Data is changing business models at a pace never seen before, even in traditional industries such as automobiles, oil and gas, finance, and healthcare. The better a company can analyze its data and integrate it into processes, the faster, more accurate, and more agile its response to market disruptions.
6. Always be customer-centric
A business might start on founders’ or investors’ money but it’s always the customers’ money that keeps it going. It is vital not to lose sight of this fact. If a disruption benefits customers, the business is duty bound to embrace it wholeheartedly.
Technological innovations and disruptions invariably enables service providers, manufacturers, or retailers to connect better with their target markets. They offer limitless opportunity to businesses to gain deeper insights on consumer behavior and address their pain points. How the business uses these insights to minimize friction along the customer journey and improve their experience will influence its success.
Which is why Professor Sandra Vandermerwe opened her book Breaking Through: Implementing Disruptive Customer Centricity with this line: “Customer centric enterprises consistently outpace those who are not, in good times and in bad. And invariably they are disruptive.”
7. Go all out with radical innovation
The pace of technological innovation is accelerating exponentially. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is no longer a truism. “Good enough” falls short of enough by a wide margin. Companies that aren’t trying to make their best and most profitable product innovations obsolete are under threat from digital-native thinkers who will do it anyway.
Yes, many organizations truly focus on technological innovation as a process. They have “champions” and “evangelists” who lead from the top. Yet, they’re mostly concerned with creating new and better versions of their existing products. Making horses go faster, if you will.
The need of the hour is not incremental innovation; it is radical innovation. Companies shouldn’t take a product and ask how it can be improved. Rather, they should take a problem and ask how it can be solved. And then have a process to deliberate any number of far out, crazy ideas that have the potential to disrupt the industry and reinvent the business.
8. Build a disruption department
By their very nature, both processes and people are designed to resist change. Disruption, then, is a huge ask of an established business. The bigger the business, the more difficult it is to make radical innovation a way of life or a part of the culture. The only solution is to decouple radical innovation from the core business, core operations, the core teams, and the organizational structure.
- Recruit employees who can think strategically, synthesize new information, intuitively understand hardware and software, don’t balk from coding, and are passionate about improving customer experience.
- Form a team whose sole mission is to reinvent. Products, processes, anything. Give them the authority to create whole new business models, small or big.
- Isolate them from everyday operations and strategy.
- Provide resources and support to build a separate enterprise or brand in itself.
Radical innovation involves reliable, adaptive, and talented individuals with knowledge of not just IT, but also marketing, finance, HR and just about everything, albeit with a digital tilt. It isn’t easy to build such a team but making the right people coming together can help cultivate ideas into invaluable, innovative, industry-disrupting new realities.
Any company attempting to build a star-studded A-team for innovation also needs to guard against exclusivity or elitism in the organizational structure. Nobody gets there until everybody gets there. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has identified six key aptitudes that every company absolutely needs to reskill their employees with to build an effective digital workforce.