rapid acceleration of digital disruption, world markets are changing fast.
Analysts have categorised the drivers of this change into streams, like
"social”, "mobile”, "analytics” and "cloud” (or SMAC) in an
effort to understand and manage the
this sounds new, the reality is that evolutionary innovation has always been
instinctively part of the DNA of human society.
has changed, and changed dramatically and irreversibly, is the pace due
entirely to the exponential acceleration of anything that’s information (or
digitally) enabled. (Read Exponential Organisations by Salim
really, how does one survive and thrive in a global economy that’s rocked
almost monthly by the likes of Uber, AirBnb, Netflix, Craigslist, Kaggle, and
numerous others?The answer lies in simple genetics: evolve or die.
with a multitude of business theories, methodologies, and 7-steps-to-success
ladders, there’s little in the way of a consistent and safe compass to navigate
the tumultuous waters of driving innovation in your organisation – big or
small. That said, there are merits in using many of the approaches and tools
available, but some generic fundamentals can keep your ‘true North’ and on
course, which are discussed here.
can be defined as creating new VALUE, either by doing different things or doing
things differently. Much of the time, in fact, innovation is not about doing
new things. For instance, Uber is nothing new. It’s merely a transportation
service that was ‘done’ differently, so that it could opportunistically (and
brilliantly) leverage new social and digital innovations to achieve success.
Likewise, Sony already had the Walkman, but the iPod was infinitely better
because it delivered so much more to the same market opportunity.
real solutions means that you need to truly understand your market. There’s no
better way to do this than to involve your clients directly in your innovative
processes and initiatives. Henry Ford was famously quoted as saying, "If I
asked the people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘make me a faster
horse’.” People love to attribute this to a lack of interest in involving ‘the
people,’ but they are wrong.
clearly knew what his market wanted
because he lived in that market daily and shared the challenges and obstacles
that his client base needed to overcome – he just had a different solution than
a ”faster horse.” And even though Steve Jobs also did not believe in extensive
market research, stating that, "People don’t know that they want something
– until you show it to them,” he always ensured that he had a deep
understanding of the market and its limitations by involving consumers,
artists, and various industry people in all that Apple developed.
close to and involving your clients and people from your market in the process
keeps you grounded, focused, and relevant.
"inside out”, not "outside in” when you focus on the opportunity or
problem. This means starting with the WHY first, then the WHAT, and finally,
the HOW. In the tech industry, for instance, we are surrounded by brilliant
people who have multiple ways to tackle a problem, with an infinite toolbox of
technical solutions. Often, though, this causes "outside in” thinking,
where time is spent on how we do something technically and what we will do
conceptually, brushing past why we are doing it at all. This type of thinking
leads to unnecessary costs, lesser quality solutions, and missed opportunities
– and that’s just for starters.
more time on being clear on why we do things is what shapes our thinking for
what we need to do, which in turn speaks to how we could do it. To explore this
thinking in greater detail, see the "Start with the Why” TED Talk, by
perspective and experience
magic happens when brilliant people with different experience, knowledge, and skills get together to think about
a common problem. Kaggle, a platform for predictive modelling and analytics
competitions, is possibly the best example of this – but you can embrace it in
your business, too.
is that in the digital world we have unlimited opportunities to leverage brains
and creative energy from, well, pretty much anywhere. The onus is on us to
create and leverage communities, both internally and externally in order to
boil the ocean
and clarity leads to excellent results, proving that less is more. Often, companies will have numerous
innovative initiatives active across the business, making it more likely for
the truly great ones to be overlooked. Overcrowding your initiatives leads to a
general lack of focus and diluted investment. That’s why it is imperative that you
establish a few key, broad outcomes that you need to achieve and vet
prospective initiatives based on their likely fit to those outcomes.
there is no simple recipe for how to apply what we have discussed. That said,
these general themes give you a framework from which you can create your own