In a recent survey, more than 300 industry executives identified innovation as the primary benefit of the shift in service from cost reduction to revenue growth. So how can you continuously generate innovative ideas in service? Innovation is present all around us and remarkable opportunities are right in front of you. Let’s consider a few best practices that will help you identify and take advantage of ideas to boost innovation.
It’s essential to focus not only on concepts for new products and capabilities, but on the entire lifecycle of each product. Boston Scientific is a good example of a company that is consistently creating innovative products, including a pacemaker that allows remote diagnostics, further detailed in The Service Imperative eBook. The company has an “innovation portal” in place that allows the submission of new ideas related to the product lifecycle, including all aspects of service management. Ideas are submitted by many, including suppliers, production and planning teams, and end-users and are carefully considered before the company selects the ideas that they plan to pursue.
Feedback from your service organization is also a great way to identify internal possibilities and ideas for innovation. Your service team is your best resource to uncover key areas for improvement and typically, this team also knows exactly how to make changes happen. The flow of information between the service organization and the product team is a crucial best practice for any service provider (for more on this topic, refer to the post Closing the Service Loop).
With design teams expanding around the world, there is no longer only one centralized team. Cooperation amongst global design teams aids in innovation and allows for the essential collaboration of ideas. Furniture manufacturer Herman Miller promotes global partnership in the development of new products across teams. In fact, according to another Oxford Economics study, the number of manufacturers embracing a Design, Build and Service Anywhere approach will grow 125% in three years.
Last but not least, the voice of the customer represents a clear source for new ideas and should continue to remain an imperative method for collecting feedback. By utilizing methods such as online surveys, forums, and user groups, it is easy to gather feedback from end users. A French car manufacturer has recognized that more than 50% of the available information on its cars (forums, product reviews, videos, how-to websites, etc.) was created and posted by customers. External sources are a perfect source of feedback for innovative ideas, making it important to understand both positive and negative customer experiences and ideas.