There are many factors that determine if a company will grow and become successful. But in the tech industry, innovation is probably the most important one.
Companies need to innovate or they risk being overtaken by more adventurous competitors.
However, change isn’t easy and innovation is all about change. It’s about finding new ways to solve problems. When trying to be innovative, your company will face challenges which slows your progress.
In this post, we’ll show you the 5 biggest innovation challenges you will face as a founder and how to solve them.
5 Challenges Of Innovation
The five challenges of innovation are:
- 1. Lack of clear innovation strategy
- 2. Lack of motivation in employees
- 3. Lack of collaboration
- 4. Lack of customer connection
- 5. Unrealistic innovation expectations
Lack Of A Clear Innovation Strategy
Every innovation initiative needs a strong innovation strategy behind it. Without it, you risk a misalignment of your innovation goals with your business goals.
One problem most founders have is their inability to incorporate their innovation strategy into their overall business strategy. According to PwC, 54% of innovating companies struggle to bridge the gap between innovation strategy and business strategy. That’s a big issue that has an effect on whether long-term success is achievable by a company or not.
Your innovation strategy determines the direction and method of implementation of your innovation. You don’t want to be taking a stab in the dark when it comes to innovation. This won’t help you get results and would only lead to waste of time and resources.
Constant innovation helps you remain at the front and an innovation strategy provides you with a roadmap to achieve your goals.
Lack Of Motivation In Employees
As a founder, you have to find a way to balance the daily duties of your employees so that they have the freedom to take risks or be innovative. Most founders believe that, since their company is young, constant innovation isn’t necessary yet. Instead, employees should focus more on helping the company become efficient internally.
While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, a company that fails to innovate – whether young or old – will find itself lagging behind its competitors. Therefore, there has to be an innovative mindset in your company and this mindset should show in how your employees understand and approach their job duties.
There are different ways to induce motivation to innovate within your employees. It can be as simple as setting unstructured time for your employees or creating contests and incentive programs.
Lack Of Collaboration
Innovation can’t be possible without collaboration and feedback. There has to be a system that enables collaboration between you and your team and every other stakeholder involved in driving your company forward.
This includes your customers, industry partners and even your competitors. Getting feedback from them can drive innovation that will promote your company as an industrial leader.
Lack Of Customer Connections
Understanding your customers is very important. Companies that constantly get feedback from their customers will be able to understand their demands and set goals that’ll meet future trends.
Without doubt, the tech ecosystem is becoming more customer-focused. Innovation is being driven by customer engagement. 35% of companies say that their customers are their most important innovation partner. And they should be yours too – more often than not, they discover problems before you do.
Innovation is all about solving problems and there is no better way of knowing what problem to solve than speaking with your customers. Always make sure that there is an easy communication channel between you and your customers. You should regularly organize surveys, invite some of your best customers to partake in interviews or at the very least, engage in social listening.
You have to show empathy and pay attention to their needs; without this, real innovation that you customers will pay for won’t be possible.
Unrealistic Innovation Expectations
One way to quickly diminish the confidence and morale of your team, as a founder, is to set unrealistic goals. It is easy to be overconfident and set high expectations regarding innovation, but the inability to meet your goals can lead to loss of credibility.
This doesn’t mean that you should underestimate your capabilities and set goals that are way too easy to achieve – this can lead to complacency. However, you should learn how to balance your expectations by understanding what is achievable based on your capabilities.
The most successful companies are the ones who think long-term. Before you start your innovation initiative, it is crucial that you anticipate these challenges and prepare for them.