Technology /

Fostering a Culture of Innovation

By Jonathan Bingham | November 17, 2017

It’s no secret that innovation is key to staying successful and competitive no matter what industry you are in.  For every wildly successful business, there’s a company they have disrupted and left in the dust. Look at Blockbuster versus Netflix, taxis versus Ubers and hotels versus Airbnb, just to name a few.

Fostering a culture of innovation is never a quick or easy fix.  It takes time, dedication and buy-in from executives and employees while implementing new technologies to undergo significant digital transformation. 

With any commitment to digital transformation and innovation, there will be costs—particularly when managing existing technology infrastructures.  You may need to jettison some existing technology investments which could be upsetting to customers or employees who don’t embrace change.  However, there are much larger costs associated with not innovating at all.  If you choose to remain stagnant, there’s a very good chance your organization will become the next Blockbuster or Sears.

So, what is the balance between embracing innovation while keeping legacy systems and approaches that are still valuable and integral to your current business?  We recommend you consider the following:

Be strategic with approaching innovation
  • Don’t just innovate for innovation’s sake—invest in new technologies and approaches that move your business forward and attract new customers while retaining existing ones. It may be tempting to invest in the latest and greatest technology but step back and think about what that investment will deliver for you in the short and long-term.
  • While disruptive and transformational initiatives may initially draw more praise and attention than unsexy IT maintenance projects, both are equally important to your business. And don’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.  Legacy habits and systems that are entrenched in your organization might not be completely broken. It might be easier to fix the flawed components within those systems rather than immediately switch to a new approach or architecture.
Be realistic about what it takes to build an innovative culture
  • Change is scary for many of your stakeholders so be aware that you may have to do some hand-holding to get your teams on board with a new approach. At Janeiro Digital, we work frequently with clients that must innovate to adapt quickly to changing market conditions.  When transitioning to a culture of innovation, we’ve helped them overcome these common hurdles:
    • Finding the line between radical change and complete stagnation or fear of change while keeping an eye on their core business
    • Managing “technical debt” —jettisoning legacy technologies and approaches that contribute to skyrocketing costs
    • Helping employees and customers adapt to changing workflows in a happy and productive manner
Take intelligent risks
  • Give yourself and your organization permission to experiment, take risks and potentially fail—but incrementally, not catastrophically. If you start small and establish the right building blocks, positive change will emerge and put you on the right path. 
  • Executives that have successfully created a culture of innovation almost always start small. That may sound counterintuitive but it is vital to innovate with a purpose and remember the business needs that inspired your new problem-solving, creative ideas.
Pick a nimble partner
  • Too many organizations have failed mightily by relying on large traditional management consultants to drive major transformation initiatives for them—only to be left, two or three years later, with depleted budgets and little progress to show for a significant time and monetary commitment.
  • If your organization needs to make major technology changes, we suggest picking a smaller, nimble partner that offers expertise in both digital transformation as well as experience in your vertical market sector. You need a partner that understands your business and can implement the latest and greatest technologies to your best advantage.
  • Take a close look at your partner’s technology offerings. Our XFORM platform reduces technical debt from legacy infrastructure while providing a common framework for future innovation.  It does this by rapidly building out reliable and robust enterprise applications and connecting them with existing systems and data in a standardized and scalable way.  When coupled with our Rapid Alignment, Design, and Development (RADD) methodology, we spark “lightning in a bottle” —the ability to develop intelligent, modern applications quickly and easily at the fraction of the cost of other approaches.

Lastly, have fun with your innovation journey.  Driving big change can be exhilarating while yielding major rewards.  No business today can afford to remain stagnant so remember that an innovative culture is not simply a nice-to-have goal.  It is essential to your long-term viability and success.

Need help aligning your team and building your digital transformation roadmap? Setup a whiteboard session with our team.

 

Jonathan Bingham

CEO

View more by Jonathan Bingham

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