Innovation is Visionary, not Revolutionary


Innovation is an imperative, not an option, in today’s competitive business environment. A survey of 700 companies in 10 industries across 23 countries by Arthur D. Little, a leading consulting company in the areas of management, technology and innovation, found that 84 percent of companies believe that innovation is now far more essential for business success than five years ago.

Unfortunately, the term “innovation” can be daunting for many. Often, it is believed that being innovative means coming up with a super idea that is “spontaneous,” “promotes the future” or even “shakes things up.” But innovation isn’t about having bright ideas, according to an article in Marketing Online. Instead, innovation is visionary. It’s about identifying threats posed by constantly shifting demographics, technologies, competitors and customer expectations, and turning those threats into ideas that provide opportunities. Then, it’s about selecting the best ideas and turning them into successful new products or business practices, ahead of the competition.

An innovation can be an “enhancement” or “evolution”; it does not have to be a “revolution.” This issue, which features the seven “best” innovations entered in the 2012 nova7awards contest (p22), is an excellent example of this. These winning innovations include programs and services “innovated” to reach new markets or grow existing ones, and new methods in the sales or service areas introduced to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

The clubs featured here are successful because of a team effort among department staff that gathered, shared and used their knowledge of their customers, suppliers, market and partners. In his book, Business @ the Speed of Thought, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates writes that, “The ultimate goal is to have a team develop the best ideas from throughout an organization and then act with the same unity of purpose and focus that a single well-motivated person would bring to bear on the situation.”

Unless you never make a change in your facility’s day-to-day operations, you too have innovations to enter in the annual Nova7Awards contest. And your staff deserves the recognition.

A sampling of innovation

While this year’s winning entries are judged to be the “best” of the 2000 entries, they are just a few of the enhancements and evolutions occuring every day in the fitness industry. To read about the 20 runners-up innovations in this year’s contest, look for the 2001 Products & Services Source Guide, which will mail to readers at the end of February.