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You have been hired to help an organisation become more innovative.
You are given several weeks to draft an overall innovation strategy for the organisation.
You can use your organisation, create an imaginary organisation or pick a company you know well. (Use a Medium sized business that could realistically use your recommendations.)
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The business taken for the present case is an online portal for kid’s education. The director of the business has a vision to impart innovative knowledge to the kid’s in age bracket of 12 to 22. Mr. Director has named his business as “the ultimate knowledge”. He focuses to add different categories to his online education portal. The sections are divided into Science, Health, Discoveries and Innovation, Technology, Travel and Miscellaneous. The Director wishes to start his firm with a staff of 6 people initially, who would work in background, to develop content for the website “the ultimate knowledge”. On the other hand he wishes to rely upon digital marketing initiatives and physically set up a team of Sales and marketing. He thinks of taking innovative topics which would be developed into the content and will earn from subscriptions he adds to his website.
Business case for Executives
Starting an online education portal for kids is not a new venture in itself. There are hundreds of websites which cater to this need. Innovation is the key to success, if the person wants his business to flourish in the ever changing and dynamic markets. Initiating the business with six people at start is a good approach to begin with. But, keeping the business vision and mission to himself is not a fruitful strategy. A proper brainstorming and discussions with the team members is important. This would initiate a process on how to make the portal look different. This is the initial first key step which shall be taken. The director needs to make it firm and clear about his objectives and his expectations from each of the team members he has hired. Fearing the confidentiality of the business before actually making his online portal live on all web platforms and keeping things to himself, is sure shot way to failure. Before initiating the business venture a thorough market study is crucial aspect for any individual to start his start-up. Brainstorming on how innovative the website would be against the competitor is very much needed. Brainstorming is actually a relaxed lateral thinking approach to start any project and in this case a online business. Creative approach is too a crucial aspect of thinking holistically about the business venture. Research is another key aspect which would help to make a proper understanding about whatever a person wishes to accomplish. Proper strategizing the goals and there timeline can make a lot of difference. Bringing innovation at every stage of thought process is important plus also looking at the practicality of the ideas in the real world. Generating ideas and charting out plan to initiate those ideas are important stages in the overall development of an organization. When a proper chart of business is developed than the other things to be kept in mind is defining the stages of developing and building a team for organization. Until an unless the defining stage is not clear, the further processes would become clumsy and it would generate doubts among the members who have joined recently, rather than generating ideas from them. Organization which keeps a platform for open discussion without being judgmental will prove to be an innovative one. Asking for suggestions from the new joiners and drafting the future plans should be exercised. Defining tasks and role for each new member develops confidence and clarity of business approach. Too much pressure for work actually hampers the innovative thought process and productivity. But, a calculated pressure inculcates high rate of innovation and creativity into the business functions across different platforms.
The ultimate knowledge is defined as one platform education portal which would help in developing broader awareness and knowledge for kids across the world. The target age group for the online portal is between age 12 to age 22. This means the online education portal would emphasize in imparting specific education which would be in form of web content as well as newsletters. It will have content and topics which would excite the grey matter of kids who are teenagers at one end and who are graduates on the other. As briefly this case is about innovations and creative. So as this case will be describing about the steps, that could be taken both innovatively and creatively.
Innovation is defined as anything new which has not been seen, observed or felt before. It should be both practical and of mass appeal. There are many innovation tactics which could be taken into consideration.
The first tactic is, 1. Finding the next S-curve
If you think that any business would grow and grow fast. It is wrong. Every business, venture, or model follows a specific growth chart. This growth chart is defined as S-curve. Defining the business as described earlier is important here. Developing a well-defined S-curve would chart the prediction of the business growth exclusively and appropriately. Business growth depends on several key aspects, such as, excitement about the products to the customers. It is called customer attractiveness. Price competition, customer support challenges, issues resolving. Nowadays many tactics are in place to fulfill the needs effectively. Innovation helps in carving a successful plan. Defining the S-curve would help in focusing where innovations should be required. Once market awareness, customer awareness, competitor awareness, issue awareness, challenge awareness are in line. It would help in building up the actual business case and periodic strategies. Important approach is to implement six-sigma competencies in every step of business. Lean six-sigma approach focuses upon making the business process or every crucial aspect of it with minimum defects. A perfect six-sigma approach is minimizing defects at a stage of having not more than 3.4 defects. Six-sigma means not more than the given defects per million opportunities. Six-sigma are one of the wonderful approaches for implementing innovative strategies. An important factor shall not be missed is that there is very thin line between a strategy which is original in nature and a completely new and better strategy. This thin line describes the window in between these strategies and is known as the window of innovation. This is the window where innovation really exists in the strategic planning.
The second tactic is, 2. Lean on customers
Any successful business thrives on how much deep understanding it has of its customers. Proper need, desire, wants identification of the customers is the crucial aspect of any business and in the present case the children for an online business portal. Until an unless the organization and its team members are not aware of what actually the children of the given said age bracket wants, there actual needs and desires. It would be very difficult to chart out products or in the present case article content which suits their mindsets. Children have very choosy mindset. Even their parents are very cautious in choosing appropriate knowledge source. As it is question of their development stage. If they don’t like the product they would never come back. This will be threat to the business. Thus opportunity given will be actually opportunity lost. Innovative strategies such personalized connection with the customers and resolving their issues empathetically is very important. Implementation of proper tools to tap the needs of customers is important. Tools like customer mapping, mapping them empathetically and with deep understanding can make lot of differences. The customer needs mapping will actually throw open doors for lot of opportunities which an organization could really tap. Mapping needs creates values. This value is two sided, its customer as well as organization. Developing data and in certain cases big data will help in understanding consumer behavior. This will add values and this is what organizations in business really rely upon. There are many examples where companies have really benefited from need tapping. Like IBM launched many innovative strategies to tap the in depth real customer needs, wants and desires.
