Don’t just survive — Lead the innovation

The world is changing continuously, but sometimes everybody forget the basic knowledge of this changing. In this way, we daily talk about innovation, digitalization, process and products improvements, most of the times we look far to the horizon, but sometimes we don’t look near us. So the first question is: “what is innovation?”.

After that, in my experience, my major consideration is about the difficulties related to the innovation and the capability to follow the innovation. This because, all the issues related to the humans respond, in some way, to the inertia physics laws. At the beginning of each my activity I repeat to myself one of the first laws of the physic: “an object will stay at rest unless acted on by a net external force”.

So, what is innovation? Is it the new way to think and to produce a new product or service? Is it the minimum effort needed for upgrade your best product, to launch it on the market for the next years? Is it the best way to resolve the internal problems of our companies? Is it a portfolio of procedures that make efficient the company structures? On the market there’re billion of products and services and more are the ways that have brought the companies to them. This is the innovation. And all the steps to improve them and their related processes, this is the innovation, too. So, innovation has a so wide meaning that it is impossible to design its borders, because each company has its innovation ways.

Said that, what your company means with the term: innovation? Is there, in your company, a stable talk table about innovation? Which are the last innovation steps that were introduced in your team, division, company? Is the innovation filled in your team annual evaluation chart? From these answers it is possible to understand the innovation grade of one company and how it is alive on this issue.

The second point is referred to necessity of inputs to change the status of team, division or company. Without external forces, nobody will change it status. It is explained by physics, but it is so easy that nobody doesn’t take care about it. There’re no changes without inputs. This is true for the nature, as for the companies and the teams that are “made by humans”. In this last time, we have taken part of several discussion about how crisis has changed the company, forced them to the needed changes to keep them alive. It is possible to see changes in companies that are very close to the death or it is very easy to report changes in companies that are living a deep crisis. But it is very difficult to see companies that push changes if they are in good health. Even in big companies like Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Tesla it is possible to see how hard is innovating and, sometimes, how hard is to reach results and goals. This because driving innovation (and so changes) it is very expensive, in term of resources and strength, if this capacity isn’t filled in the company DNA. Even the big companies, that are known as innovator or leaders in the innovation, aren’t able to push ahead the innovation competition for a long time. This because, the day by day activities, require most of the resources, so, without external inputs, the main activity of the company is to survive. Like for the humans.

To innovate, it is required:

  1. To expand company horizons: to engage itself with the market needs, experts or key industry players to pick-up opportunities, translate them in economic models, value propositions and, then, in business plans. But, to explore new horizons, it is needed to know own position. Define periodically product and company position on the market, it is a need.
  2. To keep in mind that the contaminations could be the next future ways for the innovations, not only for products, but also for processes and best practises. Since every company is different from others, it is necessary to take inspiration outside the box but, at the end, it is needed crystalize innovation procedures and processes.
  3. To keep out, from the daily fighting, some resources (time of the managers and people) to think to the next future or to the next company steps. These aren’t wasted resources, but necessary R&D investments. For this reason, the teams must be stimulated to think out of the box.
  4. Don’t have a poor execution, to be extremely focused and accurate. Innovation looks to the future, but it is important as day by day activities.
  5. To prefer incremental innovations, both for products and processes. Is the easiest way to implement innovation in a company. In fact, some smaller and faster steps of innovation, are better than only one bigger. In this way it is possible to simplify the implementation and to reach faster the innovation goals.
  6. To consolidate innovation results. Running only ahead is dangerous. In this way it is important to have the right mindset: stabilize, strategize, and transform. To do this it is important find the right leaders that can drive the team, through the activities, to the customers and the market.
  7. “To make it simple, it doesn’t mean to make it easy”. The innovation could be complex. In this way it is necessary to make it simple, just to understand it or to implement it. This it doesn’t mean make it easy because, most of the time, trying to do it, this is the right way to lose steps or information.
  8. To keep close the teams and to deep dive, looking for gaps and misalignments. The innovation is a stream that has a strong impact on all the company value chain. For this reason, could born misalignments or misunderstandings that could block the innovation flows and to close the way to the success. To close, through the leaders, all the company spirits (operational, strategy, technical), could it be the success key.
Saulle Mattei

Author Saulle Mattei

More posts by Saulle Mattei

Leave a Reply