I need to innovate but I don’t have a big budget or the time; but it’s okay because that company over there already innovates so I’ll just copy what they do!
If you’re thinking that, then our message to you is to stop and think again before you drive your organisation out of business. The company over there that you are looking to copy may be in the same industry, it may even offer virtually identical products or services, but it is not you. It will have a different culture, ethos, setup and level of innovation maturity. Try and copy what it does and the likely result will be confusion and chaos within your business.
Aside from that, do you really want to be seen purely as a copycat clone of another organisation or do you want to succeed through differentiation, through innovating your way? Let’s give you an example. In case you haven’t heard the news, large organisations in England now have to charge for plastic bags, following earlier adoptions of bag charging in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You’d think that the response to government legislation would be identical but in fact different businesses have approached the change in different ways. So, whilst for one local supermarket a small sign on the customer service desk seemed to suffice, another was advertising the change with large posters and by handing out free ‘bags for life’.
Both were managing change in their way, presumably having taken into account their own ethos, the customer relationship and the message which they wished to convey. It’s an important differentiator to understand. When businesses look to become more innovative they have to use their own starting point, work with their distinct culture and shape the future which is right for them. When you innovate, you innovate your way or you become part of a future which someone else has designed.