Futurist Michael McQueen shared his insights on how SMEs can innovate by looking to customers in his recent interview with The Star Online in Malaysia, after speaking at the ACCA Annual Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
“The reality is, innovation doesn’t have to cost much at all. Innovation really is about the mindset more than anything else. It is in thinking differently. You don’t need big resources. It is about taking small risks. And in a small company, it is easier to change things,” he says.
The best place to start innovating, says McQueen, is with customers. To stay relevant, businesses need to know what their customers want.
“Find out what your customers really want and not what you think they want because they had wanted it five years ago. As our customers change, are we adjusting? Look at the gaps. Innovation has to be marketplace-driven and not just for the sake of innovation,” he says.
“For small companies, you don’t have to take the big risks right away. Test the market first. And once you get a sense that you are in the right direction, then take the big risk to innovate. It’s about taking a sensible risk because you can’t afford for things to go wrong,” he says.
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Michael McQueen understands what it takes to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. Having dedicated the last eight years to tracking the dominant trends shaping society, business and culture, he has helped some of the world’s best-known brands navigate change and stay in front of the curve.
As a leading specialist in demographic shifts, change management and future trends, Michael features regularly as a commentator on numerous TV and radio programs and has written three bestselling books. His first book, The ‘New’ Rules of Engagement focuses on strategies for leading and connecting with Generation Y. His newest release, Winning the Battle for Relevance is a revealing look at why good ideas and great companies become obsolete and how to avoid their fate.
Michael uses a unique combination of humour, interaction and reflection. He provides audiences with an unsettling insight into how your customers and workforce perceive the world – rather than how you wish they would. Michael’s sessions are highly tailored, ensuring that every audience member leaves equipped with a clear action plan for maintaining growth, vitality and momentum within their business or team.