How To Innovate Without a Budget

Innovating around your true distinct competencies not only costs you nothing, but you’ll create higher quality value at the end of the day that’s sustainable.

To build any house that lasts, you have to get the foundation right. Whether it is the launch of a new strategic vision or taking control of a project in need of a turnaround, you must first start by strategically thinking and planning, then executing. Having a strategic planning process that is both agile and iterative is critical for modernization and digital transformation. Moving at modern speeds with the ability to adapt and evolve in real-time, without losing the parameters or overall framework of your strategy, will allow you to compete with advanced technology and systems as a human thinking ‘system’ in a fast-approaching artificial intelligence-powered economy.

This isn’t necessarily a new way of thinking but rather an optimal way. We’ve seen these types of attributes before in total quality management principles—models made popular in Japanese manufacturing and the teachings of William Edwards Deming, who was a famous American statistician. These early mathematical physics models on statistical process control, continuous and total quality management helped drive growth, efficiencies, and sustainability in modern manufacturing.

Mirror Mirror…

Let’s start with you. Go and grab a mirror, the biggest one you can find, and then get it very clean. Use Windex, vinegar & water mix or a clay bar and microfiber towel if it’s really dirty, but get it clean! Metaphorically speaking or not, don’t worry. You are not crazy—the exercise works. I’ve done it! Now, stand in front of the mirror and ask questions around your project’s mission, goal, obstacle, and purpose. What kind of questions should you be asking yourself at a foundational planning stage? The mirror exercise will help you see the truth and take stock of where you and your team are in alignment with your brand marketing targets. The questions that will help you design an effective marketing plan truly depend on your and your teams objectives. However, below are some of the more general questions that my team and I considered when launching a robust brand plan. What are you trying to accomplish? In other words, what is it that you, your partner, your employer, or the stakeholder wish to achieve? Perhaps grow to plot a strategic company exit? Grow to go public (IPO)? Grow to position the company for an M&A?

  1. Who are my team members, and why?
  2. Is my intellectual property unique?
  3. What are the growth areas/gaps to exploit?
  4. Who are our competitors?

The best competitors are the ones you choose! Choose the ones where their differences can create pull-through or value-add for your own differences – adding value to both organizations.

Some may think these are pretty heavy questions. They are, but success—especially that which is sustainable – begins with honesty and transparency. Today this can be a challenge to do without boiling the ocean! After you have answered the questions above, identify where you are with your existing marketing/brand plan and how/where you need to make adjustments.

And so you have to be careful of what you wish for; choose your objectives wisely and know exactly what you’ve decided that you really want out of your project or venture.


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