Although UK unemployment is currently at its lowest rate since 2008, productivity has however not followed suit according to the latest measure of Total factor productivity (TFP) — a gauge of improvements in technology and in the efficiency of management – which fell in 2014 for the third year in a row. The message from the CBI spokesperson on this benchmark was a call for “businesses to innovate and raise their performance.”
Innovation isn’t always about technology though. It is about how you do business and the skills you can offer, and for your company it might be identifying a way to diversify, new expertise to add to your offering, adapting your approach or processes to a trend in your market or client need. And the essence of innovation isn’t necessarily always about something new either. It can be about working smarter with what you have producing greater profitability.
One example of this is Pret A Manger. The sandwich chain put a 16% growth in sales last year down to innovation, which included adapting their menus to suit healthier, on the go options, and adding to their vegetarian choices. They have clearly taken their innovational attitude on, even opening a London branch in the evening this April to serve hot food and alcohol in a change from its usual sandwich based options. They have the premises and the skills so why not turn the normal menu into an evening dining offering? A clever, but simple idea, born from using what they already have.
There is undoubtedly an element of investment needed in enabling innovation in your business – be it time and/or money, and for those of you who are already using a business management or job management system such as Magnifeye, it could be helpful to run reports which can help you find out what your innovation point is. Is there an area of the business which is particularly profitable where some investment can be utilised to build elsewhere perhaps? Starting with the smart system you already have could help establish 2015 as the year you discovered the power to innovate that lies within your business.