• Sandra Norval

Innovation – the way forward for change in business

Ideas in all directions!

In our blog post ‘Our climate emergency is a huge opportunity, here’s why.’ we talked about the recent focus in the media on the global challenges we’re facing. It’s an unprecedented time of change and every business around the world will be affected, along with every community and ecosystem. The shocking headlines talk about extinction, rebellion, climate disaster, emergency and severe impacts around the world.

It could be easy to feel overwhelmed with it all, after all the complexity of the various systems that need to change at a global scale if the shorter term date to reduce carbon emissions is to be met.

It’s a frightening prospect to manage that level of change, at that pace and to begin to adapt, whether as a response to impacts or as a preventative measure, represents a major undertaking for even the smallest business.

But actually that presents significant opportunities to innovate. In the end we are all going to have to make changes, it’s far better to make them now and develop ideas within your business and within your network to provide goods and services that your customers will need. The rate of change and adoption in technology continues to accelerate and innovation is about adopting new ideas, not necessarily inventing something completely new. It’s about finding novel approaches to provide solutions to the things we need to do, some of those are going to be remedial work to mitigate impacts but some will be about building new ways of working, or new ways of functioning as a society.

As technologies have emerged they have often been labelled as distinct and separate things creating a false dialogue around them. For example if a business spends time looking at ‘how can we apply blockchain in our organisation’ their view is immediately narrowed. If they instead look at ‘how can we manage our supply chain for greater transparency’ they might identify blockchain as part of the solution, along with scanning technology, or tracking devices for example. The answers aren’t necessarily in the technology solutions directly, it’s often in connecting the dots, developing structure and drawing links between them to create workable solutions designed for the users.

The government has created strategies to support the commitments they’ve already made in improving emissions, for example, the Clean Growth Strategy, and various key organisations have support and funding available to support development of innovative projects, Innovate UK is a great example. But even when you have identified an opportunity there, you then have to put in the work to develop relationships, build your ideas, support your team and work through the details of how your business can benefit.

Just having an idea is not innovation.

Nor is spotting the latest gadget that you want to work with.

True innovation is about finding genuine solutions to the problems that need to be solved.

A non-melting chocolate teapot is only an innovation if there’s a need for it to be made from chocolate in the first place.

And sometimes an innovation struggles to gain support because it’s serving a different customer to the one you first imagined. Sounds daft? Think about it this way. If the person you want to invest doesn’t actually gain from its implementation your gadget is not going to be of interest to them. It is business after all. They want to see a return on their investment.

Effective innovation identifies who the target market is for selling the idea as well as for delivering on the problem it solves. And trust us when we say, they may not be the same people.

Start thinking about how your business can adapt to enable your team to innovate effectively. Consider who you could collaborate with to expand your possibilities and who you could support in their personal development to build your internal capacity.

None of these things are beyond normal business activities. An innovative business creates opportunities for growth so why not seek ideas to make those opportunities for clean growth since you’re doing it anyway? That way everyone benefits and we are all working to deliver the changes we need.

Think about where you are developing innovation. Is it effective?

Whatever your answer, give us a call to start working on your strategy to build your innovation capability.

For an informal discussion call 07985 610626, or email sandra.norval@bluedotaug.com today.

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