Most businesses are on a never-ending journey for innovation. Finding revolutionary products, advanced business practices, and better predictive analysis of where industries and markets are heading, shape much of our goals and strategies. Even if your business is far from Silicon Valley on the map or isn’t playing in a space conducive to rewriting the history books, there are still many overarching ideologies we can glean from the ones who are. These are philosophies that can be applied to businesses of any shape, color, or size. Here are some lessons to highlight from Fast Company’s list of The Most Innovative Companies of 2016 that you can incorporate at your organization to infuse more innovation:
Facebook now boasts a staggering 1.71 billion monthly users. You might think that would cause a company to get fat and happy and possibly snowball into falling behind hungrier combatants in certain aspects. I mean, what else can they accomplish? Well in their mind’s eye, everything. They’re raising the bar way, Way, up, on mastering web advertising, delivering news, and virtual reality.
Lesson: Don’t rest on your laurels. Even if your company gets to a great place, you can always get somewhere better. Or somebody else will.
Netflix has been building its library of original content over the years and has almost gotten to the point where anyone who wants to be part of the conversations must subscribe. They’ve created a need customers need to scratch, from scratch.
Lesson: If you build it, they will come. If you can produce something truly special, even if the world never knew it would exist, people will sign up in droves to consume your product for fear of missing out and to see what you have in store next.
Google’s parent company knows all it takes is one big bet to cash in for your company to hit it big. Or, to at least pay for all of the failures. Alphabet thinks long and then goes 10 light-years further. From driverless cars, to internet-beaming hot air balloons, to cancer-detecting pills, Alphabet believes if you shoot for the moon, you just might hit it.
Lesson: No idea is too crazy; no idea is too out there. Failure is what drives innovation. If one project ends up really taking off, all the ones that came up short will just become stepping stones to getting you to your magnificent discovery.
The music streaming app’s “Discover Weekly” function contains arguably the most successful algorithm for predicting an individual’s music tastes ever made. Every Monday, a new batch of songs personalized for you and only you is dropped into your app for you to sample. And the response is usually a whole lot of dancing.
Lesson: You have a lot of data. A lot of it is noise, a lot of it is random, but if you can constantly test it, tweak your models, and take a magnifying glass to those numbers, you will find patterns and connections that can lift your company’s innovation endeavors to its dreams.