Large companies can easily get stuck in a rut as they focus on the business practices that once helped them succeed. However, in an ever-changing corporate environment creative thinking isn’t only important for small start-ups. Read on to discover why innovation matters in big business too.
Innovation Helps Big Businesses Change with Customers
Image via Flickr by Hampton Roads Partnership
The expectations of customers are changing rapidly. Consider digital presence for example. In the not so distant past, customers began to expect businesses to have websites. As social media gained popularity, businesses were expected to keep pace and create and update social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. As of January 2015, mobile users spent 89 percent of their mobile browsing time using apps rather than websites. In line with this, consumers have begun to expect that businesses will release at least one app they can interact with.
A digital presence is just one area where customers’ expectations have changed. Online shopping options, free shipping, and a range of methods for contacting a company are just some of the recent expectations big businesses need to meet. As customer requirements change, businesses must change as well or risk being left behind by their more responsive competitors.
But the most successful companies don’t just follow the lead of their customers. They anticipate what consumers want and deliver it first. To do this requires true innovation.
Innovation Fuels Economic Growth
Too many big businesses mistakenly believe that their status guarantees their future. However, history is littered with the names of fallen big businesses like Merry-Go-Round, Eastern Airlines, Compaq, and Burger Chef.
Big businesses cannot count on consumers to buy their products simply because they always have. Just 3 percent of American consumers are so loyal to a particular brand in any category that they won’t buy from their competitors’. So no matter how big the company, it must continually work hard to sell its products and services.
Big companies that stand still risk losing their revenue and market share to more innovative competitors who consider the long-term future. It’s no longer enough for big businesses to think about how they’ll maximize their profits for the next quarter and please shareholders. Instead, they must develop innovative strategies to inspire consumers and gain their loyalty so that they’ll maximize their profits next year and throughout the next decade.
Innovation Capitalizes on Employee Education
Demand for employees with MBAs rose 10 percent in 2014. This year, the global demand is expected to hit 12 percent. As more companies seek out professionals holding advanced business degrees, it makes sense to utilize the skills they learn at school.
The MBA degree focuses on expanding students’ capacity for problem-solving, critical thinking, and nurturing other practical skills that drive innovation. It seems counterintuitive to seek out candidates who have these skills yet fail to encourage their application in the workplace.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that creative thinking is only important for small start-ups attempting to grow. For these reasons, businesses can never be too big to value innovation.