If customers do not buy innovation, there is no innovation. Innovation is getting people to accept new things and there is no better acceptance than buying. However, people love to talk about innovation but really do not know how to buy it. And when they are suddenly in a situation to buy it, they are confused or panic.
If USA fashion industry wants to compete against the Italian one, it needs customers who will buy innovative fashion. USA can not have an Armani, Prada, Versace, or Dolce & Gabbana unless it has customers who are willing to part from an oversized t-shirt and sneakers. If Italian software industry wants to compete against the USA one, it must have companies which seriously evaluate Italian software, buy it, offer feedback, instead of just going for the cheaper USA option.
Without buyers who know how to buy innovation, there is no innovation.
Here are few tips on how to buy innovation:
1. When evaluating innovative products, consider what it solves on a strategic and more conceptual level, beyond the basic price and features list.
2. Dedicate 1 hour a week to interviewing sales people who sell the most innovative products. This will amount to 50 evaluations per year. If more managers do it, the number will increase.
3. Use the most innovative products whenever you can but also prepare a more stable less innovative alternative to minimize the risk.
4. Purchase different innovative products from what your competitors use. This will improve your differentiation.
If you buy innovation, you participate in innovation and you are an innovator. A company which does not buy innovation most likely can not make and sell innovation itself.