Innovation is key to long-term success: Are you doing it right?

 

While many people see innovation as a relatively new concept, the truth is that it has been around for a long time in one form or another. It is the fuel that drives companies to find new solutions and bring new products into the market. As globalisation and digital enablement makes business competition increasingly fierce, innovation has become more important for long-term success than ever before – and not just in terms of product offerings. A truly innovative organisation is one that implements innovation in every aspect of its operations.

Needless to say, being able to grow and evolve to this extent requires the right tools to govern it, and systems such as workflow automation are vital to the innovation process. So is your company innovating in the right way?

Over 90 per cent of executives said innovation was essential for the success of business strategies.

Innovation is a vital business priority

According to 2013 research by global professional services company Accenture, 70 per cent of the executives surveyed claimed that innovation was one of the top concerns for their organisation, and over 90 per cent said that it was vital for the long term success of business strategies. This is likely to be because, while a particular strategy may be effective right now, future market conditions may render it obsolete if companies are not willing to adapt accordingly. Businesses must be prepared to be flexible and evolve with the changing technologies and consumer demands in order to stay competitive.

That’s why MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence Director Thomas Malone argues that in the contemporary business world, innovation is even more critical to good performance and success than traditional concepts such as productivity.

“In our fast-changing world where innovation and adaptation are more and more the critical success factors, another increasingly important measure of the effectiveness of an organisation is not just how productive it is but how intelligent it is,” he said.

Consequently, businesses need to not only be innovative, but do it cleverly.

Businesses need the right efficiency software to be innovative.

It must be targeted to be effective

Smart innovation is about developing new approaches and solutions according to organisational needs and customer demands, as opposed to changing haphazardly. In other words, businesses should tailor their innovations to be truly effective. When adopting cloud productivity software, for instance, they should look for a provider that can customise the solution to meet their individual requirements instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

In an interview with Business News Daily, Insurance and Financial Services Consultant Maria Ferrante-Schepis and innovation company CEO Michael Maddock compare poor, aimless innovation to trying to read a label from inside a jar. Businesses must step outside of their comfortable strategies to be able to evolve.

“You can’t innovate from inside the jar, and if you aren’t innovating, you’re just waiting for the expiration date on your business,” said Ms Ferrante-Schepis.

The two experts highlight several strategies for targeting innovations, including communicating with customers to understand what they want, being open to unconventional approaches and spending time analysing the market.

Risk-averse companies are less effective innovators in general.

Risk is a necessary byproduct

An important thing to remember is that, by nature, innovation involves a certain level of risk. Companies that try a cutting-edge approach cannot be certain that it will pan out. It’s a matter of taking a calculated risk, and being willing to accept a potential failure for the chance to succeed in a big way. As Accenture’s Managing Director of Innovation and Product Development Wouter Koetzier points out, accepting risk is a vital step for effective innovation.

“Many companies take a low-risk approach to innovation that can jeopardise results because they lack a prudent, disciplined approach for innovation risk management. It’s a situation compounded for many by an inability to rapidly scale inventions,” he said  “However, the research suggests that those companies that have a formal, end-to-end management system to nurture, scale and launch innovations tend to be more satisfied with their results as they achieve stronger outcomes.”

Innovation requires a system to manage it

Regardless of how cutting-edge an organisation might be, it needs a functional system to govern it’s operations for it to accomplish truly impactful innovation.

“The bottom line is that innovation can work better when a formal system exists to streamline processes, manage risks and mine the data needed to generate new products, services and business models to foster growth,” said Managing Director of the Accenture Innovation and Product Development, Adi Alon. “Approached correctly, innovation can be executed at scale, with speed and balance between renovation and game changing initiatives; driving higher strategic and commercial value.”

Having a specialised, end-to-end recruitment software solution is an important step for managing and promoting innovation in a business. It allows the company to increase the efficiency of it’s day-to-day activities, while focusing on improving its processes and finding ground-breaking ways to boost its competitiveness. A system of this kind helps to propel an organisation into the digital era, and gives it the freedom to deliver an innovative experience to it’s customers and employees alike.

For more information on how efficiency software can improve innovation and future-proof your business, talk to the experts at FastTrack.

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