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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

How to sell your innovation to your executive

As a member of a team have you ever had an idea about how you could improve a product or process within your company but were unsure how to go about implementing it?

Well, I doubt you are alone. In fact, how many opportunities for business improvement are lost never to be realised because the employee didn’t know what to do with their idea. It is a real loss and an opportunity cost that most businesses don’t even realise is occurring.

If you have an idea, here are some angles you can take to convince your leaders to give that idea a go-ahead

Brand Enhancement – Does your innovation have the potential to uplift and elevate your company’s brand? When trying to sell an innovation you can take the approach about how it supports and strengthens the current brand proposition. This can either be how it impacts internal or external perceptions of the brand.

Value to your Customer – What is the resulting value that your innovation will deliver to the customers. In this instance, the term customers does not exclusively refer to the purchasers of your product but also to internal customers who consume the product or output that your innovation will improve.

Impacts on Price – Is your innovation related to the pricing model of your business. The innovation could either be a whole new approach to pricing or could deliver cost savings that could result in lower prices for your customers. Innovations based on pricing can be industry-scale disruptors.

Logistics Improvement – This can be one of the more challenging areas of the business to innovate. Logistics and distribution channels are usually very well established and resistant to change. However, while there is resistance these business functions are ripe for opportunities for innovation.

New Customer Experience - Innovations that improve the customer experience or create a new one are extremely valuable. They create a competitive advantage in existing markets or even open opportunities to new markets. These are powerful angles to sell an innovation on.

Process Improvement – Process innovation is often overlooked for its value, but it is the area of innovation that most employees can contribute to. However, it has less appeal for the more abstract or narrow benefits that these kinds of innovations provide.

Cultural Enhancement – Innovations that support your culture are those which help people to connect, establish relationships and feel a sense of belonging with the company. A big question your leadership will have about these innovations is cost, as they very rarely have a direct economic benefit.

TAKEAWAY: Selling your innovation to the executive is about finding the right angle, demonstrating the right benefits and appealing to them based on this. Understand that a lot of executives will be resistant to innovation for innovation’s sake. There must be real, tangible and measurable benefits.


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