July 5, 2012 in The Work
Much has been said about innovation in business lately. In a way, this frequent use as a buzzword to business may be tiring the term and somewhat changing its meaning. Here at OBI Creative we pride ourselves on innovation. Whether it’s helping a business understand its customers better through our o.VoC or just in the Be Brave advertising philosophy that we bring to the office every day, innovation is integral to what we do.
An article by Doreen Lorenzo on Design Taxi points out that barriers to corporate innovation are often external and numerous: economic challenges in Europe; entire industries in flux such as print, television and investment banking; shifts in global financial power due to emerging markets in places like India and China.
Design Taxi mentions companies like Google and IBM that have succeeded because they are constantly re-inventing themselves. IBM has gone from a hardware maker to a service provider and thought leader while Google has gone from solely a search engine into many other directions including unmanned vehicles and mobile devices.
Lorenzo says there are four ways that corporations can be flexible and evolve.
1. Break away from standard business models
Highlighted here is the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which is coming up against expiring patents for drugs such as Plavix. What did the company opt to do? Break away from their previous business model. Sanofi is crowd-sourcing in an open competition for mobile-phone applications developers. They’re looking for diabetes-management tools, such as way to monitor and analyze food intake. When Sanofi finds the winners of this competition they’ll market the winners as Sanofi products.
2. Hire a different type of employee
IBM realized the importance of gaining different perspectives by hiring employees from different backgrounds. In addition to the expected, it also hired designers Charles and Ray Eames and even sculptor Isomu Noguchi.
3. Harness “big data” to better understand your customer
This is where services provided by OBI can really help a business. Our patented o.VoC can give businesses understanding of where their customers are coming from and what they want. This understanding can then translate to better service or targeted advertising all of which benefits the company in the long run.
4. Embrace social media not just for publicity
While social media has vast marketing and advertising potential for your company, there are also other often overlooked benefits to it. Two of these are inspiration, and research and development. It’s hard not to become inspired while browsing through Pinterest or even while sifting through less visually appealing blogs. We’ve written about companies that have tapped into customer feedback through social channels and those such as Starbucks and Intel that are outright crowd-sourcing to give their customers more of what they want.
Of course, if you’re still left baffled by where to start with corporate innovation you could consult with OBI. We’ve brought our innovative ideas to a number of companies worldwide.