Innovation Touchstone

"Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves." ~ Steve Jobs

You may be wondering how you might apply innovation to customer experience?

In my view the best way to apply innovation in this context is to focus on increasing value in the eyes or perception of your customers.

The greater the percieved value, the more likely people will choose your business and the more likely they will share stories about you.

As a start you could seek to understand your customers unmet needs. By the way its no good asking people what their unmet needs are, they will may not actually know.

When Apple launched the iPod, it wasn’t the iPod which was the real innovation. It was iTunes and the innovative way Apple delivered and monetised the music. At the time no one would have said they needed iTunes because it had never been done before.

By looking at the way people behaved, their habits, their frustrations and then combining those elements to what was technologically doable, iTunes was created.

If yours is a product type business, there’s a very good chance you can start to get a better understanding of people’s unmet needs by taking a look at Amazon. Their review system is great as a tool in which to discover people’s frustrations.

In my own product type business, we’ve been able to innovate some simple products, test the market and then scale up.

Ultimately its about finding out what people want and then doing it better than anyone else. There are opportunities all over the place in which to do this. Over time, I hope to write a little about some of these businesses and the opportunities to improve on what exists.

Innovation is sometimes seen as a bit of a black art and has a reputation as being expensive. It’s not a black art and it doesn’t need to be expensive. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Admitedly delivering another iTunes is going to be very costly, so unless you have the resources of Apple, I would suggest you don’t go down that route.

Think more along the lines of continuous small improvements, I promise you it’s not hard and the benefits massively outweigh any costs.

By looking at customers in a new light and applying some quick innovations you could create new revenue streams with very low costs. If we should ever meet up, I will explain how I was able to do that and almost doubled the profitability of one business when I was an employee.

Below are just a few ways innovation could help you in your business;

  • Potential profit and margin increase
  • Product differentiation
  • Satisfying customer needs
  • Uncover new business opportunities
  • Establishing new business models
  • Develop new improved processes
  • Uncover new customer trends
  • New product ideas