Change is accelerating so quickly, it is making innovation an urgent strategic and systemic necessity. It is the key competitive lever left to ensure both organisational survival and sustainability. Living now in the Disruption, Digitization and Connection Ages, our attention needs to be on both enhancing adaptability, creativity, inventiveness and at the same time, exploring what it means to be human. As well as enhancing our ability to develop customer empathy and centricity. Leaders, businesses and organisations have the opportunity to thrive and flourish, in VUCA times, by acknowledging the importance of innovation today, in the ImagineNation Manifesto, and through understanding our top 8 reasons.
Importance of innovation – adapt, evolve and grow through disruption
Doing this successfully, in the context of innovation, means your organisation will learn how to adapt, evolve and grow through integrating innovation into their strategy, and by contextualizing innovation and cultivating an innovation culture by:
- Being bold in taking on the innovation challenge build people’s readiness and receptivity to change,
- Assisting people to resolve their unconscious biases and resistance to it,
- Developing both customer intimacy and customer empathy
- Enabling people to experiment and take smart risks,
- Supporting and permitting people to rock the “business as usual” boat, disrupt their complacency and safely disrupt the status quo.
Organisations that see the importance of innovation and act upon the opportunities and possibilities for change through innovation in the current volatile and uncertain, business environment will survive and thrive – in the future, we cannot predict or control.
The importance of innovation – as a strategic, systemic, human-centered and technological lever
They will apply innovation as a strategic, systemic, human-centered and technological lever for developing customer empathy, within agile and innovative organisational cultures, accountable business management processes and global industry eco-systems.
Doing this will enable them to successfully compete, sustain and even flourish in the face of the range of emerging adverse & fluctuating customer expectations, economic and business conditions.
The importance of innovation – what are the core business benefits?
This gives organisations the opportunity to maximize the possibilities in adopting new business methodologies, models, systems and processes to achieve their desired key business outcomes whether they be to;
- Increase ROI to shareholders,
- Achieve business growth goals and improve bottom-line results,
- Increase business value to make the business attractive to shareholders, mergers and acquisitions,
- Make productivity and efficiency gains to increase profitability,
- Compete successfully to increase market share and extend product lifecycles,
- Improve customer empathy, advocacy, and retention,
- Respond quickly by developing the internal capability in both human and technology resources to change direction and do things differently.
To out-compete their competitors and not fall prey to industry disruptors, ultimately to develop customer empathy and create changes to improve the quality of people’s lives in ways that they value and cherish.
How else can innovation save the business world?
At ImagineNation™ we believe passionately that innovation is a visionary strategic lever for change, business transformation, management, profitability, and overall sustainability. It is also a systemic lever that engages, empowers and enables people to affect business breakthroughs and deliver profound culture, system, process, product, and people changes.
The result is increased customer empathy and organisational engagement, reach, competitiveness, faster business growth, and increased business value to enable businesses to flow and flourish through disruption.
Here are the top 8 reasons outlining the importance of innovation to business today
1. The word is full of problems that are hard to solve and aren’t going away
Albert Einstein famously said that “we cannot solve the problem with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
So simple conventional linear planning & problem-solving processes using the same thinking that created some of these undesirable problems in the first place aren’t not going to result in the visionary, creative ideas & innovative solutions required to solve them.
We have to be, think and do things differently!
The first thing about understanding the importance of innovation is that it is, in essence about creating changes that add value. It involves seeing (connection), sensing (exploration) and perceiving (discovery) opportunities and solving (design) problems in creative ways that add value (delivery) to the quality of people’s lives!
It requires developing a sense of possibility, necessity and wonder, wrapped up in a clear passionate purpose for solving customer, business and wicked problems.
To deliver a triple bottom line (people, profit, planet) in ways that meaningfully improve the way we live.
2. Adapting to VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) times
We are living in business and personal worlds that are fast becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, complete with a broad range of random and unpredictable events, that we can no longer anticipate or control.
These are being fueled by technology, social and demographic changes as well as a vast range of business, lifestyle and consumer choices. Whilst at the same time, businesses are still expected to grow, increase their shareholder value, become globally competitive and improve efficiencies and productivity.
Black Swans are random and unpredictable events that cannot be anticipated and require us to find new ways of responding and adapting to them, and their impact, when they happen.
