Plavecsky's Ponderings By Jim Plavecsky
by Jim Plavecsky
September 17th, 2015

3 Ways to be More Innovative than Your Competition

I’m here in Atlanta enjoying another GlassBuild show. That means, I’m on the hunt for innovation.

Since I’m also manning several booths as part of exhibiting with several principals that I represent, I am also relying on my associates to point out what they have seen on the show floor in terms of new innovations. DWM will be reporting on innovative new products being displayed at the show, but I would like to comment on how companies encourage innovation within their organizations.

So what can our organizations do to help breed innovation?

  • Consider the Crazy Ideas

The first thing is to create an environment which spawns it. This means setting aside a segment of R&D funds for pursuing crazy ideas. Some companies call it “Blue Sky Research,” but no matter what you call it, it involves spending money on ideas that may or may not have the greatest chance of panning out. However, as new ideas are tested and mistakes are made, evaluated, etc., the company climbs up the learning curve and will gain invaluable knowledge. Also, some of the best inventions were discovered by mistake as part of a failed experiment in pursuit of a totally different concept.

I’m not saying that a company should spend tons of money chasing scores of unproven concepts, but a specific segment of retained earnings can and should go back into the company as creative research.

  • Encourage Inter-Industry Participation

The second thing a company can do is to allow as many people within the organization to participate in industry events regardless of their position within the company or level of experience. Stimulate them by exposing them to as much of the external environment as possible. It warms my heart to see new faces at GlassBuild. I met several new people on the first day of the show who were fresh to their respective organizations and attending the event for the first time. I applaud their organizations for spending the money to allow these people to attend what is one of the most the most efficient learning experience of the year.

  • Incentivize Innovation

Lastly, the third and very critical aspect of encouraging innovation is to increase the reward for the development of innovative ideas which make it to market and help the company achieve success. Employees who are involved in developing innovative ideas should receive the highest degree of recognition and financial rewards. This creates role models for others in the organizations and encourages creative thinking, which results in the development of innovative products.

So whether you happen to be at GlassBuild this week or not, feel free to comment on innovative products you have seen emerging in our industry this year. After all, as Dawkins Brown put it, “Innovation is the Lifeblood of Business Success!”

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