The best ideas often appear out of nowhere – a sudden strike of inspiration. A ‘Eureka!’ moment. And one of the biggest challenges for businesses working to make innovation part of their day-to-day activity is to help increase the frequency of these moments.
But what about ensuring innovation can survive and thrive for years to come, not just the short term? Encouraging staff to experiment and innovate may be a crucial first step, but for momentum behind your digital transformation, there must be commitment at the top levels. And its absence is just one of many challenges that can hinder progress.
Decisions by senior management are driven by priorities, necessities, and emergencies. Each P&L owner will want to know how an innovation program could help them to achieve their own – and their department’s – goals. What can they, and their people, get out of this change?
It’s possible to paint a vivid and compelling picture of digital transformation’s impact, provided it’s clearly tied to meeting a specific business need. Then, with management on board, creating structured processes for innovation can help to bolster it within each department. And implementing performance KPIs, based around innovation, can drive progress.
But in my experience, program longevity and buy-in aren’t the only obstacles in the road.
Fear: Failure is a part of innovation, and one which can’t be avoided. But persuading people to see failure as an opportunity to learn will never be easy – and adapting a business’s culture doesn’t happen overnight.
Speed: Staying ahead of the competition means any progress needs to be fast, but iterative development takes time. Legacy technologies can hold innovation back, and knowing which newer technologies support innovation at speed can unlock success.
Focus: Which ideas should be implemented first? Which are long-term and strategic vs short-term and tactical? How should innovations be prioritized? Clear leadership and decision-making should hone focus and drive progress – not hinder it.