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Innovation in a COVID-19 world. Four ways to (actual) growth.

April 14, 2021

Tom Puthiyamadam
Digital Products & Consumer Markets Advisory Leader, PwC US

Ditch your comfort zone. Easier said than done, but in the business world it often leads to growth, better flexibility, and increased success.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adopt, reinvent, and innovate on the fly. To thrive, businesses need to creatively adapt and pivot to evolving consumer needs. A few examples: a selection of big-name grocers became dark fulfillment centers, catering exclusively to pick-up orders during lockdown. In Northern California, autonomous vehicles made food-bank deliveries. And one airline recently ordered electric air taxis to help urban-area customers get to the airport.

But, while consumers are hungry for change, 56%1 of companies say they can’t identify new revenue opportunities. The light at the end of that tunnel? Innovation.

To innovate quickly and create new revenue streams through products and services, follow these four steps.

  1. Really determine the need, don’t fake it — then deliver it
    Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen says 95% of product ideas fail. To join that winning 5%, you’ll need to determine what your customers really need. What is the pain point you’re solving for?
  2. Get everyone involved (or close)
    84%2 of companies that get payback on all their digital investments mandate collaboration and cross-functional work. And don’t approach buy-in as if you’re selling something. Think of your new process, service, or product as an ever-evolving draft.
  3. Make it real with collaboration and tech
    You need the right digital tools to work seamlessly on launching the idea. including a clear project management workspace that breaks to-dos into digestible sprints. The art and science to launching products and services changed, too. Now you have to think faster and roll out to a larger audience.
  4. Don’t look back, you’re not going that way
    Problems aren’t static. Neither are their solutions. It’s important to change as your customer’s needs do — without an overhaul.

For more on innovating fast, see the full article on Information Week.

1PwC Pulse survey, June 15, 2020
2PwC Global Digital IQ 2020