Development a Culture of Innovation and Entreprenueral Spirit

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Developing a Plan to Spur a Culture of Innovation and Promote an Entrepreneurial Spirit

In today’s market, businesses are always in competition with one another. Each company has the same product but with minor variations. What makes a consumer pick one over another? There are different answers to justify why picking one product over another; money, the story behind the brand and if the product is appealing to the eyes are reasons as to why we as consumers pick something over another. Innovation has a significant role to ensure the creation of new markets, rapid technological progress, consumption level and enhancement of life standards (H. Saray, L. Patache & M. b. Ceran, 2017).

As a growing company and family company, we must attract new customers while loyal to the old. Fielding new methods and products using the best strategies from earlier products that have yielded huge revenue (Hamel, 2006). This is where innovation comes into play. My company will need to ponder on ideas that will move the company to the next level, provide more revenue for the company and keep us in competition with other leading brands.  In this paper I will discuss five ideas that are sure to spark innovation and make my employees happy and the customer satisfied.

Idea 1: Employees are Encouraged to Innovate

It is not just one person that makes a fortune 500 company; its every team, every individual involved in making a company a grow and having their name set up internationally. Every person at a company gives some type of feedback and/or criticism to their job. If a CEO is wanting to take their company, their brand to the next level then options need to come from every person. Having a culture that supports employee creativity will yield the support of the entire workplace.

 The purpose of this idea is to hear the ideas of the people we work with. We want to encourage our employees to speak up if they have even the slightest idea that theirs could work. Empowering workplaces to provide practitioners with access to information, support, resources, and opportunities to learn and grow. Empowerment is also a psychological process, which occurs when one has a sense of motivation in relation to the workplace environment (Saray, Patache & Ceran, 2017). While getting ideas from the workplace this allows for more and positive engagement from the employees, not only that but team building, and team cohesiveness is forming. Having a team to gather the ideas will allow the leadership to start forming strategic planning for the innovative ideas that are discussed.

Idea 2: Focus on the Customer

Who really knows what the customer wants? The customer does! While reading the articles, Steve Jobs’ said to do away with focus groups and research (Byrne, 2012). I do not think this should completely go away, these are two relevant production ideas that need to stay. Yes, our company wants to take risks, but we want to do it smartly. We can gather the research on what people want and build our product around that, we are putting our distinctive touch on it all the while making it appealing to our customers, both new and longtime. Let your core customers decide your strategy. They know more about what they need than your top executives do (Byrne, 1998).

This idea aligns with the ideas of taking a risk, we want to give our customers what they want, we want to make a product that is not like any others on the market right now and make money! We could do market research on a smaller group which will save time and money. If we are in competition with other companies, then knowing what the customer wants will improve product innovation and satisfaction for both the consumer and the employees. Looking Herb Kelleher (Byrne, 2012), his advice was to keep the customer number one. He kept cost low and customer service high. Even though customers can become irate does not necessarily mean we have to throw money at them to keep their loyalty and make them happy. Having great customer service is about listening to the needs of the customer. In my real job as Personnel Specialist, our main job is customer service, we deal with people who may not be getting paid on time or at all, people that are struggling financially and need loans, people who are moving cross country and depend on us to make sure they are getting the correct entitlements for them and their family.

If we are actively listening, then we as customer service professionals can figure out the what issue is and deal with it so. Showing empathy and sympathy will go a long way when dealing with unhappy customers. Many times, we have been through what the customer is upset about so why not help by evaluating all angles. Our customer service representatives are the first line of defense, they will either make or break customer loyalty. If we treat our people right, give them responsibility as shared owners then they, in turn, will keep the customers happy and coming back.

Idea 3: Sacrifice Today, Cash In tomorrow

Raise the bar in your own company. The founder of a large Asian hospitality chain told us: “We raised the bar in our industry from two to eight or nine. Now we must think that this nine is two so that we can find the next big thing.” (Nenonen & Storbacka, 2015). Our company just like other companies need to be looking ahead for the next product that is better, more cost-efficient and of course better than the last. Setting higher standards as a company progresses is a team effort. As a leader and an individual, we must want to see continued improvement within ourselves which will help others want to make the company strive for greatness.

Taking risks is something that a company needs to take part in to see where we fall in with other companies. Yes, this can be a huge scare for smaller and family-owned business but at the same time if we do not take a risk then we will never be in competition with anyone.

Idea 4: Transformational Leadership

Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but the capacity to increase the sense of power among those who are led. An essential work of a leader is to create more leaders (Hamel, 2006). Leaders can successfully encourage organizational creativity and innovation by helping to foster an environment that is favorable for creativity to flourish. This means, promoting friendly and inclusive working conditions for the members of the organization which help them feel secure and accepted. Based on McKinney’s Law of Leadership model, supportive leadership is essential. Consequently, “organizational leaders must respect, value, and harness the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives of every employee and allow them to use their unique personal assets and experiences to work for the organization” (Nodoushani, Stewart Wall, 2017).

