<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=443149619225659&ev=PageView&noscript=1"> Setting Up Your Business for Innovation

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Setting Up Your Business for Innovation

Setting Up Your Business for Innovation

The lifecycle of a company is really four phases: its startup phase, growth, maturity, and decline. On average in the U.S., an organization goes through those four phases in 10 years. That amount of time is short, and it's getting shorter due to rapid technological change and competition. So in order for companies and organizations to achieve longevity and success in the long-term, they need to innovate.

Video Transcript

Without a doubt, innovating is hard work. It can feel like you're in a one-person canoe paddling up the rapids. Innovation requires that you have some good ideas to work with and you can get good ideas from a lot of different places. External sources of good ideas could be your customers or it could be your competitors. It could be other companies in the marketplace. It could even be startup companies and entrepreneurs in your communities and in your markets. Internally, ideas can come from any level, and the challenge is to get those ideas to come to the surface.

You can't just give lip service to innovation, you really need to create this environment where people feel safe and encouraged to come forward with their ideas. Once you've created that safe environment, a great way to get ideas flowing in the organization is to hold an event; a create-a-thon, a hack-a-thon, a 24-hour event where employees are invited to submit their ideas and really deliver something to the business that they're passionate about.

So, once you have the safe environment and you have idea flow, the next thing you need is you need intrapreneurs. Intrapreneurs are those people in your organization who are willing to take risks and who are going to take those ideas and really turn them into reality within your organization. They're either going to do that in your organization or they're going to form their own business and do it outside. So you really want to encourage intrapreneurs and foster their efforts.

Next, you need an innovation process a framework. An intrapreneur needs to understand how they're going to to get to the next step, when they're going to get funding, and what they're going to get how that's all going to work. If that's clear that an intrapreneur can really focus their energy on following that process and driving that innovation forward. From my experience it's easy to fall into the trap of only looking internally or only looking externally for innovative ideas. The truth is it's best to focus on both at the same time. Once you have a framework for process for innovation created within your organization you really then be able to drive those innovative ideas forward.

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About the author

Richard is CEO of Small Footprint. He worked for several start-up companies before starting Small Footprint. He spent 15 years working and living in Eastern Europe, during which time he built and managed operations across 5 countries for start-up telecoms provider eTel Group (later purchased by Telecom Austria), and also served as an early Sr. Manager for Hungarian telco Novacom, forging strategic international partnerships and new product development. In 2003 he saw the opportunity to leverage the exceptional software engineering talent of the region to provide global IT services and established Small Footprint. Small Footprint is celebrating its 15 year anniversary this year, having established an exceptional company culture envied by many.

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