There is an old quote that has been attributed to numerous sources, “Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal.” When it comes to innovating, one of the best ways to develop innovations is to steal from other industries.
What is standard, and even taken for granted, in one industry, can be brand new to another. Adapting processes from different industries can spur new ideas and improved productivity. It also brings another advantage. People in a given industry tend to think alike. Part of this is due to the type of person your industry attracts, part of it is training. Bringing in ideas from a different industry brings in a different point of view and enhances the diversity of ideas you are working with. Don’t limit yourself to similar industries. A service business can get great ideas from manufacturing. Non-profits can get ideas from retailers. The ideas can come from anywhere.
Once you find new ideas in different industries, see how it can fit into what you do. It may not be easy to adapt all ideas so don’t feel obliged to bring the idea over as is. Just take the parts that work for you. Taking two ideas and putting them together in a way they haven’t been done before is the core of innovation. Look far and wide for those ideas and bring them home.