Every organization has the potential to be innovative, but it doesn’t happen automatically. In spite of huge investments of time and money, innovation continues to be an unattainable goal in many companies. If this is the case in your business, it’s time to start considering ways to change that. First, however, it’s essential to identify where your problem areas are. This will allow you to develop an innovation strategy to eliminate them.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Spotting the symptoms of a lack of innovation is a matter of knowing where to look. Some of the warning signs are:
- No mechanisms to encourage new ideas: Whether these are round-table brainstorming sessions or incentives for viable product designs, companies without an official channel to drive innovation are destined to plateau.
- Not having a long-term strategic outlook: The future is coming, whether you’re ready or not. Without a strategic plan incorporating every touchpoint, you’re fated to hit stagnation in IT systems, operations and customer acquisition.
- Determination to ‘milk’ legacy systems: Too often, companies spent large amounts of money on systems and procedures that are no longer effective. Holding onto these beyond their sell-by date isn’t good economic sense, and it doesn’t maximize the value of your expenditure. What it does do is leave you limping along with a system that contributes only a percentage of the value you need it to deliver.
- Lack of budget for future developments: Unless you allocate funds to pursuing and implementing technology as fast as it happens, your company is likely to find itself playing catch-up. Invest now in future systems and processes to keep in step with developments.
Importance of Innovation
A key factor in any successful organization is the ability to generate new product or service ideas, and to maintain fresh, original solutions to client problems. In our constantly-shifting global economy, innovation is crucial to success. The implementation of new concepts and methodology adds value to your business, allows you to save time and money, and provides the competitive edge you need. It creates adaptability to increasing customer expectations, and you benefit from new, lean and agile methodologies.
Consequences of Falling Behind
The shift to digital technology has affected every aspect of every industry, and any company that doesn’t accept this in 2018 is headed for disaster. Organizations will be unable to maintain an efficient presence in a digital world without giving customers the digital experience they expect. In January 2017, McKinsey published research showing companies that embraced digital transformation did well, while those that decided to ‘wait and see’ suffered a downturn in results. The costs of falling behind included sales losses to competitors offering e-commerce, native apps, and electronic order-tracking. On the operations side, companies that failed to implement digital initiatives floundered in terms of inventory control costs, incurred higher staffing expenses because of the inability to downsize labor hours, and experienced more complaints resulting from errors by overworked humans.
Build way to innovation into your business is by starting the conversation without delay to identify technology that can achieve your most pressing goals. Get your management team’s buy-in to embrace a shift to digital solutions, and examine the options available to your industry. From here on out, the only way is up.