In the fast-paced, highly competitive, and continuously evolving beverage space, the ability to innovate is essential for success. The companies who uncover and deliver on new ideas will make great gains in 2019 and beyond. Innovation is a catalyst for growth, a differentiator, and value creator in the marketplace. Focusing on innovation helps a company better meet customers’ needs and allows them to attract top talent. So how can your beverage company continue to innovate successfully? Here are five things you can implement to keep the innovative ideas coming.
Get Better at Gathering Customer Insights
The most innovative companies have the best processes for observing, learning, and drawing inspiration from their customers. Make it a practice to step outside your business and into the world of your customer on a regular basis to identify opportunities to solve their challenges and meet their needs better. Look at the customer data you have from past including transactions, and testimonials, and develop buyer personas to get you in the practice of thinking from your customer’s perspective. Map out your customer’s journey throughout their experience with your product to discover ways to improve and make a bigger impact at each touchpoint.
Improve Your System for Small-Scale Testing
Find fast, easy, and affordable ways to test your ideas. Create mock-ups and prototypes, get feedback, iterate, and start again. Companies who succeed at innovation are those that see the value in building and utilizing systems to get a minimum viable product (MVP) out efficiently while gaining the insights and momentum to bring those products to life. The cost of testing is more than offset by the savings from data that confirms you are on the right track or helps you course correct before you incur more costs.
Pursue Innovation-Propelling Partnerships
Look for suppliers and vendors that are on the cutting edge of their industry. Know your core competencies and look for wisdom and experience outside of your company to supplement and fill in the gaps. Find out your partners’ strengths and weaknesses and map out how you can join forces at different stages in your processes to add insights, capabilities, and capacity. Innovation in the beverage world is as much about connection and collaboration as it is about new ideas.
Study Other Industries
Staying too fixated on your competition can keep you stuck with the same ideas and trapped with a fear-based mindset of scarcity. The most innovative thinkers and companies focus not on what their competition is doing, but who is serving their customers well. Look at examples of companies who are succeeding in other industries. What principles have they applied? What are they doing differently than others in their space? Can you apply those ideas to your product? Looking at industries outside of your own keeps you focused on blue oceans vs. red oceans and leaves you open to create something truly unique and innovative.
Create a Culture of Yes
It’s easy to get into a pattern of risk-avoidance and reaction. Be intentional about leaving space for positivity, exploration, and comfort with failure. When examining a new idea or opportunity, take an equal amount of time to weigh out all of the potential upsides that could come out of your best-case scenario as you do looking at the negatives that could come with failure. Innovation is the result of smart risk taking. Make sure you have created the environment for that calculated experimentation to take place.
The beverage space is one of the most exciting and fun places to innovate. Stay ahead of the game by helping your company excel at the process and practice of innovation.