Innovation used to be a fringe, bleeding edge, super secret activity practised by a few pioneers. That narrow band of people pushing the boundaries isn’t going to change, and the mystery surrounding that will continue to be alluring.
There will always be some among us that throw themselves at new ideas and scoff at words like impossible. But as business and technology speed up and capitalism continually pushes all of us to produce better, faster, and stronger, innovation has spread into more places in response. Today, you can find innovation just about anywhere you look.
One of the biggest reasons you need to take innovation seriously and embrace it in your organisation is market pressure. Your competitors are using innovation to maximise the value of their technology, run more efficiently, and stay profitable. Embracing innovation is the best way for you to respond.
If not, expect to be disrupted. Just ask Blockbuster, or the nearest internal combustion engine. That stark truth is not new, and while it might be the biggest reason to embrace innovation, I don’t think it’s the best reason. Fear can be a profound motivator, but it’s not a healthy driver.
A better view would be to look at the needs of your organisation and think about a future in which they’ve been solved. Find ways to use your strengths to drive growth or improvement in key areas. Where are your challenges today? People, process, technology? How soon can you imagine solutions and test their impact? If they help you grow or improve, they likely help keep you from being disrupted as well.
Keeping an eye on your competitors and responding to changes in the market are both good and needful things. It would be naïve to suggest ignoring them, but rarely is a direct response needed. Some spaces like automotives behave differently, where feature parity with a competitor is required.
Regardless of the why that drives you, your focus to effectively bring or build innovation in your organisation has to be internal. What skill sets do you have? Are there cross-functional teams? Do they have any sort of repeatable process that yields results? While some innovations happen in flashes of genius, it is far more common (and realistic, predictable, and sustainable) to realise innovation through purposeful, focused intent and disciplined work. Finding ways to inject activities that surface opportunities and working to improve how you deliver on those opportunities is how it starts. In a few years, you should be looking out over a culture of innovation that you can expect to sustain your business in the years ahead.
Innovation brings change, and change is hard. But when you accept that change is inevitable, and that innovation is one of the most effective ways to steer the future, things become a lot less scary and a lot more empowering.
We use innovation to empower teams and projects to make the most of any opportunity they uncover. Whether you’re starting small or need to pivot something big, we can help you take the next step and build a roadmap for your future. Learn more at devfacto.com/innovation or get in touch!
About the author
Taylor Reeseis our Principal Innovator based in Edmonton, Alberta. His background is in design and facilitation, but he also loves drawing, cycling, and craft beer. He believes the things we build must improve the lives of those who use them. You can follow some of his adventures on LinkedIn or instagram – @sketchnote.love.
About the artist
Jesse Naguibis an illustrator currently earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts at NSCAD University. They specialize in narrative illustration and sequential media. Jesse can be found on various social media sites such asInstagram,Youtube, andPatreon.
For this piece, they write "'We use innovation to empower teams and projects to make the most of any opportunity they uncover.' This line really inspired this illustration. When many people put their ideas and energy together, innovation becomes so much easier! Teamwork is an essential part of turning ideas into reality."