Five ways to innovate in business

Virgin Hotels San Francisco
Image from Virgin Hotels
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 2 January 2020

Now more than ever before we are living in an age of innovation. Everything around us changing so quickly.

Across the Virgin Group, I’m really proud that technological innovation is happening all the time. From Virgin Orbit, who will launch satellites into space from a 747 airplane; to Virgin Hotels, who let you personalise every part of your stay; to Virgin Hyperloop, who are creating the world’s most eco-friendly mass transport system that can cut travel time from hours to minutes. Every Virgin company puts improving customer experience first, and this is where we innovate the most.

I’m often asked how new technology and rapid innovation are constantly changing the way individuals work and businesses operate.

picture of Virgin Hyper loope one pod in New York
Image from Virgin Hyperloop

On this theme, I’ve put together tips on how to innovate in business and stay ahead of the game. 

1. Focus on the problem

Innovation flourishes best when you look to solve a problem. This has been the key to our success at Virgin. We’ve always gone into business with the aim of creating a product or service that improves people's lives.

2. Surround yourself with passionate people

Surround yourself with people who are willing to stick their necks out, seek solutions, and be the change they want to create. Be curious, be willing, embrace risk and go for it.

3. Embrace diverse thought

It’s crucial that business leaders do not surround themselves with like-minded people, or ‘yes men’. Find people that will passionately disagree with you, and are not discouraged when things don’t go to plan or their way.

Virgin Hyperloop with mountains in background and summer sky
Image from Virgin Hyperloop

4. Listen to everyone’s ideas

Innovation is for everyone, and often the best ideas come from those that are working on frontline, who have the most experience with the products or services. 

5. Simplify the idea

Being smart is about keeping it simple. Don’t overcomplicate your idea.

Innovation is a restless pursuit to always be better. I hope these tips inspire you to reach that little bit further, faster and higher.