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Innovating Past No

There is an old saying among great sales people.  “The selling begins at no.”  Designers, engineers, scientists, and other innovation professionals should remember that for them the innovating begins at no.  Consider the following statements and what they mean to you.

There is an old saying among great sales people.  “The selling begins at no.”  Designers, engineers, scientists, and other innovation professionals should remember that for them the innovating begins at no.  Consider the following statements and what they mean to you.

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“No, we don’t have the budget to pursue your idea.”
The fact is that no company can afford to not make innovation a front burner issue.  When you hear this it is probably the case that you have shown enough or the right value in your concept.  Ask yourself, have I thought through my concept to its optimal end?  How can I better communicate the value of my idea to the company?  If money is tight, consider if there is a program you can trade off to pursue your higher value concept and wrap that into you proposal to show how you can create more value at no incremental cost.

“No, I can’t justify the expenditure.”
When clients opt to not purchase, it usually means one of two things.  Either the prospect was not well qualified, or they didn’t perceive the value proposition was strong enough.  If it is the later, this is your open invitation to innovate.  Perhaps you can transform the business model in a way that shifts the value equation.  Maybe by changing you strategy for communicating the value you can impact you win-loss ratio.  Certainly, product innovations can boost the value proposition.  The field is wide open; go for it!

“No, it simply can’t be done.”
Don’t you believe it!  There are countless things that we take for granted today that were considered impossible not all that long ago.  This reaction may come from fear of change or mere ignorance.  Either way, you have many tools available to you to look for fruitful paths forward.  Leveraging structured innovation methods will help you reframe the challenge in ways that will lead to new insight.  The right technology platform can allow you to tap into global knowledge across many domains to find novel concepts that can support your breakthrough innovation.  The combination of these two is a potent formula that has worked for many enterprises and is at the core of sustainable innovation practice.

“No, this is the way it’s always been done.  Why change?”
This is another common refuge of innovation killers.  And, why shouldn’t it be.  After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Unfortunately, this view of change presumes that nothing else changes either.  But this is not the way of the world.  Everything is constantly in a state of change.  Customer needs evolve.  New challengers enter your market.  Technologies advance.  New business models emerge.  Closing your eyes to the evolutionary forces around you is the surest path to obsolescence.  Understanding the changing world in which we operate and innovating to define the future is the way to create lasting value and clear the road to market dominance.

How will you respond in the face of no?