3 Steps to Profitable Innovation


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Innovation is the key to growth in the new economy. Thing is, our dollars are tight, so that means we have to really focused on where we invest for the future. So here’s a question for you.

How often do you invest in a technology, feature, product packaging, advertisement or whatever – so that you can keep up with a competitor?

Perhaps its because the sales force tells us we have to have that ‘thing’ to win, or because we marketing folks been taught that we have to match the competition tit for tat if we ever expect to be successful. Whatever the reason, here’s a simple truth.

Nothing you do that follows the competition will make you a market leader.

Nor will following the competition provide the innovation fuel you need for profitable growth. Yet – we’re all programmed to follow others – to watch what they do, pay attention to what they have and do the same, to need the same stuff. That’s part of human gravity. Think about it. As kids, we ask for things because our friends have them. I just had to have that new really cool whizzything like the one my friend got for her birthday. The one I NEVER played after the first day – having whined and wheedled until my grandpa bought it for me.

Wanna bet how many customers feel the same way about that cool technical whatchamafloppy? How many won’t really care about that competitive feature you think is the key to winning – when you deliver real value? ALL of them.

Yes, there are some competitive product or service enhancements that are essential to your business growth. You should find the most effective way to incorporate them into your solutions. But competitive me-too’s are not what differentiate your value or create innovative power. They surely won’t make you a leader. Not when someone else already has that same whizbang power feature only in a different flavor.

Market leadership and innovation is about being unique in our positions and value.

Pointing to a competitive loss and proclaiming that you have to have some brand new competitive whatchamafloppy to win is not a strategy for success.

So how do we find those innovations that will power our growth?

Focus on serving your customers instead of keeping up with your competitors. That’s the path to leadership and innovation.

  • Go to your prospects for the truth. If your sales force or product managers see a cool competitive feature or move – get out there and chat with your buyers and prospects about how they see that feature or approach providing value to their business. Find out what problems then need to solve, what new things they want to be able to accomplish in their business…then go create the solutions with better value and an independent approach -based on customers, not competition.
  • Never settle for me too. Too often we define innovation as the same feature only with a tiny bit of whizbang difference. Maybe we program it a bit differently, add an easier interface. That is incremental innovation and while it’s not a bad thing – it is not the fuel for power positioning your business. Instead, commit that you will only invest in unique and powerful distinction for your buyers. Spend those precious dollars on your power, not me too.
  • Step up and be the leader. Technology businesses are founded on innovation. That’s how they all begin. Whether you’re a software or hardware business, an integrator, a VAR or something in between – you started with a unique value and market focus. So stick with it. The new economy has everyone feeling like the deer in the headlights. That makes it easy to slip into follower mode. It’s safer. But safe doesn’t drive profitable growth. So take a step back and ask yourself – What was the unique value when this business was founded? What’s the best way to deliver that value in even more unique and compelling ways? You can be an innovative leader – when you stop letting the gravity of the comfortable and safe power your thinking.

As for your competitors, they belong in your rearview mirror. Yes, you need to keep a wary eye on them.

That doesnt mean they get to guide your business strategy. Stop focusing so much time and energy on them as your source of inspiration and spend more time with your customers. They do buy your products afterall – not those pesky competitors.


Learn more about Power Positioning in this free video training series. Seven videos cover finding your best Value, mapping it to your best markets, ditching the status quo Me Too and fueling profitable endeavors.

Photo courtesy of maistora

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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