In today’s uber-competitive environment innovation is more important than ever. If you’re not innovating your competitor is and you will fall behind. Customers, even your best ones, can fall prey to the “shiny new thing syndrome”. If you’re not innovating you’re not giving your customers anything to be excited about. It doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But you do need to give your customers something to keep their attention. There are many benefits of hiring an innovation keynote speaker to help you generate new breakthrough ideas.

Benefits of Hiring an Innovation Keynote Speaker

Hiring an innovation keynote speaker is a good way to get your employees excited about change and new ideas. In this day and age of social media and short attention spans, innovation is a way to jumpstart excitement in your company. Having a great innovation keynote speaker to kick off your conference is the way to do it.

Here are the 5 major benefits of hiring an innovation keynote speaker:

Increase sales and market share

A great innovation keynote speaker will show you how to increase your sales and monetize your assets. They will also show you how to, not only keep your markets, but help you discover new ones.

Product development is when a company tries to grow by creating new products and services for its existing markets.

This strategy makes sense when you have market share, but instead of fighting competitors for more customers, you’re selling more to the customers who already know and like you. And, you’re building loyalty by providing them a more extensive line of products and services – increasing their involvement with your business.

You’ll probably also add some market share by offering a more complete line than a competitor. Once their customers go to you for an item, it’s easier to retain them than to recruit them from scratch.

Horizontal Diversification is a strategy where a company adds products or services to their portfolio. But the target isn’t their current market. They’re going after new markets. This can be done by innovating new products.

Innovating new products with the help of an innovation speaker

As an inventor and business owner, I am always surprised by how many hidden markets there are out there that I didn’t know about. One of those for me was the alcohol market. I was stuck in my thinking that the wrist water bottle (my patented invention) was only for water and only for sports. One day a guy stopped me at a trade show and told me if I had 5 minutes he would show me how to sell a lot of swiggies.

He asked me if I’d ever heard of the Hash House Harriers. Of course, I hadn’t. Their tagline is “a drinking club with a running problem”. In case you’ve never heard of this ubiquitous club, they run and drink beer at the same time. My first thought was that they would spill an awful lot of beer. And that is the point. An enclosed water bottle on your wrist would keep you from spilling your beer and it would be easily accessible.

Now I sell about 20% of my product in the alcohol industry to fairs, festivals, Hash House Harriers and pub crawls. I now have a great competitive advantage because I’m the only one who sells a hands-free and very unique product for people in that industry. Alcohol companies can put their logos on my bottles and be guaranteed that they will attract attention. That’s what promotional products are supposed to do. Get your logo seen! A little creativity and innovation in your marketing will help you increase your sales and market share.

Motivate your employees to invent new products 

As an inventor maybe I’m biased about how valuable intellectual property is to a company. Licensing IP is like selling air. As an innovation speaker I teach companies how to inspire employees to create products and services that generate a unique competitive advantage. Inventors are able to generate a lot of new ideas, but it’s a process that anyone can use. I bring along a bag of tricks that inventors use to come up with endless ideas. Once you know them, the process is easy. Employees love it because most of it is play. Company brainstorming is a good way to retain employees. It makes them feel like they are part of an exciting process where they get to see the end result.

WD-40 inventors

This happened with the Rocket Chemical Company. In the beginning, they only had 3 employees. One of them, Norman Larsen, was trying to create a formula to prevent corrosion. This was done by displacing water. On the 40th try, he created WD-40, which stands for “water displacement 40th” for the 40th attempt.

What I didn’t know is that WD-40 was never patented. It has always been a trade secret (another type of IP) because they didn’t want to release the ingredients to the public. My own product was patented, but I turned it into a registered trade dress, was has proven to be far more valuable than a patent.

Several years later the company had almost doubled in size and employees were selling cases of the stuff out of the trunks of their cars. During Hurricane Carla employees scrambled to get product out to help victims recondition their damaged cars and equipment. Not only did employees of the company help grow it, but they were also able to help people in need. All because they invented a unique and lasting product which is now sold around the world.

Intrapreneurs and innovation

Intrapreneurs are employees who develop new ideas and businesses within a company. An innovation speaker can teach those employees who gravitate towards entrepreneurship and steer them in that direction. It’s good for you to keep that talent and nurture it instead of losing them to other companies or having them start their own company. One of the benefts of hiring an innovation keynote speaker is to help develop those intrapreneurial employees.

When I do a creativity or innovation keynote I also will do a Shark Tank style panel with top executives in the company. I’ve done this for companies who want to generate new product and service ideas. We offer prizes to the best ones and it gets employees excited about having their ideas used by the company.

If you want to create a culture of innovation, you can’t just expect employees to come up with great ideas that are likely going to create a lot of extra work for them and their co-workers to implement — without offering them a share of the rewards.

People don’t like working for free. Innovation needs incentives to work. So make some sort of reward structure a part of your innovation plan.

Create your competitive advantage with the help of an innovation keynote speaker

Competitive advantage is what separates you from the rest of the companies and organizations you compete with. It’s the reason people pick you and your business instead of your competition. Do you know what your competitive advantage is? A good innovation keynote speaker will help you figure out what it is and help you strengthen it. Just another one of the benefits of hiring an innovation keynote speaker.

