Innovation: The Most Important Business Issue of Our Time

@ritadynan posted this article, One Small Business Shows the Advantage of Offering Facility Tours, on her Twitter page.

According to many business professionals today, the challenge of creating radical innovation and totally new product categories is becoming the most important business issue of our time.  Innovation can create growth, build up existing revenue, and create new revenue streams.  If effective, new product development can be extremely successful, but it is particularly difficult.  Companies must follow the basic new product process (identifying opportunities, generating concepts, evaluating concepts, development, and launch) and remain dedicated, attentive, and patient to their ideas.

In this article we read how a small craft brewery in Maine, Allagash Brewing Company, innovatively overcame challenges in their business.  Even though the company was selling out summer tours, they were facing issues of loud spaces that were spoiling the visitor experience.  Thinking innovatively and taking a risk, the company invested in testing technology for solutions until they successfully developed a wireless headset system.  According to the article, “Using the portable tour guide system, visitors on the tour can hear even if they are in the back of the group.  Tour guides are now more relaxed.  Line workers don’t have to endure listening to the same tour over and over, day after day.”

Unlike the implication of technology but similar to this concept of pursuing innovation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is also experimenting with enhancing existing programs.  Like many other Museums, the first Sunday of every month at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is “Pay What You Wish” – if they wish, visitors may enter the Museum for the cost of a penny.  Realizing the success of these days by the mass amounts of visitors that activate the Museum and through gap analysis finding an opportunity in the market place, the Philadelphia Museum of Art created Wednesday Nights at the Museum.  Wednesday Nights at the Museum, like first Sundays, are Pay What You Wish.  Unlike any other major art institution in the area, the Museum stays open late and essentially free between the hours of 5:00-8:45 p.m.  In addition to this, the Museum’s remarkable collections are activated by inventive, interactive, and dynamic programs with mini-film festivals, creative gallery experiences with regional artists, musicians, and local cultural organizations, and drop-in art making workshops and games.  This initiative is still growing, having just started in February 2013, and is bringing in a few hundred additional visitors each week for the institution.  Although this may not seem like a lot, these additional attendance numbers should be appreciated in a world where retaining visitors and gaining the attention of potential visitors is an everlasting challenge.

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Learn more about Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

The Philadelphia Museum of Art actually seemed to dedicate itself to new product development and innovation a lot this year.  This past summer between June 28 – September 2, the Museum dedicated itself to another new program – Art Splash. The Museum’s Perelman Building was opened in a new way, transforming its spaces into a world for kids and their families, filled with five family and children oriented exhibitions, interactive art play spaces, and daily family programs.  Explore, create, and play – the message that brought in almost 30,000 visitors in less than 3 months and proved that dedication to innovation can lead to success.

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