Competitive Strategy: Learn From Innovation Outside of Your Industry

Connect the Social Media DotsIn the world of today, job losses are increasing, manufacturers are being driven to close their doors, and large corporations are selling their assets for pennies on the dollar. It seems grim, but only from one side of the coin. If you flip it over, entrepreneur numbers are on the rise, startups are dominating marketplaces once owned by untouchable giants, and new positions that never existed before are springing up. There are several study groups and task forces whose sole purpose is to stop the trends of the economy, but really, their mission was doomed from the start…and that is not a bad thing.

It is not a matter of “stopping” the trends today, but of harnessing them to your advantage. And the first thing you should realise is: whatever industry you are in, your organisation must be producing value in order to survive. Not products, service, or even innovation: VALUE.

Consumers expectations are much higher today than they ever have been, and they are not going to be lowering anytime soon. In order to ensure you are adding value to your market, you must be willing to go outside of your industry to uncover new ideas about product creation, business culture, consumer relationships, and more. Your top competitive strategy should always be: look EVERYWHERE for new ideas.

Peter Drucker once said “Marketing is about not having to sell”, and in a recent interview with Zach Tumin, I had the pleasure of learning more about the art of marketing through collaboration, vision, and focus on the story. To create a ready audience, you should be open to collaboration with other businesses and add depth to your own organisation’s story.

Through looking at how companies in other industries accomplish things, you can begin to apply new innovations to your own market. A shoe maker may look to car manufacturers to learn secrets of nimble production, or an app design company may look to the fashion industry to discover new trends in color and visual effects.

Think of this:

a famous TV show in America features a bakery whose signature product is custom cakes. But this bakery often partners with a carpentry company and a mechanic in order to make cakes that move and spit fire and do things that no one has ever seen before, How popular do you think that show or bakery would be if they had chosen never to look outside their own walls for ideas, or reached out to others for collaboration?

Because, it’s when we combine existing knowledge into new possibilities, that we can create unique solutions faster, cheaper, and more consistently.

Do this:

read the news and blog posts of some of your favorite companies/business minds. Question what businesses around you may be doing things in new ways, and how you might be able to collaborate with them. By testing the waters in several areas, you will be able to make winning combinations and innovate much more quickly and effectively.