While there is no lack of creativity in the food industry, moments of true innovation can be few and far between. After all, transforming creativity and inspiration into food innovation involves more than just taking on the next flash-in-the-pan trend that only sticks around as long as an infomercial.
As Steve Jobs once said of Apple, “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting; the cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” Replace the company of Apple with the food sector, and you have the perfect solution for the ongoing food industry predicament of pioneering inventive ways to sell one of the only things every single person needs in order to survive.
Learning from the Best in Any Business
As noted in Forbes, and witnessed in the growth and expansion of Apple under the guidance of Steve Jobs, innovation is the key to a successful operation. However, Jobs wasn’t a fly by night type of guy. He meticulously studied the economy of innovation, developing 7 steps that can be used, by any industry, to develop a brand that is truly transformative:
- Passion is everything, so stick to what you love to do. You cannot innovate without having your heart and soul in the process.
- Streamline your focus on the overall idea you are attempting to innovate. Without a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, your passion will fizzle out long before you reach the finish line.
- In order to be creative, explore the world and experience all that life has to offer. It is through those seemingly disjointed activities and experiences that creativity breeds. Innovators work by freely associating and sourcing ideas from odd-ball avenues—not by sitting in a cubicle and reading manuals or textbook pertaining to what has already been done in the industry.
- “Innovation comes from saying no to 1,000 things,” said Jobs. Avoid spreading your energy too thin. You only have so many hours in a day, and these should be spent focusing on your sole innovation as much as possible.
- Avoid creating a product. Instead, you should focus on innovating a concept, an experience, a feeling. You want to create something exceptional that evokes an emotion in every single customer, every single time they experience your product.
- Hone into your overall message and define what you are innovating with a solid product story. This is your gateway into the world of your customers, so you need to have a strong message.
- What you should be innovating is a dream fulfilled for your customers. Find out what they need and desire to change or elevate their own life, and fill that gap. After all, customers are only interested in themselves—not the bottom line of your business.
Building Your Vision of the Future
These steps to innovation will put you on a path to success. Stay on track by creating goals, both short term and long term— when the going gets tough, you need to be able to see through the smoke to the finish line so you can stay on target. Start with a sense of your direction. Why are you creating a new product and what is your final goal? Set your expectations to match the real world. While lofty goals may seem wonderful in prospect, the truth is that most people are not going to follow your pipe dreams. Keep a focus on the future. By having that pot at the end of the rainbow, you are more likely to slog through the difficult process even at the lowest points.