Looking back at the past three – four – five years it is impossible not to give credits to startups for their impact in shaping the current market. There are lots of well-known examples of small companies that got the earth shaking under big players across industries by playing sharing economy-based strategies (Uber and AirBnB among others). The by-product of this big bang business disruption – new consumer trends causing shifts in customer behaviour and continuously evolving buyer expectations.
Catering for these changes and meeting new demands is a big challenge for generally slow-moving corporates, who often get left behind on the curve. And many times the issue is not that they don’t invest efforts and resources in innovation. Instead, it comes to lack of alignment between strategy, vision and what is happening outside the corporate boundaries.
How to go about this, you ask? Well, getting busy with innovation is a perfect first step for addressing the issue of retaining and expanding your company’s market position.
Still, for the success of any undertaken innovation activities, it is crucial to follow a structured approach.
To go around this, you first need to realize and acknowledge your organization needs to become more innovative – check! Good!
Step two – define where to innovate – *scratch oneself on the head*
Doing this can be tricky. Finding the sweet spot of innovation that resonates with your organization’s identity, message and vision for the future is actually more work than one might expect. Whether it is one or more focus areas that you are going for, you’ll find your innovation hotspots at the intersection of current/arising trends and your corporate strategy.
In other words, it’s about finding the connection between two worlds – the organization’s and the one that surrounds it.
That calls for a number of activities such as trend-watching and analysis of the organizational situation in the industry specific context. But also for conveying organizational self-reflection, a.k.a. iSWOT analysis, to pin-point strengths and weaknesses that should unarguably be taken into account when looking for new business opportunities. Finally, reflecting on accumulated learnings to make actionable plans for going further with innovation.
Clearly, the above stated is merely an outline of what is the first and defining step in getting on with corporate innovation. And if you can say you’ve checked out step two, too, tighten your seat belt because you’re only getting ready for your journey down the innovation funnel. Stay tuned:-)