How to Innovate Faster?

By Michael Knulst

Never in the history was the future so unpredictable. And in order to be, to become or stay relevant and successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be open minded, flexible, curious and courageous. Innovation is no longer a matter of choice, but it is a prerequisite; it’s a must

What’s the Challenge?

Innovation is about implementing new ideas in your business

Be aware that innovation is not only about your business model, your products and your strategies but also about your mind-set. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t have the right mind-set, you won’t be able to grow your business. No matter how many ideas you will generate.

The 4 key elements of this mind-set are:

  1. Innovation is about Breaking the Rules
  2. It’s all about Action (Universe only applauds for action, not thoughts)
  3. Failure is not the opposite of Success it is part of the Process
  4. Perseverance is Key

Before you read any further, please pose yourself the next 2 questions:

  1. How many new ideas did you implement in your business in the past 3 months?
  2. What are your main obstacles in generating new ideas for your business?

The goal for this article is that after reading this you will have at least 1 new idea that can be implemented immediately!

The benefits of innovation

Business-driven innovation is always about monetizing your ideas.
For you as an entrepreneur innovation must lead to direct or indirect benefits for your business in at least one of the following areas:

  • Creating Value (raise prices and make more profits)
  • Increasing Customer Life Time Value (selling more to your existing customers)
  • Getting new clients
  • Making productivity and efficiency gains (direct impact on your bottom line)
  • Increasing market share
  • Extending product lifecycles
  • Staying relevant (establish Thought Leadership)

Myths about innovation

  1. Good Ideas are hard to find
    Humans, young and old, are built for creative thinking, but adults have become too rigid and have lost their innate skills for finding ideas and solving problems.
  2. Ideas are the Motor for Innovation
    Many companies don’t have a problem with idea creation but with the implementation and Execution! It is there that many great ideas end because of failure in the implementation.
    • More than 19% of innovation projects fail completely
    • Only 64% of projects are successful (according to the Project management Institute)
  3. You need a big budget for innovation
    The opposite is true; lack of funds increases the level of creativity! An open mind is more important than money.
  4. Innovation is random
    Innovation is a discipline – it can be measured and managed.
    Consider how Procter & Gamble’s since they have structured their innovation process they have tripled their innovation success rate.

Instant success strategies

From out of my extensive experience with innovation I would like to share the following proven strategies for idea generation and innovation:

  1. Understanding your Market
  2. Expand your IP Application (Intellectual Property)
  3. Collaborate with Third Parties

Ad. 1 Understanding your Market

How well do you understand the domain or niche you are in? You must have accurate data about your market domain, your direct and indirect competition, customer and the customer of your customer’s preferences et cetera in order to detect new possibilities for growth and expansion.

Key Questions you should ask are:
-What Problems do my Customers have?
-What is everybody else Doing?
-What can I do Differently?
-What can I do Uniquely?
-What can I do Extraordinary?

Venture scanner ( has defined 15 sectors and divides each sector in adjoining focus areas. You will get a good overview of the market you are in, see the competition and get ideas for new alliances, products or services.

Ad. 2 Expand your IP Application

Built your ECO system around your existing knowledge, product and/or service
• What are you offering your clients that your competitors don’t and can’t do?
• How can you package your knowledge with a twist?

Figure 1: IP configurator™

Start to look with a new perspective to your current business and always keep in mind that customers do not buy products and services; they buy outcomes.
The outcome is the value you provide.

  • How can you find out what matters to your customers? Simply ASK them!
  • What are you going to do that is extra-ordinary? How do you set yourself apart?
    The economic value will be found in your differential.

The consulting opportunity is huge. Forbes estimates the world wide consulting industry is worth about 100 billion dollars per year. They predict this industry will grow by 83% this year alone.

Personal Coaching
Market size 2018 of $1,16 Billion in the USA with an average yearly growth of 6-7%
In addition, a host of “experts” has emerged to offer online courses and “academies” in areas such as: creating webinars, seminars and workshops, building sales funnels, monetizing website traffic, making money via affiliate programs, writing a best-selling book, email marketing, systems to create leads from Facebook and LinkedIn, etc. Most often, these courses require extra coaching to be successful.

Productizing your services is one of the easiest ways to innovate and create more business.

Ad. 3 Collaborate with 3rd Parties

Look at parties you already know and do business with: Look for opportunities to merge capabilities together to create value.

The concept of one of my current solutions “Sophiq” was achieved through co-creation and crowd sourcing; More than 300 managers and executives from out of different organizations, profit and public, have shared their visions and ideas. And some of them became my launching customers.

Figure 2: Leverage what you already have

Take Away

As a consultant I help businesses with strategizing on their sales and innovation.

In more than 90% of situations my focus is on uncovering their hidden potential, whether this is on talents, knowledge, ideas, concepts or skills. The majority of businesses are richer than they think.

So start leveraging what you already have!