To have an ultimate competitive advantage, you’ll need to see your entire industry and everyone in it with a clear 360-degree view. Do that, and you’ll figure out how to make yourself so unique and valuable that you don’t have to worry about becoming extinct in the first place. Blaze your own unique path — and learn how to pivot and evolve as the industry changes around you.

An ultimate competitive advantage will save your business in good times and bad. It’s not something to take for granted, and requires constant updating to stay ahead of the curve and stay fresh.

Developing an ultimate competitive advantage is a great defense against disruption. But to maintain that advantage, you have to create the conditions so that you – and anyone working for you – are always focused on innovation. You need to create an innovative culture. This is something an innovation speaker can help you with. Not a speaker who has never innovated, but one who has been in the trenches and knows firsthand how to innovate.

Failure and innovation

Innovation involves experimentation, and all experiments involve failure. If you’re not failing, you’re probably not innovating.

A successful leader is not only okay with failure — they welcome it. That doesn’t mean big failures that cost the company crippling amounts of money, but small and consistent trial and error that leads to incremental innovations on a regular basis.

Innovation is fraught with uncertainty. Be okay with that and know that the end result will be worth it. The more times you strike out and learn from it, the closer you get to innovation success.

When driven by fear, many companies follow what the leader in their industry is doing. Thinking that they’re getting in on the latest trends, while avoiding the risk of failure.

But once a trend is out there — it’s often too late. The first party to come up with the idea has the competitive advantage. Leaders who wait until all of the data is in may end up following the sheep instead of innovating ahead of the curve.

Disrupt or be disrupted

Once upon a time, people used to sit around their living rooms listening to storytelling on their AM radios. For the first time, we could even listen to a fireside chat with the President.

Later, stations started playing music, but AM radio didn’t really have the sound quality for that. And all of a sudden, along came the bright, shiny new thing… FM radio. Then all of the music started shifting over to FM. The people in AM radio started freaking out and thinking it was the end of their industry.

They couldn’t imagine people who’d left them would ever switch back over to AM after that. But AM radio innovated within its competitive advantage; AM has a longer range than FM, and AM stations used that to win back listeners. As commute times became longer, more people were listening to a radio in a moving car, and needed that longer range if they wanted to stay on one station.

AM may not be good for music, but it’s perfect for sports, news, and talk radio, since all require a much longer listening time than a 3-5 minute song. AM stations shifted their programming, and that’s where most remain today. Because they innovated within their competitive advantage, AM radio is still around — and still doing well.

Another one of the benefits of hiring an innovation keynote speaker is to get new ideas from outside your industry.

Communication disruption

Imagine a time before texting and email. Hard to picture, right? A time when you had to handwrite a letter. You might have a death in the family and not find out for a week. But then the telegraph came along — and suddenly you could send short, secure messages over great distances. It was wonderful. Business was booming! Western Union was making so much money and they had no competition. Until…

… the telephone was invented. And the funny thing is, Alexander Graham Bell went to Western Union to see if they would buy the patent, but they turned it down. They said, “Why would anyone want to talk on a phone? People can just send a short message.”

But the phone didn’t go away. Western Union had second thoughts about buying the patent, but they decided to go around Bell. Bell found out, sued Western Union, and won.

Without the telephone, Western Union realized they had to innovate — or they were going to go out of business.

So they innovated within their own competitive advantage. They leveraged the assets they already had: retail locations around the world and the ability to send short, secure messages. Those two things — a physical location to receive funds, and the ability to securely send a request and receive confirmation – are exactly what’s needed when someone needs to send emergency funds or make rapid payments.

Now they’re a global payment leader. They pivoted and shifted their business. Western Union didn’t stay stuck in the past. They didn’t say, “This is all we do and we’re not going to change”. They stayed ahead of disruption — instead of being sucked under by it.

Grow your business when times are tough

There is no better argument for innovation than tough times. Every business will go through them. Sometimes it’s as bad as The Great Depression or a World War. Or it could just be a mild recession. It could be as bad as the Covid pandemic or it might be other issues such as supply chain disruption. But rest assured, it will happen. And it will happen to all businesses, so be prepared. The best way to stay ahead of the curve is through innovation.

Nylon innovation

Who could have guessed that a trade war between two countries would result in the invention of nylon? When trade relations with Japan soured, the US had to figure out a way to replace the silk we were getting from them, since Japan was the only source. It was definitely a case of necessity being the mother of invention. And the DuPont Chemical Company would step up to the challenge to find a synthetic alternative.

Dr. Wallace Carothers was an inventor for the DuPont Chemical Company during the Great Depression. They opened a research laboratory for the development of artificial materials, something that Carothers was perfectly suited for. It was in DuPont’s Experimental Station that Dr. Carothers and his team did their research on polymers and found a strong polyamide fiber that stood up well to both heat and solvents. He patented this new fiber as nylon. It was the first new synthetic fiber made by man, and would go on to inspire other synthetics and usher in a new age.

Women were used to the feel and texture of silk stockings, but quickly took to the new synthetic ones, as they would tend to snag a little less (although I have yet to find a pair of nylon stockings that I couldn’t ruin). Once the synthetic stockings went on the market, the demand was so high that thousands of women flocked to the stores to buy them. Four million pairs sold out in four days.

During the Great Depression people were tired of the constant economic exhaustion and uncertainty. Nylon sales created an encouraging sign of hope that the nation could recover. The invention of nylon sparked a new synthetic revolution and increased sales.

These are just some of the benefits of hiring an innovation keynote speaker for your next conference.