There’s no doubt that businesses need to innovate in the current digital era. With the onset of modern technological advancements, we’re experiencing a fourth industrial revolution. Industries are now changing as quickly as technology is facilitating all aspects of society.
Some corporations have not only kept up with industry change, but are now leading the force of digital change. A good example, is Amazon. You may have heard, the corporate giant recently received a patent for its drone delivery system. Remember when mail was sent by a messenger on a horse? Well now, you can expect your packages to be delivered by a robot in the sky. From enabling a more user-centric service to automating their workforce, the company has introduced major changes that are disrupting the market.
While digital disruptors are pushing the possibilities of business further, innovation starts from within, with the people. The reason Amazon is so successful in growing their enterprise is because the company established a vision and culture of encouraging innovation from the start. For many business leaders, this may be an overlooked step that will cost you your innovation strategy. To get started on the right path, you need a macro approach innovation in your business.
Influence change in company culture
Changing your organization’s culture is the first step in driving innovation. Some organizations are easy to shift, if the employees are open to change and are well informed. When the reason and value of the change are shown and known to the employees, they will most often agree and comply.
Yet, even if employees are open to change, the way in which leaders enforce the change and the way processes change, can affect how the employee reacts and how they partake in the overall effort towards innovation. For example, implementing digital tools that are difficult to learn and use can cause employees to work even less efficiently and develop a resistance to any further change.
The most difficult aspect of organizational change is adjusting the mindset of people who prefer to stick with tradition and the status quo. Before carrying out any drastic change or implementation of technology, it is important to focus on how to ease change in, to not only look at the benefit of the business but also the benefit of the employees, which is directly linked to the success of the business. This involves more communication within and between teams, and the employees and managers. More, focused communication leads to better collaboration, alignment on ideas and progress in innovation.
Get to know the customer better
While the people inside of your company are the first to address, your customers are just as important in your path to innovation. Customers have gone digital and with that, their demands have become more diversified and pronounced. Technology has not only given the customer more decision-making power, but has also given your competitors more opportunities to build better products faster, which in turn gives the customers even more buying power.
There are several ways to get to know the customer better. Making sure your organization maintains and optimizes its customer relationship management system. It also is effective to speak with customers directly and learn about their challenges and what solutions they’re looking for. Creating a system to contact customers regularly to know what they need will help you improve their experience.
Customers are now buying experiences rather than products and services. By using design thinking to build the customer experience, businesses can better relate the actual product and service to the customer. The customer journey has also changed. What was previously a clear gain of customer loyalty has now become a constant battle of winning customers over from competitors. Knowing what your customers want and looking ahead to predict what they’ll want in the future will ensure your company innovates in the right direction.
Think like a startup
Startups are the original digital disruptors. They are organizations based on an innovative idea that needs to be developed and distributed quickly. Therefore, risk-taking and speed are essential components of innovation. Many organizations can think like a startup to drive their digital transformation and shape their innovation.
A digital transformation is a shift in a company’s processes and services to better accommodate the customer’s demands. With a digital transformation, companies can work more efficiently and take advantage of market opportunities more effectively. While this is the path every organization needs to take, they are often hindered by the scale of the transformation or by the inability to gauge what the company needs in order to transform.
Finding the right digital transformation requires looking at the multiple aspects of your business. Any aspect that needs improvement, efficiency or needs to be adapted to the market better should be subject to reconsideration and addressed by forming new ideas.
Taking small steps but moving quickly, is the essence of startups that will innovate your enterprise.
Support creativity and healthy risk-taking
Innovation starts with creativity. Under the same realm, experimentation is also necessary. Employees should be in an environment in which they can think openly and develop new ideas, but the fear of risk is a challenge for many organizations to overcome. Business leaders can establish a supportive environment by showing the employees the value of new ideas, encouraging them to think of new ideas, and rewarding the behavior.
With new ideas, realizing them involves experimentation to see if they work in the organization. Of course, some ideas may prove to be ineffective. But, creating even a few solutions that transform the business and even disrupt the industry provides value beyond the necessity to stay afloat as a business.
Build and run with it
The best way to push an idea forward is to build it quickly, test it and then prove the value of it. Often new ideas are thought of, discussed and planned, but with IT’s lingering backlog, building the solution is often delayed to the point it is no longer useful. Instead of getting stuck in this situation where innovation is hindered, employees can realize their ideas by building their own proof of concept.
With a no-code platform, employees don’t need a technical background to build a custom application. As more employees--often citizen developers--work on building solutions, more solutions are created. However, it's important to include IT in this process, by building the minimum viable product within their guided environment and then transferring the application to them. With this established, citizen developers can take control over their solution, and build it quickly, easily and without risk. They can deliver it faster and continue testing solutions in a faster cycle. This process directly contributes to the innovation of the company.
Betty Blocks' no-code application development platform provides organizations with the tool to innovate. To experience the value yourself, sign up for a demo. To get a more in-depth view of the path to innovation, join us for the 'innovation street' workshop at Betty Blocks on Stage on April 20th.