Strategic Innovation: Creating Viable and Lasting Companies

I have read several books and articles about innovation and stories of people who took an idea and created a million or billion dollar market.

Pretzels Anyone?:
In most cities there are several warm pretzel companies, the most recognizable brand is Auntie Anne's. How did they get started? Well it turns out that the founder experienced a horrible farming accident with her child, and her husband wanted to start a counseling center and she made pretzels to try to raise money. Her product was excellent and someone suggested she do this full-time, hence the most delicious pretzels that are mass produced.

Everyone knows Spanx and that founder's story.
She simply wanted to "make butts look better."
Hence she is the youngest self-made billionaire owning 100% equity of her company.

The key to innovation is being OBSERVANT, in the founder of Spanx she noticed that women no matter size needed a product that would make them more flattering.

In the case of Auntie Anne's, she used a family recipe to create and start a whole new snack food market. If you are into the culinary arts, maybe you need to dust off Grandma's recipes and start with something simple. Maybe a juice or old time snack?

LISTEN to the masses.
Well, how do you do that? If you spend any time reading digital media, the comments section to any article are as essential to the article. Why the comments page? People are giving there full, no hold bars views on things, if you see a trend in a particular area then create a product or service that meets the demands on the people.

LEARN to value everyone
Speak to people outside your comfort zone. You don't need to save up to go to a Third Word country, to see poverty. Take a trek to an inner- city in your town, or go to a City Council meeting in that area, observe and listen for a while, when you learn to value people outside of comfort zone you will discover new markets and new opportunities to meet needs before in becomes "chic."

Ask a new mom- what things would make your life easier that isn't already on the market?
Ask a Nanny- what would make your job a lot easier?
Ask a Working Mom/ Stay- At- Home Mom/Dad- What would make their life easier?
Ask Children- What kind of toys would they really like to play with?
Ask Patients, Nurses and Doctors- What kind of services or literature would they like to see in the medical communities?

Many people have great ideas, but ideas without a market behind them or without credible "innovation" is just another idea.

Cheers to Strategic Innovation!

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