The next thing about understanding the importance of innovation is that it requires agility to drive it. This is the ability to be quick and graceful, both mentally and physically, which gives people and organisations the ability to make intentional shifts in changing contexts. It requires an ability to be present to, see and respond to complex adaptive systems, and to flow with the unexpected and the unplanned (complexity and chaos).
A skill-set that shifts a way of being, thinking and doing to provocate and disrupt the status quo, and emerge possibilities and opportunities.
By generating discovery, making intelligent decisions and taking intelligent actions to see and solve problems and generatively:
- Work with thick (soft cultural) and hard (big) data, to get out of the office, to develop customer empathy, to see and sense the patterns and trends that are emerging and make the vital connections between them.
- Build the capacity, confidence, and competence in adapting and being, thinking and doing things differently.
- Know how to think analytically, laterally, critically and creatively to see opportunities and solve problems.
- Respond to Black Swan Events and external crises in different ways – to transform them into creative ideas and innovative solutions that people value & cherish.
3. Taking advantage of the global entrepreneurship movement
Entrepreneurship is becoming a global movement and entrepreneurship is growing especially in emerging markets, where China and India are leading the pack and Africa are the next hot spots. There are three particularly “Hot” sectors that include people who really want to ‘both’ take self-responsibility for their futures, by contributing towards making the world a better and more sustainable place ‘and’ make a difference via the social, women and youth sectors.
This movement is being powered by governments realizing that entrepreneurship is a vehicle of economic success and prosperity. Also by organisations realizing that they can harness the collective genius of their people through developing customer empathy, and by building an entrepreneurship capability and, finally by the rise of new impact investors.
Innovation is an enabler of entrepreneurship as well as a way of empowering and enabling people to take control of their lives and manifest their own destiny and economic prosperity.
The next thing about understanding the importance of innovation is that it is an enabler and driver of entrepreneurship, with many entrepreneurs aleady solving wicked, civic and business problems. That may be perceived as too volatile and complex for governments to address, or for big business to move quickly enough to invent solutions.
It is a way of empowering and enabling people to take control of their lives, build ecosystems and socially responsible collectives. To manifest their own destiny and deliver economic prosperity and sustainability.
4. Competing via blue ocean possibilities with lean and agile start-up methodologies
In their book Blue Ocean Strategy research proves that there are no permanently excellent companies and that organizations, like people, all do smart and less smart things. They suggest that what matters is making smart strategic moves and that the strategic move that matters centrally is to create ‘blue oceans’ of disruptive, new and uncontested markets.
The emerging business paradigm is shifting towards discovering blue oceans that incorporate lean and agile start-up methodologies as a way of innovating businesses to create increased value for customers that they value and cherish.
The next thing about understanding the importance of innovation is that the emerging business paradigm is shifting. Towards discovering blue oceans that incorporate lean and agile start-up methodologies as a way of innovating businesses through improving customer empathy to create increased value for customers that they value and cherish.
As a way of leveraging talent to succeed:
- Where people embody a sense of possibility, necessity and wonder to make “leap of faith” decisions, experiment, test, iterate and pivot minimal viable products.
- Where people learn by doing and failing to validate products and services, embrace continuous learning as a way of life,
- Where people pay deep attention to change and cultivate customer empathy, have the flexibility and agility to change course, midway, if necessary.
5. Flowing with advances in technology
The advance of digitization enabled largely by the internet of things has created the connection and sharing of data between digital devices, ranging from household devices and heating systems to automobiles, and even jet engines. This connectivity and the resulting aggregation of data is creating entirely new business models and revenue streams, both for startups and established companies that leverage existing assets in exciting, profitable new ways. It also is changing the basis of competition as companies can now compete as part of ecosystems.
The increasing availability and accessibility to free and low-cost online education are encouraging and enabling almost anybody with a desire for learning and a hunger for knowledge to become subject matter experts in their fields.
Innovative entrepreneurs and lean start-ups are proliferating via the internet of things, always-connected mobile devices, cloud computing and via social media. Especially by the development of software applications aimed at improving the quality of people’s minds and lives everywhere.
The next thing about understanding innovation is the importance of making people matter we move further into the Digital Age. It appears that there is a greater disparity between an organisation’s members and the organisation perceived as an independent entity.
People (talent and customers) now want more of a voice in how they are treated and how they are incorporated into the organization as a whole.
This makes both management and leadership less of an “inside out” process, pushing products and services out to customers, and more of an “outside-in” process, of pulling people and customer’s needs, wants and desires into the organization.
