Beyond the Basics: Seeing the light Featured

7:01pm EDT February 29, 2012

In today’s business environment, a focus on innovation is what helps keep companies relevant, thriving and primed for the future. Without it, your business falls behind, becomes an afterthought and will get passed by someone who can do it better. Innovation is the lifeblood of many corporations and it is something that you have to put a lot of effort and thought into in order to create and maintain that type of environment. Whether it is finding ways to shake up your organization, looking at solutions from different perspectives, or understanding what the customer expects from you next, you have to be willing to try whether you fail or succeed. That is what innovating is all about. Below is a sampling of what three CEOs previously featured on the cover of Smart Business Pittsburgh had to say about developing innovation.

“You have to always be able to challenge somebody to step out of their own bubble and look at it from a customer basis, but also from a very fresh angle. You have to make sure that you don’t get stuck with a certain way of looking at things. You always have to be able to challenge what you do and look at it from a different person’s perspective, a different market perspective, or a different requirements perspective because only then will you be able to overcome these problems and get this aha effect.”

Andreas M. Schulze Ising, president and CEO, Advanced Polymer Technology Corp.

“I’ve always found that the answer always lies with the customer. You have to get close to the customer and you try to understand and gain valuable insights from the customer that no other company can see. The decisions and the directions you take become very clear very quickly around what you should do. You take innovation that is driven by customer needs or customer insights, that’s what I would focus on whether you’re a company that’s doing well or a company that’s in need of a change in strategic direction.”

Sam Liang, president and CEO, Medrad Inc.

“You have to do a little bit of both innovation by design and innovation by discovery. You really have to constantly be redesigning the organization internally to match the customer voice and match the trends that are coming—being able to design things very well—designing systems, designing solutions, designing approaches, but at the same time put yourself in discovery mode. You know what you know, but you don’t know what you don’t know. You have to go out there and try to discover new things, so you need both design and discovery in the innovation process.”

Stephan Liozu, president and CEO, Ardex Americas

Summary

-         Achieve an aha effect through gaining different perspectives.

-         Gain insight from your customer base to form new innovations.

Design and discover new innovations to boost your creative effort.