The last few years have seen innovation become a buzzword. That’s not to say that innovation is a new concept, but whereas you would have only previously heard it mentioned when discussed tech companies or manufacturers, it is now brought up when discussing any industry.

 

Like any other business trend or catchphrase, it can be difficult to tell whether the movement deserves the attention that it is getting. Do you really need to focus on innovation when you’re providing a service that has been working smoothly for years? Or when your product range is simple, intuitive, and already popular?

 

The answer is yes…and here are 5 reasons why.

 

Your Customers Are Getting Younger

 

Your customers are getting younger. That might seem like an obvious statement, but it is something that you have to factor in when projecting the future performance of your business. Around 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring per day in the United States.

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Just take a moment to think about that. Within the next few years, your customer base will be dominated by millennials, if it isn’t already, and your business will need to adapt to their needs and expectations. Millennials spend over 3 hours per day in mobile apps, your business will need to go mobile, be fully digital, and be capable of interacting with a generation of customers who behave entirely differently.

 

Younger Customers Expect To Be More Involved

 

One of the challenges of adapting to a younger digital customer base is their expectation that they will be more involved in your business. Greater access to information, social networks, and communication channels have meant that customers now expect to vote with more than just their dollar.

 

 

Companies like Starbucks, DHL, and Lego have already adapted to this by launching open innovation initiatives. Not only does this help satisfy the customers’ desire to be more involved, but the company can also benefit from customer insight, feedback, and the ability to gather more data than ever before.

 

Competition

 

The biggest threat posed by the digital age? Competition. The internet has removed many of the traditional barriers to entry. You now face competition from around the world unless your business involves being physically present at your customers’ location.

 

This greater competition means that you will need to be more innovative in order to stand out from the crowd. Innovative products, services, and campaigns will get more attention. You are likely to fail if you plan on relying on the same-old approach that has worked in the past.

 

A Culture Of Innovation

 

Innovation is not a single step process. It happens slowly, in iterations, and only thrives and succeeds when it comes a central part of your strategy. Making innovation a priority and putting innovation programs in place will encourage and foster game-changing innovations and developments that you had never even considered.

 

Each new development will allow you to learn more about what your customers expect, what your employees need, and what will work best in your market.

 

A Better Place To Work

 

Employee engagement is a serious problem. The more your employees like your products and services, the more engaged they are likely to be. Creating a culture of innovation and asking for input from your employees will significantly improve employee engagement and workplace happiness.

 

Appearing innovative will make your current employees happier and make you more attractive to potential hires (particularly younger generations). Consider implementing an internal collaborative innovation project that will allow you to create a culture of innovation, gather ideas from employees, and benefit from the insights and knowledge of employees who know your products and services better than anyone.