What is innovation? It is finding a new idea or improving a device or method of doing things. Why do people innovate? To find a solution to an existing problem or to fill a gap in the market because they feel inspired or fascinated with something.
An innovator needs innovation skills to develop a product, but they also need implementation skills get the product off the ground. Without being able to execute a plan, the dream or idea will stay just that. Many innovators develop competencies in both areas through trial and error and a lot of dedication, but not everybody can do both. Some opt to team up with people who already have superb skills in the areas they lack.
What Kind of Skills Do You Have?
Many ground-breaking and amazing products fail or never get off the ground when an innovator tries to get their product to market themselves, but can’t get a proper handle on it. It’s important to understand the difference between innovation and implementation to know whether you have the necessary characteristics to develop those skills, or if you should rather bring someone on board to perform tasks that you are not able to achieve.
Characteristics of an Innovator
Here is a list of the attributes that an innovator commonly has:
- not afraid to take risks
- flexible and adaptive
- committed and will persevere until they found a solution to the problem
- like to do things differently from how it was done before
- question existing assumptions when searching for a solution
- original, independent, and can be quite unconventional
- dislike rules and shun the status quo
- lead their workforce in an unstructured way
- lose track of time when working on something they enjoy
Characteristics of an Implementor
Someone who has strong implementation skills typically has the following attributes:
- exercise control in established, well-oiled organisational structures
- eliminate problems and improve efficiency with standard operating procedures
- love detailed work and perform them with accuracy without getting bored
- methodical, reliable, and precise
- seek solutions to problems through tried-and-tested methods
Can You Have Both Innovation and Implementation Skills?
Some people have characteristics in both areas, which puts them in the unique position to gain skills in innovating and to get the product to the market at a profit. The good news is that with enough dedication, you can develop competencies in both areas, and sometimes the only thing you need is a sounding board to listen to your ideas and offer guidance.
Here are some ideas on how to improve your innovation and implementation skills:
How to Improve Your Innovation Skills
We can all learn how to be more innovative. As children, we were all creative in our own ways until parameters were set for us by our parents and society. We were taught a certain way of doing things and how we should behave.
To be an innovator, unlearn everything you were taught. The best way to do that is by spending time with your customers. Find out what they like or don’t like about your product, how they would make it different, and then go back to the drawing board to apply this new knowledge. Redesign your product until it is perfect.
How to Improve Your Implementation Skills
If you don’t automatically excel at implementing ideas, don’t fear; it is a skill that anybody can learn. The best way to do this is by setting goals for yourself. Write down your weekly, monthly, and yearly goals and then define the activities that will help you to reach them and the dates by which they need to be completed. Measure and reassess these goals continuously to make sure you’re on schedule and then redefine your activities after you’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.
Ready to Get Your Product off the Ground?
As an innovator, you need to take risks with your design, but as a business owner who ultimately wants to make a profit, you need to know when the risks are too high. Find a balance between experimenting and minimizing your risks. Is there a market for your product? Will you make enough sales to cover expenses? Is your marketing plan strong enough?
To answer these questions, team up with someone who doesn’t look at your invention through your idealistic eyes, but rather one who sees it for what it is and can give you an honest reality check.
If you’re an innovator who struggles with implementation or if you just need a sounding board to gauge whether your product has potential, reach out to Contador Accountants. We’re masters at execution, and we can advise you on how to get your invention to the market and make the profit you want to. We help startups to develop the right implementation procedures, to set goals, and to continuously track the business performance and take corrective action when needed. We’d love to share our experience and professional advice with you.