Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, explains why innovation is such an important part of business thinking – from product and service design, to commercial growth, strategic evolution, team development and responding to rapidly-developing market requirements.
When we talk about innovation, we typically think about game-changing products and first-to-market services. That was my understanding when I co-founded myenergi in any case. Our solar-compatible EV charger – zappi – was truly revolutionary; an innovative product that brought eco-smart technology to the masses.
The thinking behind the product was innovative, the technology used in its development was innovative, the team involved was innovative and the capability it has was innovative. Innovation, it seemed, was the single most important part of our success. We’d created a solution that you simply couldn’t buy elsewhere, and that unique selling point saw us rise up the ranks as a disruptor in the sector.
But if you think that innovation is just a one-time thing, you’d be wrong. As any business owner will tell you, it’s not just important in the start-up stages, it’s a way of life. You need to embrace innovation across every element of your business – be that your growth strategy, the evolution of your products or services, your team development or your routes to market. Innovation is key to adapting, developing and responding to changing market trends.
How do I embrace innovation across my business?
Distilling it down, innovation is just another word for a new way of doing things, a new approach to a challenge, a new outlook. If you think about it, every successful business is innovative – they refuse to stand still.
While academia will tell you that there’s four types of innovation; basic, breakthrough, disruptive and sustaining – this suggests that innovation is just a process. However, from my experience, it’s not simply a tangible, mathematical, logical approach, it’s far more. If your business is truly innovative, you’ll subconsciously be embracing new ways of doing things on a daily basis across the board. It’ll be in your DNA as an entrepreneur.
When we founded myenergi, we did so with the conviction that we were paving the way to a better future. A future where sustainability wasn’t simply for the minor few, but for everyone. We wanted to move the goalposts, to push the boundaries, to disrupt the status quo. We didn’t want to follow, we wanted to lead.
Business-wide innovation was essential to achieve this. So, while we invested heavily in product innovation at the start, we also knew that every other element of our business needed to embrace innovation – and we still apply that entrepreneurial thinking to this very day.
Indeed, our route to market was innovative – embracing a somewhat of a left field approach by partnering with wholesalers and engaging with independent installers to achieve a ‘push-pull’ effect. What’s more, the development of our team has always proven innovative – employing people with the right attitude and a special spark, not just simply relying on the right qualifications on paper.
When times have been tough, such as being hit by supply chain issues or the global semiconductor microchip shortage, innovation has been key to finding a solution. If a day goes by without a new idea, a solution to further improving process efficiency, or a creative partnership to further increase our brand amplification, we see it as a missed opportunity.
Of course, we’ve remained innovative in our product development too – from refining and incrementally improving our existing range, to the development of new and disruptive technologies that meet the ever-changing requirements of the marketplace of tomorrow. This is what our customers have come to expect and this is what continues to set us apart.
My advice to any business owner is therefore to be disruptive in your thinking and in your actions. While coming up with the perfect product or service is obviously important, embracing innovation across your business is key to long-term success. Be creative, be novel, be unique and continue to reinvent yourself. This is important to navigating future challenges and leveraging opportunities with confidence.
Most importantly, never stop innovating. After all, a good idea has a shelf life. A good business doesn’t.