At hgkc, we define innovation as ‘something different that creates value’ and an innovative culture is ‘where new ideas flourish and where employees feel their voices are heard, their impact is felt, and their mark is left.’
(Eat, Sleep, Innovate, How to make Creativity an Everyday Habit inside your Organisation by Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchard & Andy Parker) You can find more information about Eat, Sleep, Innovate and the authors on their website.
Innovation is the process of positive change to the core business that leads to growth. It is about adapting to a new climate, culture and way of working. Its purpose is to reinvigorate your business and create new value by applying change to products, services, policies, and processes. It can be achieved by improving existing methods or by starting from scratch through the development and application of new ideas and processes.
McKinsey released an article stating that there are eight essential attributes to innovation that are present in high performing companies. These are:
Aspire – creating an aspirational vision and strategic plan that is linked to financial targets.
Choose – start experimenting with multiple projects and choose 1 or 2 to invest more money into whilst dropping the rest.
Discover – discover insights that engage your customers by finding a problem to solve, the technology that creates a solution, and the business model that generates money from it.
Evolve – businesses need to evolve and reinvent themselves as technology and markets grow and change.
Accelerate – accelerate the process of innovation to maintain an advantage over competitors whilst avoiding unnecessary risks.
Scale – by calculating the suitable magnitude and reach of an idea, scale your innovations appropriately to be continually successful.
Extend – innovation requires external collaborators. Extend your network and make the most of their knowledge and expertise throughout different stages of the innovation process.
Mobilise – innovation needs to be embedded into the core of the business. Setting targets and defining market spaces for innovation will help to mobilise your organisation and improves focus.
For more information read Mckinsey's full article.
Innovation is important for you to keep up with competitors, technology advancements, and the ever-changing market. It will help you to get ahead of potential disruptions to your business, and can be used by you to drive industry disruption. When innovation transforms an entire industry, the changes impact everyone, customer, suppliers, and manufacturers. Advances in technology and digital transformation such as the invention of the smart phone completely disrupted its industry. The mobile phone became a computer that was small enough to fit into your hand and give you access to the internet and any information you’d need. Another example includes online encyclopaedias, no longer were people having to spend hours manually researching and going to the library to borrow a book to find what they need. Instead, they could just go online. These examples affected their industries on a massive scale and have shaped the world today.
Benefits of innovation include:
Innovation allows businesses to explore new revenue opportunities, the chance to optimise existing channels and ultimately generate higher profits. Innovation can also help you prepare in case of unexpected changes such as a pandemic or political or economic crisis.
hgkc follow McKinsey’s Three Horizons of Growth when it comes to innovation and strategy. The Three Horizon’s help a company to focus on growth and innovation using a framework that categorises your goals in 3 different ‘horizons’. These are:
This includes all activities that are aligned to your current business; your day-to-day processes and immediate revenue making.
Taking what you have and extending it into new areas of revenue driving activity. This includes launching new products and expanding into new markets. There may be a cost, but it should be reliable as you are extending your current business model.
Introduce new elements of business that do not exist today. This includes research projects, pilot programs, or potentially entirely new revenue lines that will require investment.
The Three Horizons creates stepping stones between running your business profitably and growing it for the future. Categorising your innovative activity in this way helps you balance your focus between your current business needs, the future of your business, and the steps you need to take between then and now.
To know more about our expert team have a look at our Who We Are page.
There are many different types of innovation that your business can implement, and it is important you choose the right one that aligns with your business goals.
To learn more information, you can check out our Innovation blogs.
Co-founder and expert consultant at hgkc, Peter Quintana, Emerge Digital's Managing Director Tom Henson and their Head of Technology Christopher Shanks, have combined their expertise on Digital Innovation to help businesses gain some clarity. They created a webinar in which they discuss digital transformation and the implications for businesses embarking on this journey. It’s a wide-ranging conversation with insight embracing the Three Horizons, First Digital’s Innovation Committee, BEANs, (you’ll have to listen to find out what BEANS are) and a practical diagnostic tool to help you get started.
Innovation is important for every business and leaders need to foster innovation in their companies. Business leaders need to think creatively and embrace innovation in their business models by building it into their strategic and operations planning. It is important for companies to undertake research and development activities, investing in resources that will promote innovation.
Business leaders need an understanding of how to go about bringing innovation to life, however, they are not the only ones who are involved in your business. Leaders need to encourage their staff to be creative and share their ideas. Rewarding innovative thinking can inspire and motivate your employees and seeking feedback directly from your customers will help future innovations.
Leaders need to take calculated risks that require their businesses and staff to adapt, change and respond quickly to new opportunities.
Take our North Star Diagnostic and discover where you are now, where you need to go and how ready your business is for your innovation journey.
The idea of change for any business can be daunting, especially when major change is required in times of crisis. Many companies struggle to be innovative, and Acclaim Ideas state that there are 10 key blockers that businesses face when it comes to innovation.
Without a clearly defined set of goals, your business is going to struggle. No one will know what the end target is, and your managers could be aiming for one result whilst your employees are working towards another.
Ensuring that everyone knows the bottom line of the business is vital for effective innovation and setting out SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) will help your company to succeed.
There are many different types of innovation and if your company hasn’t established what’s relevant for them, then it can cause problems within your business.
Whether you want to develop new products or to change the way in which you deliver your services, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page and has a clear idea of what innovation means to your business.
Businesses today are powerhouses of creativity. Instead of relying on everyone in the company, some leaders tend to depend on a few people to be innovative. Your staff need to be encouraged to be innovative. It is important to get your people involved and listen to their thoughts and ideas. Do not be resistant to change and employ people in the business who know how to inspire others to innovate. People need help to tap into their creativity and knowledge and they can learn to hone these skills and build up their confidence. Your team need to understand what innovation means in your business, it is not all about new inventions, innovation is something different that creates value.
