president – and don’t empathize with what our customers need or perceive how they look at something. We can be “too close” to see outside our own thinking.  

If you want to increase demand for your products and services, you must understand which unique problems you solve in the marketplace and how to speak to your customer’s “WHY?” This will deliver the best value to them and boost your bottom line.

In order to do this, we challenge you to ask “WHY?” all the time! Become that annoying or cute kid again – full of wonder and excitement about discovering something new.

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