Advancements in technology have rendered many a jobs obsolete and companies bankrupt over the past few years. Disruptive innovation is almost impossible to predict in any industry. But, it can shake the very foundations of an industry when it happens. For instance, the advent of digital cameras and Kodak’s inability to make the best of it, cost the company billions in revenues and eventually pushed it into bankruptcy. There are many more examples of organizations who shared the same fate as this more than a century old organization. The fact is that innovation is good. No, it is excellent, marvelous. However, the comfort of the status quo can really ruin the organizations and people. That’s why they should learn to anticipate future. They should learn to differentiate between fads, and challenges. This will help them face the challenges in the long run. However, organizations that survive do more than just anticipate and react to innovation – they catalyze innovation, and become the drivers of disruptive innovation themselves.
Develop a Problem-solving Attitude
The difference between followers and innovators lies in their attitude towards challenges. While followers wait for someone else to jump into the new waters first, innovators find unique ways to solve problems whether financial like revenue management or operational like technology evolution. Organizations, as a whole, should develop a problem-solving attitude. Employees should be encouraged to find unique and creative solutions to problems. More often than not, the real world provides a huge platform for experimentation. Encouraging healthy discussions between employees on how a particular problem can be solved by using an existing technology or by creating the necessary plausible technology, can become the foundation of a highly creative and innovative culture. Organizations with such a culture become a breeding ground for world-changing solutions.
Look for All Sources of Ideas
The way things are done in most companies, they tend to alienate a significant percentage of the population, who can bring innovative solutions to the table. For instance, people readily jump to conclusions about each other and themselves. People, who are perceived by others as creative, also think of themselves to be so. They eventually become more vocal about their ideas, as they are now used to positive reinforcement for expressing their ideas. Similarly, people who do not “qualify” for being called creative by their peers, face less respect for their ideas. This way, the organization distances itself from the specific team member who could actually have some really useful and creative solutions.
This trend can be observed more clearly in organizations with sizeable IT departments. Even though significant business innovations of this century have been technology driven, IT departments hardly ever get to participate or contribute meaningfully during discussions about new challenges and the organizations’ strategy to solve them. Technology has proven time and again that it is capable of solving problems of all magnitudes and across a variety of business functions. Yet, the seat of technology in organizations, the IT department, does not share the same respect as the Finance, R&D departments, or the design departments. This thinking hurts all.
Empower and Reward
The guaranteed way to pursue innovation persistently is by giving it every chance that it deserves. Members of the organization should be given an opportunity to implement their ideas, at least on a prototype level, with the express condition that they implement it responsibly, without disrupting other processes. This way, the employee confidence in their ability to solve problems takes a boost. Also, they will learn how to differentiate between every new idea they get and a really promising one.
Sure, there will always be some compromises. Some ideas may not be entertained because of their cost considerations, or because of the environmental factors. Organizations should develop general guidelines on how new ideas from across the business units can be pursued without endangering the integrity of existing systems. Any success by the employees should be rewarded. Rewards do not always be money. An award, or even a group announcement in the internal company website ad office message board is all it takes to win the hearts.
If organizations wish to not be victims of changing times and tides, and instead wish to endure, then they will have to learn to find ways to solving tomorrow’s problems, one way or the other. Our team at RAY ALLEN is always working to find new solutions and new opportunities to solve the evolving challenges that enterprises and organizations around the globe work with every day. Contact us to learn more with a demo today.