If you want to know more about the creative potential of your people – check out hgkc's partner DISCsimple and find out how to tap into your team's potential and create the environment for them to flourish.
Great ideas can come from having your team gathered in a room and bouncing their thoughts off one another and capturing ideas, such as writing them all down on a whiteboard. However, without any structure, these group sessions can become chaotic, everyone is talking over each other, not everyone gets their say, and great ideas can be missed. It is vital for any business’ success to have structure when generating and implementing new ideas. Without it, ideas can take unexpected turns and become something completely different to what was initially intended.
Ensure all members of your team are on the same page and that there is a defined order and structure to meetings and the process. Know where these sessions fit and how they contribute to your innovation plan. Not all ideas arise in the group and meeting space so it's essential to have structure and processes in place to capture individual and distributed teams' contributions.
The entire purpose of innovation is to enable change, to bring about growth in a way that advances the business and ensures that your company reaches its goals. However, people can be averse to change, especially when they are used to the way things are.
Some of your employees and managers may be against changing the way your business works, however, it is essential that you communicate with them that innovation is key to success, the future of the business and that they are encouraged and supported to bring about change.
Sometimes a new venture can be difficult for some management teams to get on board with. New initiatives can cause problems as long-standing senior management may be reluctant to embrace a new way of working and resort to what has worked for them in the past.
To ensure full support from your management teams, work with them, include them in decisions and help them to feel a part of the new initiative. Include them in the development and training programmes and reassure them that your new initiatives will help the success of the business.
Similarly to senior management, some employees may fight against change. If they are asked to take on different responsibilities that were not necessarily in their original job description it can cause problems. Communication is key, listen to the concerns of your staff, support them through the process and encourage them to get involved as your business adapts to new innovations.
When you and your team have come up with something new to help improve your company, it can be hard to prove its worth, to your team, to your suppliers, and most of all to your customers. To ensure that your innovation has value, it needs to be solving a problem, making things easier for your staff or being more user friendly for your clients, all with the aim of business growth and turning a profit. To prove your innovation is valuable it has to be filling a need that makes your business unique and stand out from your competitors.
Samsung uses its customer feedback on new product releases to help them develop methodologies for solving problems and Patagonia has activism at the heart of its clothing business, one of their many campaigns included supporting very young people to be climate activists through films crated for Climate week. Their innovations are generating value and thus serving a need that ultimately helps their businesses grow.
When it comes to who “owns” innovation it can depend on the type of innovation you are pursuing. Product-led businesses tend to have specialists responsible for R & D and close relationships with the Production and Sales functions. There are many ways to organise, and some companies employ innovation managers to oversee the process.
Innovation is strategic, and people champion its cause giving responsibility to everyone in the company. To avoid conflict, the most successful businesses collaborate, and every department needs to work together to launch their new innovations, whether a new product, service or a new business model is being introduced.
Nobody wants to fail. You can feel disheartened and disappointed in yourself if you do. However, the fear of failure should not be enough to stop you from trying. It is worse to do nothing than to not give it your best shot. It is no different when it comes to innovation. Business leaders and their teams need to embrace innovation and attempt to adapt to the new world, otherwise they will get left behind. It is important for leaders to create a ‘safe’ working environment where their employees will feel comfortable to come up with and test out new ideas.
If you implement a change and realise that it doesn’t work or it has ‘failed’ then you can learn from what you have done. Analyse why this change may not have worked and add improvements, further innovate, and make more changes until it does work. Without innovation, there is no chance of success. Failure is not something to be feared, it is an opportunity to learn and grow.
For more information, download Acclaim Idea’s report to see how to overcome the 10 blockers of innovation.
Everyone can innovate and tapping into that skill will give your organisation a better chance of success. It is difficult to foster a culture of innovation and many managers often discourage their teams focusing on current tasks and short-term needs rather than longer term objectives. How work is incentivised is an important driver and encouraging a broader measure will lead to a better uptake of innovation activity.
It is important to encourage every team member to achieve their personal best, to come up with new ideas and innovations for the business. Even the smallest change can generate a large impact over time.
There may be people in your organisation who do not believe that they are innovative. They have put blockers in place to prevent them from thinking innovatively. To encourage innovative behaviour, use BEANs.
Behaviour Enabler, Artefact, and Nudge – putting BEANs together will help your team overcome their blockers and start to behave and think innovatively.
Listen to our Find Your North Star Podcast - Re-framing the Future – Leading a Digital Disruption in the Nations Heating – where Helen Isherwood discusses her company Adey and how they put innovation at the heart of their culture.
It is important that you are protecting your innovations, especially if you are using it in a way to generate profit. You need to protect your intellectual property (IP) associated with your idea or inventions.
Protecting your IP gives you an advantage over your competitors and prevents them from taking your ideas and adapting it for their own uses. Avoid making your IP public knowledge until you have protected it. To do so you must:
In protecting your innovations, you are guaranteeing that your business stays ahead of your competitors and your ideas cannot be used by others. IP protection is essential for any business that is continually innovating and growing. Sometimes it’s trade-off over protection from competition, the likelihood of it happening and affordability (to defend your rights and to register the IP). Being the best kept secret is one of the approaches taken – we think of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the mystery around the famous coating for the chicken or the Coca-Cola recipe. Taking the best path of knowing the level of protection appropriate for your business and to ensure your future.
To see how we have helped clients with their innovation, read our TasteTech case study.
hgkc was born from the realisation that together our combined practical experience and knowledge can offer our clients a broader, deeper and richer experience that will deliver better results faster.