At Jim Carroll's blog, he takes up the tough question of what to do when your company is in an innovation rut. To keep up with the competition, he points out that it is vital to keep realigning your company to the constant changes that are happening in your industry. The easiest way to do this is through constant innovation, but many companies are so focused on day-to-day activities that companies can't step back to find the next step or innovative idea that will keep them up to speed in their industry. Jim provides several difficult question every company should address in order to keep the innovation rut away from their organization:
- How quickly is our marketplace changing? How quickly might it change in the future? What's the impact on what I sell, and how I sell it?
- How are our products changing? Will they change faster in terms of features? Will support become easier, or more complex? Can we manage to operate in a faster market?
- Are our products moving upscale, or are they becoming commodities, such that you'll be forced to compete on price? Can we do something so that there is more of a service element to our product?
- What new competitors are appearing, or might emerge in the future? Is the basic business model threatened? Is there more likelihood of direct outreach to the consumer rather than through an existing distributor/wholesaler network?
- What moves could we make to make sure we can remain competitive? You really must ask yourself some probing questions as you go through this process. You need to challenge yourself and think what might really be different in five years, in terms of what you sell, who you sell to, how you sell it, and who you are selling against.