Andrew Vorster is an innovation strategist, also called an innovation catalyst, and used to work for VISA for 10 years. Before that, he was called a “digital prophet” by the guardian media group when he said newspapers were not longer going to be used in the future. Nowadays, he spends his time tracking changes in tips, technologies, innovations and start-up. This TRUSTECH keynote is about igniting innovation, to get people think differently.
What is Innovation?
To be innovative and make innovation in your company, you have to be like a rebel, stop complaining about anything and spreading dissatisfaction. That kind of attitude spreads among the employees and everyone thinks they should do something, but they don’t or can’t. This is how people’s energy is wasted.
There’s a need for people to be innovative, but companies aren’t forced to do something expansive in order to do that. You don’t achieve an innovative company by putting “innovation department” on a door.
Innovation comes when the entire organization is more innovative in everything, every way that they think (involving finance department, legal department, client service, facilities department, etc.). The kind of innovation that you come up with is totally dependent on the kind of ingredients you pick.
How to Bring Innovation into A Company?
Everybody inside the organization should go and find out what everybody else is doing in their industry. They should look for the news, the tips or the start-ups and see how other companies use technologies.
Listening to the clients is also a good thing, because by asking them some key questions, you may obtain key answers for your company. For example, you could ask what they get from your competitor that they don’t get from your own company. By understanding clients and putting yourself in their shoes with feedback sessions, you can get specific information back from them. That’s why any company needs a group of people to identify the signal and the trends.
Everybody has a different view and application on the thing they see or discover. That’s why if 20 or 30 people inside your company talk to you something about something they find innovative, this innovation might be interesting. Signals and trends are what good company leaders try to spot.
It’s important to go and talk to all the different departments, to share the information between everybody and never keep anything to yourself. You must share it with everybody because the more people understand the changes that are going on, the less fearful they’re going to be towards that. This way, you avoid an unnecessary obstacle.
Taking away that fear makes the unknown equal every day. If everybody is talking about it, it becomes more interesting for the next phase, when there’s for example an urgent customer problem needing to be solved or when a challenge across the company has been determined by the CEO. You can benefit a lot if you give to your staff al the ability to submit good ideas.
A Few More Steps to Integrate Technologies and New Processes
Other steps need to happen before innovation start to grow in a company:
- Every idea needs to be cooled down before being put into production. The cooler can be compliance, corporate communication and policy, finance, or IT for example. Without a sanity check to avoid spending money for no reason, nothing could really happen. But this sanity check needs to hit the right level of caution to avoid missing great ideas.
- A testing phase must be done in an innovation lab. This step is important because the earlier you can detect what isn’t going to work, the better.
- You need some proper market testing and validation, not just with friends and family but with a real market test to get accurate feedback. The number one reason for start-up failures is because they didn’t check if there was an actual market need for the thing they were producing.
- You need to think about your business model. Technology isn’t the current biggest innovation of nowadays, but business model innovation is. Uber and Airbnb didn’t invent anything, they just disrupted around the business model.
- Any company should then consider around their ecosystem. Their all new product, offering or service may require them to expand their ecosystem way beyond where they currently or normally find partners. Companies need to think about what a new partner could bring, and which partner they don’t need anymore.
- You also must look at the industrial scale and ask yourself if your project scales to industrial sizes.
If you got all of those steps right, you can prepare your business to new heights and even win some innovation award. Employees want to work in award winning companies because those companies look for the greatest talents. With a high level of innovation, companies can also get the best partners in the ecosystem. Innovation isn’t a one-and-done thing, it constantly needs new ingredients. It’s not only about innovation itself, but about everything new to a company.
Speaker: Andrew VORSTER, Innovation Catalyst