How to innovate for growth even if you're not in a product-based business

Most leaders like you miss out on the growth results you deserve.

And not breaking through that ceiling is likely to cost you financially and emotionally.

The most significant area overlooked for business growth innovation is PROCESSES.

Whether it's not knowing how to modernise, automate or leverage a process.

We can all agree that the precious time you spend should be profitable, not risky.

The good news is any leader can find business growth by using business growth innovation processes.

Because it reveals all the hidden areas to achieve growth in, even if you don't have a physical product to innovate on.

Lisa's story

One of my Reinvention Club mentoring clients, Lisa, was in a challenging role.

She'd recently become the innovation and knowledge manager for a mid tiered legal firm.

The company was successful but wanted to improve its results without much investment.

Lisa had some BIG hurdles in her new role.

First off, she wasn't a lawyer, and second, she was new to the world of leading innovation (which is why she'd sought out my help).

The firm's partners were at total capacity and a bit cranky at working so hard.

They wanted growth without too much work. This meant that simply hiring new staff would not bring them easy profits.

With a little bit of encouragement from me, Lisa organised a short idea generation session with the partners over lunch.

It was a short session because the partners were time-poor and over lunch, so they wouldn't feel as if they were wasting any time.

Before Lisa's session, I helped her develop a session that would get them to focus their ideas on process innovation for growth.

A common undercapitalised area for business growth is processes. It's no wonder that a more significant proportion of the valuation of a company comes from the quality of processes they have in place.

Usually, I would get my clients to look at improving existing processes as a starting point. Still, in this instance, Lisa needed to get some quick runs on the board.

First, I taught her how to create a safe space for her partners to share ideas. Then most importantly, I shared some prompting questions that would get the money-making ideas happening.

Here's what happened after she had framed up the session and got stuck into some prompts…

Knowing that they were time-poor. Lisa asked, "Are there any processes that the firm has created and using that could be leveraged somewhere else?"

"Do you mean to use one process in another legal department?" Asked one of the associate partners.

Lisa needed to stretch their minds further, so she pushed it further.
"Yes, that's one possibility, but what if we were more daring than that? Could we leverage one of our processes with a competitor?"

"That's crazy. Why would we want to give our competitors our IP?" Hissed one of the senior partners.

I'd prepped Lisa with the usual pushback objections she could expect, which made her more confident in handling this. "Are all legal firms competitors to you?" She asked.

"Oh, mostly just the legal firms with 100 - 300 employees", The partner replied.

Here was Lisa's chance, and she asked, "So might there be some processes and IP that we know are great that we could white-label to a smaller legal firm and license the use of it to them?"

Another senior partner started to get excited. "What about our succession IP? That works amazingly well, and there are hundreds of small firms that would love to be able to offer that as an offering to their clients".

The rest of the session was a success. 


The decision to continue this growth hacking innovation was a no brainer.

It would take no effort to white label the IP process, and the marketing team could handle the sales directly to the small legal firms.

Minimal effort, rapid return, low risk.

Let's unpack what happened with Lisa's process innovation for growth session:
  • When Lisa prompted, the partners started to think about their existing processes.
  • When Lisa pushed, they started to think of how a process could be leveraged not just internally but potentially externally.
  • With Lisa's facilitation, they realised that not everyone in their industry is a competitor and could therefore be a customer.
  • The firm's intellectual property (IP), which could be a method or process, could be licensed annually for income without competing against its own market.

 The key prompt that Lisa learned from me and applied to get them thinking outside of the box and into the world of business growth was "What can we leverage elsewhere?".

As successful as this prompt was for innovating around a process, it can easily be applied to a physical product or service experience.

For example:
"Could I leverage one of my components in someone else's products?"

Now it's your turn to step up your innovation leadership.

Step 1. Pick a process area where you want to innovate to create growth results.

Here are some examples:

Sales and marketing: the processes and activities in marketing, promoting, selling, and distributing the product or service

Operations and support: the processes you go through to build either a product or service you offer and the support required

People and culture: the rituals and activities to create a thriving culture

Innovation and technology: customer-centric insight and idea generation, prototyping, and technology

Business model and strategy: the processes activities in producing the product or service, the structure and processes, or the procedures you have to conduct business

Delivery and distribution: the steps you take to deliver either your product or process


Step 2. Work out which questions you want to ask to prompt the growth ideas.  
Here are some examples:

  • "What could you leverage? 
  • "What process, step, activities or component/s could you leverage elsewhere. Whether internally or externally?"
  • "Is it possible to use your special technique with another part of the business?"
  •  "Could you leverage your expertise elsewhere?"
Step 3. Plan and invite people to a growth innovation session and use the prompting questions to elicit growth building ideas.
CONCLUSION
Now you know a battle-tested proven business growth innovation technique that you can go and apply today to your organisation.

By the way, did you know we have a membership program that gives you access to the complete in-depth growth innovation technique?

You also get access to a host of other proven valuable innovation growth methods backed up with 'how-to videos and step-by-step flow charts.

Go here to become the person known for creating business growth at minimal risk and minimal effort.

I'd love to know how you go with this tool. Please email me with your success stories or challenges if you have any.

Cheers,
Nils

PS: Whether you're looking for an innovation agency to improve your product with innovation, create an innovation disruption, or hack your business growth, we're here to help.


Nils Vesk is a Four-Time Author and International Keynote Speaker. Nils has worked globally with over 200 bluechip companies including 3M, American Express, Canon, Caltex, Microsoft, Nestle´, IBM, Fuji Xerox, PWC, HP and Pfizer.
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About Nils Vesk


He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his proven innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products.

Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

Nils is the author of a number of books including "Ideas With Legs - How to Create Brilliant Ideas and Bring Them to Life", and "Innovation Archetypes - Principles for World Class Innovation".

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