The third tactic is, 3. Think like responsible business person and Implementor
Employees and especially first line and second line managers are trained in many manners to take chances and make their choices decisively. Proper guidance however always remains an need of hour every time. Innovation involves creating new choices as well as options. This is where responsible executives excel into. A responsible thinking actually coverts the business strategies practically and make intelligent choices and decisions. With experience the knowledge actually widens. This helps in executing plans effectively. This will ultimately improve the bottom line for the business and for the organization in the end.
The fourth tactic is, 4. Lead the way
With lead the way it signifies that the employee should lead by examples. Prioritizing the work, the objectives, the scope, and adding innovations really makes a lot of difference. History of business is full of examples where innovative initiatives have resulted into breakthrough results not only for the organizations but for the employee as well.
There is no limit for innovations, however, four tactics mentioned above form the backbone of any innovative strategies to be implemented and that too creatively.
Defining the business goals and keeping an open forum for discussion among the organization members is one of the best ways innovation could be addressed in an organization. (Power, D 2016)
The organization will implement the four tactics mentioned above, it will add personalization to its approach for the customers. Personalization is the best innovative approach these days, very few companies could manage it. Of those who manage it, very few address the issues effectively and come out as success. Thus, adding personalization touch with customer touch points is the crucial aspect which should be implemented if the present business case is taken into consideration.
The business process will be defined into set of steps and stages. Each step and stage will be bifurcated into set of objectives and goal settings. Timeline for each objective as well as goal settings will be initiated. Proper implementation of strategies is crucial aspect to make business a profitable entity.
Plan for key Strategies
The business shall be defined into a proper format and stages. A business could be taken as an example of big project work.
Following are the key elements of business model in proper format.
The complete business strategies would depend upon finding out these crucial questions, like, What, Where, Why, Whose, Whom, Which. They are popularly known as the 6 W’s.
These set of steps which have been mentioned here, doesn’t only defines the business as a whole but also the launch of individual products which the business wants to launch in the subsequent future. Any business to be launched shall take poise and carefulness as one mistake could hit the bottom lines of the business deeply.
Innovation and creativity is another name for a breakthrough business model. Any breakthrough business model could only be achieved if the mistakes done by other business and competitors is appropriately minimized or arrested. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, research is important at each and every step. A typical process which has been mentioned below, won’t suffice the competitiveness until new approach that is innovative in nature is not implemented.
The perfect cycle of adding innovations start with yet another strategy of,
Plan – Do – Check – Act
PDCA in short is a best practice of improving the services of the business. Planning the objectives, implementing the strategies or objectives, checking the effect on the bottom line and lastly acting upon the customer insights and inputs. New innovative steps such scoping of the project after planning and before implementing seems to be better outlook.
PLAN: Setting objectives and taking each and appropriate steps to actually convert them into measurable results, is the sole criteria of planning process. By emphasizing upon outputs and setting expectations from the team members about the business process too forms a part of proper planning initiatives. Taking a sample test of reliability of planned activity is always the best practice.
Do stage in actuaI talks about implementing of the strategies. Untill unless whatever has been thought of, is not implemented and executed smartly, it won’t give better results. Thus “Do” stage mentions the stage of execution and implementation.
The CHECK stage is in actual a control stage. If control stage is not in process, there is possibility of not achieving the set goals as planned. Therefore, its important to have control stage. Even the innovative six-sigma strategy implementation relies on control stage. It’s a crucial aspect of innovation, strategic build up and in the end achieving the pre-planned set goals and objectives.
Act stage is self-explanatory. Act mainly focuses on execution. The complete cycle of plan do check act are main ingredients of any successful business model as well as any project or product in pipe-line. As mentioned in the given below figure the each stage is inter-dependent. If any of the steps is taken individually the bottom line would never get improved. Thus to improve the bottom line each and every aspect of this structure is crucial to be implemented and this cycle shall be never ending in itself.
All these processes are important part of stage-gate processes. Stage gate processes actually help in minimizing the defects and maximizing the process itself.
In online business model for Kid’s education, drafting articles having innovation in them can be taken into consideration keeping in mind the above mentioned steps.
Before drafting the article, proper format development for articles to be written using references from the websites is well thought of business strategy. Taking full care of minimizing phishing from the content using online or in house tools shall be practiced. Rather than cut copy paste, the website content shall be drafted in accordance to the well drafted generalized content writing format. (Cooper, 2016)
A generalized content writing format could be,
A typical format described above could be well implemented which would help in developing innovative web content for the website in the end.
Rather than making way for Sales in the initial stages, an innovative marketing tactics shall be bombarded which would not only set brand image for the organization but would also prove to be important and trustful organization.
Winning the mindset and perception of parents of the kids shall be practiced judiciously, as the payers for subscription charges are parents and seldom are the kid’s themselves.
It’s a well thought of step to be innovative and creative in businesses today. As more and more me too products and organizations are competing in the market. A well planned and thought of innovative organization will set up a distinct image and perception in the minds of customers. I strongly feel that innovation in each and every stage of business processes will result in everlasting products in the market having broader S-curve.
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