If you want to kill a business,
just kill innovation
Innovation is the core competence – the most critical one – in the fight for competitive advantage. According to our research at ActioGlobal during the last years, more than 80% of executives believe that innovation is a top priority, however, almost 95% believe their organization is not good enough in the performance of innovation. Lame excuse.
54% of companies (start-ups and digital-first businesses) have an issue in bringing business strategy and innovation into line. Additionally, with time, they lose their entrepreneurial energy.
Why is that? Is there a standard recipe to help? Well, no, sorry! Individual companies need individual innovation strategies. However, the first step is the same for all:
Recognize that “We have a problem”, find out why, take measures, then solution.
“What matters is the pace of innovation.
That is the fundamental determinant of competitiveness.”
“Houston, we have a problem!” – Apollo 13 was helped and so will you, not by Houston but by your own devices.
1. Disrupt bureaucracy
No hierarchy, no long response times, no empowering of only a few on top floor, no maximizing of compliance any longer.
Networks of self-organized teams over hierarchical levels.
2. Rethink leadership
Partnership over clinging to position
3. Never stop human talent
Entrepreneurship over promotion
4. Make customers the only bosses
Customer feedback over “we know it all”
Innovation without impact is just intention.
This is the “What”, on to the “How”.
The organizations need a culture of innovation:
Set a purpose that drives innovation
Tesla: “… to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
P&G: “… provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers.”
LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
A company’s staff (all levels) must be engaged by values and purpose. It´s a matter of culture.
And of leadership: It´s leaderships´ job to create a culture that encourages staff to invest their time and energy in developing new ideas. Innovative, exponential, disruptive ideas – that might fail. So what. The best of them will work. Finally, it´s again leaderships´ job to make execution happen. Otherwise, it´s a waste of their people´s talent and it´s leadership who will fail to make the company sustainable.
Generation Z demands a meaningful job, they want to leave an impact and a clear purpose will be their North Star. Follow it.
Innovate by rethinking markets
It´s about developing an understanding of the new environment, the changed demand of the digital natives and their new habit of buying and selling. “Digital” and “Environmentally friendly” are keywords.
All data collected have to be easily accessible for the teams and leadership must set clear guidelines how to process, evaluate and apply them for innovations. Mind the discussion on processing personal data!
Additionally, examining the behaviour of customers by human-centered research combined with ongoing data analysis provides insight in opportunities that create real value and allows to design concepts.
Make customer loyalty the fuel of new innovation
Since the innovation flywheel naturally has no end, keep it spinning to keep innovating.
Knowing your customers well is essential for you to innovate and create value for them. Knowing your staff well is decisive for keeping the flywheel going.