As leader respect goes both ways. When we set our expectations, we are letting our employees know what we want for the company. I have learned throughout my career in the navy that when told to do something a certain way never happens! Often, we decide to do our things our way and at times produce the same result. After our expectations are set we should leave it up to the team managers to produce products and planning process. Let them take the lead on gathering information, using the resources around them. Part of leading is allowing your company to have the freedom to do as they please if it is in company standards. I want to foster an environment when my employees can grow and have self-motivation.

Transformational leaders are not just able to visualize the future of the organization or group, they are capable of engaging others in the momentum that brings sustainable success. Therefore, this type of leadership can be described as the source and stimulant that creates and manages the organizational culture and strategies that encourage and sustain innovation and success in the organization (Nodoushani, Stewart Wall, 2017).

Idea 5: Purpose Inspires People

People are drawn to a community with a sense of shared purpose, not economic need. In articles by Gary Hamel and John Byrne, they both mention Whole Foods whose mission statement is more than just writing hanging on a sign. Their mission is to help the community by introducing healthy alternatives. The company has small teams for each section of their store which in turn the team can take their section and put all their love and effort into it. they have the decision to say what happens within their section such as what produce is stocked on shelves, and new hires (Hamel, 2006). The leadership listens to the team and all decide collectively. Another idea that I can use for Top Pet is the giving bonuses to teams, not just individuals. A team had an idea, not just one person. 

 The mission starts with the founder and that mission is constantly changing without losing the original concept. As we hire, look to other avenues of generating revenue and coming up with the latest products we must remember as a leader and a company; what Is our goal? What do we want for our company? what got us here? Keeping these fundamental questions and principles insight will help take the company to heights we never dreamed of. Remembering the mission and making sure that the employees are with us every step of the way will keep us on the map as a fortune 500 company. 

New Idea for Top Pet Products: Laser Catnip Mouse Toy

An idea I would like to create for the company would be a mouse toy that is remotely operated. The mouse will have three lasers; two for the eyes and one on the tail. This mouse will look and feel like a real-life mouse. It will make noise just like a real mouse, also the tail will have catnip which will surely make the cat go silly!

Researching companies such as Amazon and PetSmart have both items but for starters, the lasers are separate from the toy and are handheld. Our toy will have the lasers already in place. With the remote, it will be a small handheld remote that will allow the user to change speed, change the colors of the lasers, noise the mouse makes and lastly on/off switch. Colors of the laser will be blue, red, and green. And to jazz it up a bit the remote will be shaped into a mouse. In the table below are some ideas that are tossed around from the product meeting and outcomes for them.

What makes our product different and appealing to the company and consumers? Our mouse would have catnip intertwined within the tail and have three assorted colors for the lasers. Since the lasers are in the eyes and one in the tail the beam will automatically move in which every direction. The eyes and tail are not restricted to limited movement. This is to allow movement and give the resemblance of a real mouse.

Ideas from Team

Outcomes

Add a bowl to the end of tail for cat food

Bowl could scrape floors, become detached, too messy

The toy should be the actual size of a mouse, have assorted colors (brown, black, white, grey, pink, blue etc.)

Possible

Color theme for holidays

Personalize the toy with cat’s name on it

Making a few mice for each pack, limit to three

Family! Would that scare the humans?

If there are 3 mice, would one controller do it or would there have to be three?

Tech department says they can control in one!

The furry material, wheels on the bottom

A lifelike material, wheels can be made to not scratch floors, also can move on carpet

 

During this class, I am learning some great ideas that I can take and use in my office. Just because one may think they are great leader the rest of the population might not think so. I am currently going through a process of proving myself as leader and wanting to make my office great. It is harder then what I thought but the challenges and obstacles are presenting itself are molding me into the person I aspire to be. We are always changing as people and our leadership skills vary depending on they type of people we work with, the job description and location.

At the end of the day, I want to have made some positive impact on my sailors, whether it be personal or professional. I want them to be able to look up at me and know that I have their best interest at heart.

References

  • Byrne, J. A. (2012). The 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time & What You Can Learn from them. (cover story). Fortune, 165(5), 68-86.
  • Byrne, J. A. (1998). The Corporation of the Future. (cover story). Businessweek, (3592/3593), 102-106.
  • Gary, H. (2006). The Why, What, and How of Management Innovation. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from Harvard business review.com.
  • Hatice Saray, Laura Patche & Mehmet Burak Ceran, Effects of employee empowerment as a part of innovation management. Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 12(2), 2017. pp. 88–96, ISSN 1842-3191, eISSN 1938-212X
  • Heywood, S., Smet, A. D., & Webb, A. (2014). Tom Peters on leading the 21st-century organization. Mckinsey Quarterly, (3), 88-96
  • Nenonen, S., & Storbacka, K. (2015). Become an Innovator: Reflect, Experiment and Disrupt. New Zealand Management, 62(4), 16-17.
  • Nodoushani, O., Stewart, C., & Wall, A. (2017). Leadership: A Gateway to Organizational Innovation. Competition Forum, 15(1), 155-162.
  • Turró, A., Urbano, D., & Peris-Ortiz, M. (2014). Culture and innovation: The moderating effect of cultural values on corporate entrepreneurship. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 88360-369. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.10.004
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