3 Overlooked Sources for Game Changing Innovation

It is time to innovate, it is time to make changes to your current offerings, but you are just flat tired and out of ideas. If your company is like over 90% of all organizations out there when it is time to to talk new products & services you call R&D, marketing, and at some companies you call on the internal innovation group.  Every one sits around the table and you start throwing out ideas, but nothing ever feels truly new or different.

Let me challenge you to try something new. When it comes to creating new ideas diversity is key.  When I say diversity I mean diversity of thinking and experience. Instead of calling a meeting of the regular suspects take a walk through the building and the factory searching out new and different perspectives.  

Innovative Customer Service Center

First, stop in and ask customer service if they have time to chat.  Ask multiple people in the department what is the number one thing people call to complain about, ask again, and again. Each person will have a different perspective.  Talk to a minimum of three people. If you don't have a customer service department then the people who answer the phones are your go to people.

Then head over to the sales department.  Take them lunch and ask them to tell you what their greatest challenge to selling your products or services might be --- what are their current and potential clients wishing you offered or what might of prevented them from making the sale in the past.  Again talk to a minimum of three people.

Factory Floor and Innovation

Last, but in some cases most important take a day and go visit your manufacturing facility.  Wear your walking shoes, exchange your business clothes for jeans or casual clothes (this is more important then you realize), and start talking to people, ask them what they feel are your products greatest strengths and weaknesses. By standing with someone at their machine, where they do their work every day you will show them that their opinion matters. Remember these are the people that literally interact with your product every day.  They are arguably the people closest to the work. 

Take what you learned back to your desk or next innovation session and use it as stimulus to spark new ideas. And if you are truly brave invite someone from each of those departments to your next innovation session their input could be game changing.