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7 Ways An Innovation Consulting Agency Can Transform Your Business

Posted by Mark Hemmer on 10/24/16 10:00 AM
Mark Hemmer


'Innovation' is a term that's tossed around the enterprise often, but rarely acted upon (at least effectively). Businesses know they need to innovate. But, there's no clear playbook, no guide, no documentation on how it's supposed to work. The majority of companies aren't innovating through a process. They're innovating out of desperate necessity (think Blockbuster scrambling to offer streaming options to push back against the popularity of Netflix). Without a process in place, those attempts at innovation tend to fall flat. 

If successful innovation relies on proven processes and most companies don't have that in place, where is the enterprise supposed to turn? The best bet: Innovation Consulting Agencies. An Innovation Consulting Agency is most typically a startup, comprised of natural innovators. Find the right agency, and you'll find that proven process that can take your idea and take action on it. 

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Here are 7 ways that an Innovation Consulting Agency can transform your business: 

1. Structure

Taking 'innovation' from an abstract to an action is what Innovation Consulting Agencies do best. Again, it's not that businesses don't notice when they're falling behind. They do. But, few know where to begin to address it. Without structure, 'innovation' is just a buzzword. It's tossed around the boardroom and the water cooler, but nothing actually happens. When an idea is put to a process, then innovation becomes real. Partnering with an agency shows that the enterprise understands the need for structure and is ready to get serious. 

2. Vision 

Innovation, when put into action, can take off quickly. An Innovation Agency can help the enterprise see into the future. Instead of innovating first and figuring out what that means for the company later, both can happen simultaneously when partnered with the right agency. If a company is going to transform, it needs to know what the other side looks like. What is the extent of the change? How will they scale? Where do they stand in the marketplace? Did their competitors change? An agency can help answer those questions. 

3. Guidance 

Both structure and guidance are vital to an enterprise looking to innovate. Without guidance, an enterprise may attempt to follow a process, but success is going to be far more challenging. An agency can and should be there for each step. An Innovation Agency can answer questions, reveal best practices, and guide the enterprise through the process. Few things beat hands-on learning and part of the advantage of partnering with an agency is gaining access to that ongoing support and guidance. 

4. Perspective 

'You can't read the label when you're inside the bottle.' When deciding which ideas to pursue, outside perspective is highly valuable. There's also a big difference between someone off the street weighing in and an agency that has experience overseeing the innovation process. The latter will have a strong sense of which ideas are worth pursuing and which ideas can be left behind. Outside perspective from an authoritative source can bring fresh ideas to the table and lend startling insight from a unique vantage point. 

5. Affirmation 

In addition to perspective, an Innovation Agency can give the enterprise much-needed affirmation. One of the primary forces at work against innovation in the enterprise is fear. Change is scary. Risk is scary. Defending change and risk is scary. An Innovation Agency guides businesses through an innovation process because it yields positive results. When innovation is backed by analytics and strict testing, it starts smoothing out the roughest edges of fear. Having the backing of an agency makes it easier to get fully behind the right idea. 

6. Feedback 

After the enterprise innovates, it is invaluable to have knowledgeable, yet neutral, feedback. Sycophants and resentful naysayers can be poison to the innovation process. In the early stages of innovation, an Innovation Agency can give real-time feedback on what's working and what isn't, without the built-in biases that can sometimes be found in the building. It's important to hear the stripped-down version of the truth, detached from agenda, and spoken in the best interest of the enterprise. The right agency can break up the echo chamber. 

7. Inspiration 

Working with an Innovation Consulting Agency is energizing. Innovation is tucked away into dark corners in many businesses. As a result, even the best ideas have a hard time emerging from the shadows or gaining any meaningful momentum. When 'The Way We've Always Done Things' is the lay of the land, hand-raisers are given a gauntlet of red tape to run through. By bringing in a third party, management is signaling clearly to the team that innovation is a priority. That can inspire and lead to a better environment for ideas of all kinds. 


Learn more about OneFire's Process for Innovation:

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