IN BRIEF: Innovation is no longer a specialized activity or effort that exists inside a dedicated organizational silo. Continued advances in interactive technologies and social platforms along with a growing acceptance of crowdsourcing methodologies offers companies, of all types and sizes, opportunities to leverage three valuable, transformational assets: people, their ideas and an accelerated ability (to connect, collect and exchange) information.


KEY INSIGHT: Multiplying opportunities for input delivers more ROI

Embracing an open-innovation model starts by welcoming inclusive participation from all stakeholders. The decision to ask all members of your organization and your customers for their participation is a true game-changer. Why? Asking is a more efficient process to gain access to additional ideas, within a much shorter span of time. Pairing open access with increased speed and agility leads to measureable effects on business outcomes.

Implementing dynamic feedback and insights is no longer a “nice to have it is essential – integrating the voice of your employees and customers is a critical piece in today’s business landscape. A McKinsey survey found that as many as 20% of the companies that opened up their innovation processes to employees and customers reported an average a 20% rise in the number of innovations (McKinsey, 2009). Those are compelling metrics.

Historically, larger organizations gained and remained marketplace leaders – specifically in the innovation space – due to their ability to invest more capital in research and development (R&D) along with other key organizational characteristics such as: size, structure, proven methodologies and mind-sets. Larger organizations once held a “Home Field Advantage” in the marketplace due to their use of standard innovation frameworks: committing resources and maintaining teams of in-house, full-time credentialed product development professionals, and/or by engaging consultants who possessed specialized industry knowledge and expertise. Interestingly, some advantages can also serve to weigh down growth efforts. Traditional innovation models have now proven to be “clunky,” time-consuming and require substantial investment of both labor and capital when competing with more nimble, start-ups.

Fast forward. The Digital Age poses challenges to many traditional frameworks. Larger corporate brands continue to experiment and develop new models and approaches to rapid prototyping. Growth is a business priority for all business owners – not just for executives at large national corporations. Today’s marketplace requires different mind-sets to achieve a growth strategy and create lasting business impacts. Curious? Check out The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators for a deeper dive at specific skills that make entrepreneurial innovators unique.


ACTION ITEM: Start by asking stakeholders, “What would you do if you were me?”

This week pose this single, simple question to your front-line, customer facing employees: “What would you do if you were me?” If you ask, be prepared to listen. It will help you learn where to focus transformational efforts. You will hear stories about what’s working, broken, and what your employees and customers really think regarding where your company should pay attention to build and deliver a culture of innovation.

Why? Front-line team members and internal stakeholders deal, first-hand, one-on-one with your customers. Day in and day out, sales people, techs and customer service team members know where the pain points and those internal gaps exist that need your attention. How? Because they are listening to the unresolved conflicts and tensions in a customer’s experience.

Also, be sure to make it a priority to contact and connect with disgruntled customers. Why? Often these customers are the best source to identify immediate opportunities to resolve issues and problems. Finding solutions to those issues are game-changers. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have given consumers platforms to use their voice – to air their grievances. Start to think of these sites as your innovation incubation laboratories.

Why Transform? We are bottom line oriented. We partner with you and your team to offer customized, collaborative, visionary, solutions that improve the way your business does business. Reach out to us to connect and learn more about how we can collaborate with your organization to develop new, innovative approaches to problems your business needs to to solve.

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