With 2015 right around the corner, you know your boss is probably thinking about things like end of the year reports, next year’s budgets and how to divvy out the holiday bonuses. The thing you may not realize is on their mind is how to be more innovative in 2015. Understanding any concerns or questions your boss may in the realm of innovation can help you provide solutions and become a vital part of your companies infrastructure.
How Do We Define Innovation?
Innovation looks different for every company. For a tech company, it may mean releasing a new software version with a better UI. For a consumer product company, it may mean updating product design. Your boss wants to know what innovation looks like in their industry and wants their team to step up to help craft that definition.
How Do I Recognize a Winning Innovation Idea?
Your boss gets ideas shot at them every day. If they ran with each and every idea, the company would be quickly out of business. Your boss wants winning ideas with solid research to back it up; this seriously makes their job so much easier.
How Do I Hire Innovation Leaders (that can play well with others)?
Your boss wants to hire innovative people to drive your company to the next level as well as make sure they have the right talent on staff for the company to succeed. They know that the key is hiring team players. Whether you’re the new hire or your boss is hiring someone to be your new team manager, innovation relies on everyone doing their part.
What Tools Do We Need to Drive Innovation?
Your boss wants to know if there are tools and products that make your life easier (saving time = money). However, your boss also want to know how it will affect the bottom line. Make it clear that the benefits outweigh the cons. Your boss will likely be happy to invest if there is a clear benefit.
What Do We Need to Do to Stay Relevant?
Unless your boss is a 20-something entrepreneur, chances are good that new things (like social media, video marketing, etc) scare them. Yet, any good boss knows that staying up-to-date is the key to growth in the ever-changing marketplace. A good boss doesn’t necessarily know it all which is why they hire staff to fill different needs. Bosses love it when team members they already have on payroll either step in to fill an existing need or help carve out a new position in the company. If you want to lead, the first step is to show your boss a need in your company then present yourself as the best person to manage the new hires.
What are Our Competitors Doing?
Anyone that knows anything about business knows that the key to staying ahead of the competition is knowing what the competition is up to. It’s the reason why the a bag of chips is the same price at two leading grocery chains the same week. Information is king. Set up a Google Alert with any competitor’s name so you can inform your boss of any important announcements from their camp.
What do Our Customers Really What?
Going into 2015, your boss is also thinking about what the customers really want and whether the company is delivering. Your boss wants their team to help them create a product that customers really love as well as maximizing profit. There are so many opportunities to help your boss out, one way is to use customer feedback as ideas for product improvements. A great example of this was Hootsuite’s product redesign. Hootsuite had great features but its UI was way off the mark. Instead of ignoring and risking a competitor stealing customers, Hootsuite took the negative and turned it into great publicity with a video of their developers reading mean tweets.
What are some things about innovation that your boss wants to know? How have you shown yourself to be the innovation leader in your organization?