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A Guide to How to Find the Beast

Ever felt like your return-on-investment (ROI) on innovation is playing a never-ending game of hide-and-seek?

Maybe it’s even harder to find- like Bigfoot. Feels like a legend that only a lucky few have seen.

And you’re strongly suspicious they’re all fibbing. They have to be!

Maybe every time you hear “boosting your ROI” you want to scream into a pillow in frustration. We don’t blame you. It’s soul-destroying pouring money into something that SHOULD be working, but isn’t.

So we thought it might be helpful to go through why you’re missing ROI on innovation, and some tips to finally find and tame that beast!

The Mystery Behind No ROI on Innovation: Bigfoot’s Secrets Revealed

So why are your innovative efforts not yielding big old heaps of cash?

There are lots of possibilities. Here are a few of the most common:

Misaligned goals

Does it feel like your innovation lacks focus? Have your priorities somehow been along the way?

And whose goal is it anyway – the business’s or the customers’? Does one compete against the other?

You don’t set out to find Bigfoot without knowing which forest he’s hiding in. That destination has to be lined up before you can figure out how to get there.

Lack of collaboration

Be honest – come on, now – how many silos does your company have?

Even the people in your office who can’t stand the sight of each other need to be able to share information. Innovation only succeeds where ideas are freely exchanged.

Teams have to work together. Imagine going after Bigfoot with a documentary team and no one has spoken to each other till you all meet for the search. Chaos ensues.

Inadequate measurement

Are you tracking the wrong metrics or using outdated methods to evaluate your efforts?

Look, when your innovation ain’t doing great, you probably would rather put your thumbs in a torture vice than look at the actual numbers. It’s hard. It’s wincy. It feels like “failure” right in your face (we don’t think anything is failure as long as we learn from it).

You have to measure the impact of innovation to understand your ROI. Otherwise, it’s like trying to capture Bigfoot using a Polaroid camera and a kids’ butterfly net—not gonna happen.

Asking the wrong questions

Do your innovations match what your customers want or need?

Sometimes companies don’t ask the right questions before they start- they just plunge into the idea without figuring out the parameters or fine details.

Innovation is always about solving a problem, even problems that will be important in the next year, three years, or five years. You’re not capturing anything about Bigfoot unless you have the right gear, and you won’t have the right gear if you don’t ask the right questions.

Questions to Ask Yourself

The Soul-Searching Questions You Should Be Asking: Bigfoot Edition

Speaking of asking the right questions, it’s time to rip off the proverbial bandaid and ask yourself some crucial questions (along the issues above) about your innovation programme:

1. Is my company culture conducive to innovation?

Everyone thinks they’re all about innovation but that’s not the case. If you want good innovation, you must give your people the TIME and RESOURCES they need to problem-solve.

2. Am I listening to (and actioning) my customers’ feedback?

Sometimes it’s frustrating having to listen to your customers. Especially when they change their minds, don’t know what they want, or are tempted away by your competition. But they do give insights into areas where your products or services could be improved.

3. Am I doing enough research on competitors?

Figuring out where your competition is awful is probably more helpful than where they’re doing well. Customer reviews, message boards, and social media account comment sections are GOLDMINES for information on what your competitors’ customers need. And they’re free!

4. Am I learning from past mistakes?

It’s such a cliche, but it’s true. The thing is, very few people do it. Mistakes are amazing learning opportunities, but only if you’re willing to do the deed and acknowledge them. Look at the missteps and patterns of your past actions.

5. Are we actually getting the products out there?

If your innovative products or services never make it to the right market, you’ll never see an ROI. Make sure you have a good plan in place for launching and promoting your innovations.

Plan of Action for ROI

The Action Plan: How to Make Innovation Better and Boost Your ROI (Bigfoot-Style)

So, with all these questions probably circulating in your head, it’s time to take action.

That ROI has been wandering the forest enough. It’s been hiding. Other people have been bragging about it and it’s time to take control and find it once and for all.

Though each business has its own circumstances, and you have a lot of choice, there are some basic steps you can take to make your innovation better and find that elusive ROI:

Establish clear innovation objectives:

Your plan needs specific, measurable goals that align with your overall business objectives.

Foster a culture of collaboration:

Break down departmental silos, offer cross-functional training, and do team-building activities. Make sure your innovators are creative problem-solvers who have the time to play with ideas. It’s not something that can be done crammed into 1-3 hours a week.

Implement a robust measurement system:

Don’t ignore those KPIs – look at revenue growth and cost savings, operational metrics (like process efficiency or time-to-market), and qualitative measures (customer satisfaction or employee engagement).

Continuously iterate and improve:

Innovation is an ongoing process that involves constant research, tests, experiments, etc. Keep going, keep trying, and take risks. Unconventional can be good, even in a conventional industry.

Consider a collaboration with a complimentary business:

Partnering with a trusted, complimentary business helps you pool resources, expand your reach, and drive innovation. Collaborate on new product development or share industry insights.

Be creative with getting the word out:

Promote your innovative products and services using a variety of channels, such as social media, content marketing, and events. Engage customers and partners who love your brand to help build buzz and drive interest.

Broaden how you decide to innovate:

Why focus just on developing new products? Maybe new applications for your existing offerings is a better move. This can cut down on investment and start bumping up the return.

No one said that good ROI on innovation was going to be easy. It’s an elusive thing.

But you’re not alone.

By asking yourself the right questions, addressing the underlying issues, and taking actionable steps to make innovation better, you can unlock the full potential of your efforts and finally achieve that sought-after ROI.

So, channel your inner Bigfoot hunter, unravel the mystery of your missing ROI, and make innovation the driving force behind your business success.

Get that proverbial Bigfoot, film it, and show the world that you’re capable of!

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