My children frequently ask the meaning of words they run across in their school work. Recently, one asked me to define “wrought.” If you’re anything like me, you immediately understand the word but coming up with other words to define it feels ridiculously impossible. Thank goodness for dictionaries!
I think innovation is one of those words. You understand it, but defining it is another matter. So, like any good writer, I turn to the internet.
According to Google, innovation synonyms include change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, reorganization, restructuring, rearrangement, recasting, remodeling, renovation, variation, new measures, new methods, new devices, novelty, newness and unconventionality — just to name a few. Whew!
Google also helpfully added a graph to show the frequency of the word’s usage in books since 1800. Perhaps unsurprisingly, use of the word has skyrocketed in recent decades. Innovation is in high demand.
Businesses know innovation is the key to survival. Startups disrupt the status quo with new ideas. But larger companies can, and should, seek new ways of creating and delivering their products. Just take a look at Harvard professor Gary Pisano’s thoughts on how big companies can innovate like small startups. Be a Netflix, not a Blockbuster.
At the same time, know your business and consumer base well enough to understand what works for you. Our cover story on factory directs shows this traditional business model has moved well into modern times and has a great deal to add to the industry.
Other models also have sprung up in the past few years that have left more established manufacturers and retailers scrambling. This long-sleepy industry has woken up and is forging ahead with all kinds of innovations. Who knows what will come next?
One thing you can do to stay ahead is to keep yourself informed. BedTimes is here to help you navigate through disruptions by bringing you a look at upcoming trends and solid business advice from trusted sources. We want the bedding industry to be as successful as possible. We know that what you provide is priceless to everyone who lies down to rest each night.
Another way to stay informed — go to the ISPA Industry Conference March 13-14 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Not only will you have time to socialize and network, you’ll also have a chance to soak in the presentations from some of the best speakers around. Each one has a story to share, and I think each one will leave you with something to think about long after you’ve returned to your business.
I hope you walk away from the Industry Conference and from these pages feeling inspired by something you have heard or read. Innovation might be hard to define off the top of your head, but you know when you’ve hit upon something good. Keep doing what you do so very well — making better, smarter and more comfortable sleep products for everyone.