Innovation and Its Importance in Building a Sustainable Business

A CEO I worked with earlier in my career would often say, “If you keep doing the same things, you’ll always get the same results.” This statement always resonated with me. Companies that remain stagnant and fail to innovate are ultimately not sustainable. The competition will always be on the lookout for that “next big thing” that will set them up to increase their market share and push other businesses (like yours) out of the market.

This is why it’s so critical for businesses to always be looking for new ways to do things, opportunities to enhance their products or services, and new ideas to bring additional products to the market to add more value for their customers.

Think Nokia. In the late 1990’s, Nokia was the leading mobile phone company, bringing in nearly $4 billion in profit. The company had a firm grip on the mobile phone market, but ultimately lack of innovation crushed any momentum. As smartphones entered the mobile world, Nokia failed to innovate and continued to focus on its low-cost flip phones and other unintelligent devices.

Image: Nokia phones when iPhone first entered the market

You know the rest of the story. If you haven’t heard it, just take out your iPhone and use your unlimited data to look it up. Nokia failed to innovate while companies like Apple brought data into the mix, and that spelled out Nokia’s doom.

Companies that want to succeed need to stay on top of trends and always be looking for new ways to add value in the market. Data was the game-changer in the mobile phone market, but there are innovative changes occurring constantly across all industries. Maybe it’s a manufacturing process that helps a particular company produce widgets 75% more efficiently than its competitors, or maybe it’s a flying car (if it’s the latter, sign me up).

Whatever the case may be, the companies that think ahead and plan for the future are the ones that stay on top and build a sustainable business.

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