“My view is there’s no bad time to innovate.” – Jeff Bezos
Amazon claims to be “the world’s most customer-centric company,” and it actually lives up to that reputation well. But many have labeled Amazon as the world’s most disruptive company, and the reason is because they continuously innovate. This is the secret that is going to make you a lot of money. If all you do is sell other people’s products, you will never be seen as a leader in your field – you need your own product(s). The best-selling item on Amazon is the Kindle, Amazon’s ebook reader. This is followed by the Amazon Fire TV Stick. And the Amazon Echo comes in at number 6.
Truly innovative products, services, and even delivery techniques attract the attention of the press and influential customers. Amazon is Amazon because they refuse to use current paradigms as their starting point. Most of the time we use the well-worn phrase “Think outside the box.” The problem with that type of thinking is that the box is still our point of reference. It is better for an organization to innovate, even if hurts your existing products or services.
Regardless of your niche, there are huge opportunities for you to innovate. Many people have been talking about the “Internet of Things” – the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices. This includes cars that drive themselves, refrigerators that restock themselves, machines that diagnose their own problems, and other innovative gadgets. Forbes magazine asks these questions: What if your alarm clock wakes up you at 6 am and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you? What if your office equipment knew when it was running low on supplies and automatically re-ordered more? How can you use this concept to innovate for your business?
The other area that will provide huge opportunities for business is 3D printing – the process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material. Amazon is already experimenting with installing 3D printers in delivery vehicles to insure faster delivery. Perhaps your industry will be able to simply sell the digital model and let people print their own products in their home of business, greatly increasing your margins. Think of ways that you can innovate in your business.
“Frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”