Find a Ready Market for Your Innovations

To spur growth, many companies don't have an innovation plan. Instead, they reuse old strategies from the past. Or they fumble to find markets that might welcome the offerings incubating in their labs. Neither approach fosters profitable innovation.

There's a better way: Pick your playing field by aiming for markets lying somewhat out of--but not too far from--your core business. To do this, find customers who are using existing products in unusual ways or using products for things they weren't designed to do. (For example, small business owners used Intuit's personal financial software because they liked its simplicity.) Such behaviors signal a ready market for innovations.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  September 22, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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