Innovation drives growth for both national economies and companies. Yet few of us truly know or understand what innovation is about. Remember that a product or service can only be called an innovation until it has successfully been brought to market.

Here are 5 principles to set you on your path to innovating:

1. Look for opportunities

Search for opportunities arising in your industry. In what direction is the focus moving towards. Once you’ve identified trends, study and analyze them. And determine whether a problem exists that requires a solution.

2. Observe the world around you

You’re not going to achieve much by sitting by your desk. So go to the market place to look, listen and ask questions. Talk with customers to find out their expectations, values and habits.

3. Keep it simple!

You don’t want to scare off customers because your product is too complicated. As Peter Drucker says, “The greatest praise an innovation can receive is for people to say: ‘This is obvious. Why didn’t I think of it?’.”

4. Start small

In order for innovations to be simple, they need to start small and serve one particular function. Starting small and needing little money to manufacture, ensures that necessary modifications are made easily with no hassle.

5. Aim for leadership

When you set out to innovate, you’re not doing it to copy somebody else! That’s why you need to aim for a leadership position in your market. Otherwise you’ll be attracting competititors into your field.

Innovation is a broad topic to cover and understand. There is no undisputed method of how to innovate. In some cases innovations happen as a result of accidents or luck. You never know when you’ll stumble upon an innovative idea until you look for inspiration.