1. If your organisation is not naturally innovative then once your commercial and cultural platform is in place, it’s important to invest some real focus in this at the top of your organisation. A 100 days of innovation project driven by you but involving everyone might be a good way to kick off.
2. Make a bold declaration of intent. Think big. Make it fun.
3. Involve your customers and suppliers. Ensure innovation is focused widely. Gather and use lots of data.
4. Divide the task up functionally and have people volunteer to join innovation teams. Make sure these are well led and encourage those who agree to lead. Give plenty of autonomy but show your passionate involvement. Acknowledge people for their commitment and for their ideas. Remember innovations can be iterative and radical, cultural and commercial.
5. Whatever else you seek to innovate, it’s critical to make your business system a key focus and ask if it is the best it can be. Be as creative as you can be, get out of the existing pattern, use analysis and ask customers and suppliers.
6. Ask yourself if any of your current systems are, or could be, an asset in their own right. Get creative. Sure, you designed them in a P&L context, but could they be or become an asset? How could you derive revenue or other value from them?
7. Innovate your product iteratively. Generate lots of ideas to ensure the customers’ experience of the product is the best it can be. Never rest.
8. Innovate your product radically. Get really creative based on a fundamental understanding of your IP (assets). If that requires you to get really clear about the assets and drivers of your business that is a good topic for a retreat. Based on those assets what might people give you money for? What completely new product innovations could you create? Are there products hidden in your systems?
9. Ensure your innovations programme includes your customer service strategy. As part of the platform you devoted some focus to servicing customers between sales. How can you now innovate that service to constantly improve and impress? What creative and fun ideas can you generate?
10. Get management out of the pattern. Don’t be a Wenham Lake Ice Company. Find ways of stretching your perspective: educate yourself, read widely, meet interesting people, make the time.
This advice is taken from John Rosling’s new book The Secrets of the Seven Alchemists: A Blueprint for Business Success Taking You to £10 Million and Beyond.