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What does it mean to be innovative in business?

In order for a business to survive in today's world, it is important that we regularly review what we are doing and how we are doing it. By considering new ideas and new ways of doing things, and trying to innovate, we can improve on our products/services, increase sales, reduce costs and make our processes more effective and efficient. Innovation is key to increasing profits.

There are several ways a company can be innovative with their products and services. Today we will look at four of them.

1. Using the latest technology to improve your product/service

When we think of innovation, we often think of new technologies. While they might be impressive, we should not use new technologies just because they are available. It is important to consider how the technology can improve our product/service and make a difference to our customer. Companies that produce cars, toiletries, household appliances, etc. often have a large R&D department to work on making their products better.

2. Responding to customer demands by changing what is on offer

By listening to customer feedback, we can get their opinions on how we are doing and find out about what it is that they want. We also need to be aware of changes in customer demands and keep up with the times. When fast-food restaurant McDonald's realised that the market wanted healthier choices, they introduced fruit and salads, while removing the 'super-size' option from their menus.

3. Offering a new product/service to reach new customers

Your business might be doing well, but there is no growth or development and there is a risk that your competitors might take away some of your customers. Innovation sometimes means developing a new product that targets a different market. Although video games were often played by boys, in 2006, video games giant Nintendo introduced the game console Nintendo Wii, successfully targeting girls and older customers with games like Cooking Mama and Brain Training.  

4. Changing the way you provide a service

By looking at the changes to the customer's lifestyle and needs, we sometimes realise that there might be better ways to serve them. Customers who do not have a lot of time might prefer to have their food or their shopping delivered to their homes, or they might like to do their banking online rather than in an actual bank.

Not all innovation will bring success to our businesses, but it can give us the opportunity to grow and learn more about what we do and what our customers might want.

Discussion

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Comments

The latest innovations in the product that I am using is my smartphone.

Nice one.. Just picked few new words :)

From my point of view a good example of innovation service is Uber. It was an awful problem to find a taxi by phone, because you couldn't predict the cost of journey or a kind of driver or car. Nowadays, using smartphones we can book a taxi by particular hour and be sure how much it will be cost.

Very good exercices.