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How to Keep Your Company Relevant with Innovation

Staying relevant

Technology is increasing the pace of change at an exponential rate, influencing entire markets and customer behavior alike.

Both newcomers and long-standing enterprises are being forced to either stay ahead of the innovation curve or perish.

While achieving initial success and then staying the course may have worked in the past, it is no longer a viable approach to corporate longevity. Companies that want to stay relevant have to continue to innovate as the environment around them changes.

Looking at how some of the world’s biggest names in business were able to stay relevant with innovation provides valuable insights into how companies can thrive, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable competition.

Why Google Bought and Developed Android

When the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, it was an instant game-changer. The combination of a mobile phone, touchscreen operation and iOS operating system that included features that were once thought impossible changed the mobile phone industry forever.

Google recognized that if they wanted people to continue to use their search engine, they needed to develop a phone and operating system that could compete with Apple.

Google + Android

Instead of imitating Apple’s closed system, they opened a worldwide innovation challenge and asked software and hardware companies to create phones, tablets and apps for Android.

This open source approach to innovation allowed Google to release the first Android smartphone just one year after the iPhone.

By providing a competitive product at a lower price point, Google made smartphones more accessible and created devices that came already loaded with the Google search engines and apps. They furthermore made their apps available for use on the iOS operating system for a limitless customer base.

Instead of toeing the line like former mobile phone giants Nokia and Blackberry, Google decided to use innovation to meet new market challenges. This allowed them to enter, survive and thrive with a new audience.

The New McDonald’s Restaurant

When it comes to innovation, there is perhaps no better example than McDonald’s. Whether you love or hate the fast-food chain, there is no denying that they have proven themselves able to anticipate and understand trends and respond accordingly.

McDonald’s has a history that is steeped in innovation. From their unique approach to franchising businesses and legendary ad campaigns, to more recent efforts to respond to health trends with more nutritious menu options, McDonald’s has been never stopped looking for ways to continuously improve.

McDonald's

Today, retail giants across the world are beginning to realize that leveraging technology to create a superior customer experience is the key to lasting success. McDonald’s has been an early adopter of this approach and launched its Velocity Growth Plan, which included purchasing personalization technology Dynamic Yield, to stay ahead of the competition.

So far, the program has resulted in the Global Mobile App, mobile ordering technology and in-store pay and order kiosks. All of these new offerings use technology to deliver food faster and streamline the entire customer experience. Moving forward, the company plans to test drive-thru integration tools and customized menu displays.

Even with 36,000 restaurants in 101 countries and a secure spot as the top fast-food restaurant, McDonald’s continues to innovate. Recruiting top talent and dedicating time and resources to innovation has allowed them to stay relevant even as competition has increased, consumer tastes have changed and the customer experience has become increasingly important.

Open Up to Innovation

Even if you have a formula that works for you now, history tells us that things will change.

Sticking to the same business model will eventually spell doom for any company that does not recognize the importance of innovation. Take a cue from successful innovators like Google and McDonald’s and be open to innovation in all its forms while also taking a proactive approach to staying ahead of trends.

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