For many of us who launch our own small businesses, we start with what we know. We may have been in our industry for years and we pick up on what we deem to be best practice.

We model our businesses on those ideas.

We may identify something in our industry that we thought could be done better, and that becomes our point of difference. While this can be a great starting point, there are limitations on how innovative your business will become.

In these challenging times we now find ourselves in, its’ time to get creative and adopt innovative ideas into our businesses. Your survival as a business may depend on it!

So, how do you break out of the rut you might find your business in? What tools or processes are available to kick-start innovation? What you are searching for probably already exists outside the confines of your industry. The thinking that got you where you are today has its limitations, this is where cross-industry innovation comes in.

Here are some of the key benefits of cross-industry research:

  • It enables company leaders to see their business differently and allows them to develop new approaches to solving problems
  • Project managers can build upon other industry solutions and knowledge
  • It will enable teams to develop new ideas more quickly and more efficiently
  • It breaks down borders between departments and industries
  • Cross-industry innovation helps develop valuable experiences for customers

Cross-industry research opens your eyes to new possibilities. It’s a fantastic way to get the creative juices flowing. “Despite the evolution of economic growth, managers and entrepreneurs are still not giving enough thought to cross-industry innovation,” stated Bart Devoldere, a researcher at Vlerick. “They only rank it 14th out of 16 possible sources of innovation. A change in mindset is, therefore, urgently needed.”

For a company to continue to grow in a fast-changing world, it is essential for business leaders to find fresh inspiration. Applying knowledge and processes from other industries into your own business can be a fantastic way to streamline your success.

As someone who creates websites, I firmly believe this way of thinking is a powerful strategy to inspire a fresh approach for your business website. By researching cross-industry websites, you may find ideas you can adapt to your own needs. By borrowing from other industries, you may find an innovative approach for your industry. Before we unpack this further, lets first explore cross-industry innovation.

Examples of Cross-Industry Innovation

To improve the overall success of a company, a true business leader looks across industries to gain inspiration and develop new marketing strategies.

There are a multitude of examples of cross-industry innovation. Some include:

  • BMW iDrive has used various processes borrowed from the video game industry
  • Philips has adopted ‘light as a service’ for their business model for LED products
  • Norwich Union has created a ‘pay as you drive’ insurance model
  • Cirque du Soleil includes borrows ideas from the theatre world and regular circus acts

Cross-Industry Research and Website Design

Getting inspiration from other websites is essential for website designers and developers.

When it comes to designing a new website, we all tend to look at our competitors to see what they are up too. While this is a very useful aspect of competitor research, we advise clients to look beyond their industry.

Consider brands that serve a similar target market to you. What can you learn from them?

Look at the structure of the website, the content and the design elements. How does the website flow and how might that apply to a business like yours? At the end of the day, your website may be quite similar to your competitors however it’s the finishing touches they you do differently, that can make all the difference.

Like anything that is innovative, you’ve got to test, measure and tweak your strategy to optimise your results. Review how your website functions in the real world. Heat-maps and user testing can be useful ways to measure and improve your results.

Cross-Industry Innovation and Marketing

Cross-industry innovation focuses on learning from other business sectors and applying those lessons to your own business. This can include business processes, tools or technologies, platforms, payment systems, and marketing strategies.

Cross-industry research can be used for many forms of branding and marketing. By looking at the marketing techniques of other industries, companies can utilise similar strategies within their sector to strengthen their business. It’s about borrowing approaches from other industries and adapting them to work for you. 

If you’re looking to improve your brand, marketing, website design, and business in general, consider cross-industry research as a strategy to open up your creative thinking. 

To your online success!