Innovation is a buzzword that's been thrown around since before most of us entered the workforce. But that doesn't mean everyone agrees on its meaning. Our definition of innovation places digital at the heart — new digital products and services that create revenue streams.
At its core, innovation allows businesses to better react to ongoing change and discover new opportunities. It also goes hand in hand with growth: 84% of top-performing companies spend more time innovating. And 76% of them get significant payback from new ways of working.
According to our US CFO Pulse Survey:
The intersection of our creativity and curiosity across business, experience and tech (what we call BXT). Break-the-mold ideas solve pain points and drive significant impact. Simply put, innovation solves problems.
And the pinnacle is life changing, even if the idea is simple. Think AirBnB, Square Payments or even Velcro.
Innovation tends to happen when two contradictory ideas come together. Consider peanut butter and jelly or how a computer and telephone merged into a smartphone.
It’s not iteration, though that’s part of your process. It’s not the image of people at ping-pong tables or in a dark-lit basement coming up with crazy ideas. It’s not the shiniest, grandest technology. It’s something that fundamentally helps change behavior, simplifies interaction or makes lives easier.
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The pandemic rocked the business world — pushing innovation from the back burner to front and center. Companies are moving from just experimenting to scaling new products and services. What’s the benefit? Hang on to loyal customers, attract new ones, open up to new markets and reach consumers in new ways. The gist: Innovation can’t wait.
It doesn’t happen at the top of the company pyramid either. It happens in the hallways and is the result of ongoing curiosity that often seems to ooze from the walls. It’s the ethos that no matter how big a company gets, it still feels like tinkering with big ideas inside a garage.
The result is a culture of constant learning based on the drive to to help people, coupled with a deep-seated desire to solve problems. Leaders should give their people the freedom to experiment and play with ideas — welcoming and celebrating failures as these often give way to successes. Just like bubble wrap, the pacemaker and synthetic dye, which were born from mistakes or missteps.
Innovation should be a guiding principle within every tier of a business — from the new intern to the top of the C-suite. Get it right and you can boost customer and employee experience (CX and EX), enhance value and redefine how people interact with your brand.
Here are some more questions to consider:
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The message is loud and clear — the future is digital.
Capitalizing on innovation can take various forms — from products and services to increased flexibility and ongoing resilience. Some businesses are reframing their models while others are figuring out new ways to deepen the customer relationship.
While each company’s starting point is different, there’s one constant: Every innovation journey should be driven by the desire to solve a problem.
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