Requiring the development of a new set of capabilities, that embraces customer empathy, deep and dynamic learning, collaboration, and co-creation, adaptive change. As well as the development of software applications aimed at improving the quality of people’s lives everywhere.
6. Adapting to changing workplace dynamics and trends
As more baby boomers retire and conventional succession planning processes become obsolete, the ageing demographic globally is the new tidal wave incurring financial demands on already exhausted financial systems.
Millennials are also swapping jobs at increasing rates as they seek more meaningful work, autonomy, and equality.
Hiring processes are shifting as more recruiters rely on internet-based social processes where ‘reputation’ is fast becoming more important to professionals and companies alike. Freelancing and contracting are becoming a way of life, meaning that more people are working from home, taking responsibility for generating their own income and wealth. They are also operating more from co-working and collaborative work environments. This means they are networking and teaming to share and gain knowledge, skills, and experience.
These factors are forcing organisations to explore innovative strategies for enhancing staff engagement, empowerment and enablement as well as with the acquisition and retention of the best talent.
The next thing about understanding the importance of innovation is that these factors are forcing organisations to explore creative ideas and innovative strategies for improving staff engagement, productivity, acquisition & retention.
By focusing on developing a more positive organisational climate & cultivating an innovation culture where people matter and their full potential is harvested, alongside and in harmony with technological changes, to deliver a great customer experience.
7. Responding to increasing customer expectations, choices and concept of value
There are significant changes required as to how we perceive and sense customer’s needs, wants and expectations as they too adapt to, are empowered by the increasing speed and proliferation of choices available in our increasingly connected and digitized world.
Their focus is on receiving the value that demonstrates that companies understand and develop customer empathy to support their lifestyle choices
Noting that customers have never had more control over who they are, what they do, and importantly, what, how and where they buy! Increasing consumer expectations and choices are impacting organisations to become increasingly customer-centric through innovative change.
By using human-centered design to improve the user’s (our) experience provides increased value and new ways to create and invent products and services as well as to execute plans in ways that people value and cherish.
The next thing about understanding the importance of innovation is to develop a customer-centric approach. By applying human-centered design to develop the customer empathy required to improve the user’s (our) experience. To provide increased value and to execute it in ways that people value and cherish so that they become loyal advocates for products and services.
8. Maximizing globalization connectivity
The current wave of globalization has been driven by policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. As a result of many governments adopting free-market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating new opportunities for international trade and investment. Whilst reducing barriers to global trade and negotiating new international agreements to promote trade, in goods and services as well as in investments, despite the current political trade wars that are emerging.
This trend allows for true connectivity and collaboration to occur. It encourages anyone, anyplace at any time to develop an internet-based business that leverages and builds scale via the application of lean methodologies. Coupled with the speed and pace of technological change, increasing availability of private funding and easing of government infrastructures and compliance factors make it easier for people to initiate low cost, internet-based global businesses.
The next thing about understanding the importance of innovation is for leaders and their organisations to develop and integrate innovation agility – confidence, capacity, and competence for new ways of seeing and acting in the world.
By developing the leadership capabilities involved in:
- Foresight, that allows them to anticipate and risk mitigate against emerging and likely future trends.
- Focus on developing change, digital execution, and risk mastery that results in the ability to respond creatively to macro and micro-changes with speed, agility, curiosity, courage, and compassion, in ways that add value to the quality of people’s lives that they appreciate and cherish.
The importance of innovation in the imagination age
Being passionate and having a sense of urgency and necessity toward making innovation a visionary and strategic and a systemic lever – to effect business breakthroughs, changes, competitiveness, growth, and value enables organisations to prosper and flourish in the age of disruption.
These organisations will use innovation as a disruptive change mechanism, and as a leadership competency to outperform their competitors and create new markets by creating improved customers’ experiences.
By creating products and services that people value and cherish, by effectively using technology, by spanning generational and maximizing demographic diversity and by creating collaborative, creative and courageous work environments.
This is the new age of innovative entrepreneurs who envision and co-create new, audacious and abundant blue oceans.
Who know how to be different, think and act differently to make the difference they want to make in the world in ways that people value and cherish.
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At ImagineNation™ we provide innovation coaching, education and culture consulting to help businesses achieve their innovation goals. Because we have done most of the learning and actioning of new hybrid mindsets, behaviours and skill-sets already, we can help your businesses also do this by opening people up to their innovation potential.
Contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can partner with you to learn, adapt and grow your business in the digital age.