Innovation is a buzzword that is used a lot in business development. But, how you apply this in your long-term strategy can be the difference between a business that succeeds and one that struggles.

In an environment where business are constantly piggybacking off each other, innovation has to be the lifeblood and be included in each part of your business operation.

Here’s how you can ensure that innovation is omnipresent while building your business

1.Incremental Innovation

While your existing product or service might be satisfying your current customers, ensure that there are always processes in place to identify gaps. This can range from investing in new technology to tweaking user journeys or even simply adding more value to the customer experience. Be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to your business processes.

2. Introduce a Fresh Viewpoint

When hiring, instead of looking for people who will ‘fit in’, seek out people who dare to challenge your own assumptions and biases and bring in new ideas and views. All businesses big or small should have an encouraging environment where people can speak their mind and share their ideas instead of ‘going with the flow.’

3. Change your mind, not your mission

Have a think about whether your business has rigid protocols that prevent employees’ full potential from being explored.  Ask your team ‘Is there another way to do this?’ for any existing processes.

4.Creating Cross Functional Teams

Encourage the formation of teams with different skill sets. Cross-functional teams can increase organizational agility and are able to create and execute innovative ideas in a holistic manner.

5.Share successes and failures

It’s easy to trumpet your own success, but there is a lot to be learned from failures – both your own and that of others. Analyse what went wrong and ensure that the takeaways are shared with the whole team to avoid repetitions and to help you take different routes next time.

In today’s society and with a market that is constantly changing, businesses should be prepared to experiment and test the sustainability of innovative and disruptive ideas. Go back to the drawing board each time you feel like you’re in a rut. Surround yourself with people who can help you view your ideas from a different lens and recognize that there’s always room for improvement and growth.