Any business/organisation that wishes to survive and thrive in today’s constantly changing financial
environment must continuously evolve its processes, operations, strategies and product/service offerings.
Fortunately, many business leaders nowadays appreciate and value innovation as an essential element of
business. Because of this, many corporate are in a mood to spend money every year trying to cultivate a culture
Disruptive – Small companies use existing technology to challenge established businesses in the market by
targeting overlooked segments.
Netflix vs. Blockbuster – In 1997, Netflix took on video rental giant Blockbuster by offering mail-order movies
via its website. (The company targeted an audience made up of early adopters of the DVD player, movie renters
who didn’t care about new releases, and online shoppers looking for the convenience of watching videos
without leaving the comfort of their own homes.)
Architectural – Companies disrupt an existing industry with the introduction of new technology and business
iPhone vs. Blackberry – prior to 2007, Blackberry was leading the smart phone market with a profit of
approximately $1.9 billion. (In January 2007, Steve Jobs and Apple released the iPhone with an extensive
marketing campaign that highlighted how Apple’s new smart phone was more advanced than the competition,
as it allowed users to store music, watch You Tube and utilise GPS services all through an aesthetically pleasing
Routine – Companies bring innovations to their existing business models and technologies – usually at regular
Intel Computer Microprocessors – Intel revolutionised the computer industry by launching more powerful
microprocessors through the years. (This allowed the company to maintain high margins and achieve growth
for decades. Other companies that have mastered this kind of innovation include Microsoft, with its multiple
versions of Windows, and Apple, with its ever-evolving iPhone.)
Radical – Companies disrupt existing industries by partnering a traditional business approach with new
Amazon – Amazon’s internet-based approach to selling books provided customers access to more books than
they could find at a traditional bookstore – and from the comfort of their homes or offices. (The new approach
threatened and shut down many traditional booksellers. With less competition, Amazon became one of the
largest online retailers of books and more in the world.)
Innovative companies are always asking how they can do things better. That’s how you get newer and better
technology with every iteration of your smart phone or computer. Businesses that innovate learn new ways to
meet the current and future needs of their customers.
Businesses no longer compete with companies around the corner. Instead, they compete on a global scale.
Companies innovate to improve customer service, lower prices and build things more efficiently to stay
relevant in the global marketplace.
We’re in a Digital Age
Millennials and members of Generation Z spend a majority of their time interacting digitally. Companies
innovate so they can reach younger customers with their marketing and branding efforts. A business without a
mobile responsive website with regular updates will not be top of mind for younger consumers.
Giving Voice to Your Customers
Businesses innovate by listening to their customers – who may provide a different way of looking at your
products or services. Good ideas can come from anywhere. Successful innovators get ideas from both internal
and external sources.
To Become an IT Company
Let’s face it. Successful innovation that disrupts an industry will turn heads – with investors and potential
employees. Innovators challenge traditional work models in order to streamline operations, evolve product lines
and improve business strategies and processes.
ESTABLISHING A CULTURE OF INNOVATION
Innovation is far more common when companies establish a culture where management listens to its employees
and teams are open to change. That’s because innovation can come from anyone in an organisation.
How Companies Support Innovation
The most successful companies support innovation by providing employees with:
Challenging jobs and tasks- Employees are often more creative when their work is strategic or solves a
problem for the company.
Trust and openness- To express contrary or dissenting ideas, which can be a starting point for collaboration and
Autonomy to make decisions- Employees need to have authority on how to solve problems, create new
products and services, and experiment with new ways of doing things, without worrying about failure or job
Opportunities for collaboration- Between people with different areas of expertise and perspectives. People are
more creative when they can discuss their ideas and work together.
Unstructured time- To develop ideas for new products, processes or services. This is hard for companies
because not all innovations are profitable.
Supportive leadership- Creativity can be stifled when supervisors view change as a threat to their authority.
Managers should recognise when an idea has merit.
Successful companies see innovation as an integral part of their corporate culture. Those that see the
importance of innovation will increase profitability and stay relevant in the competitive marketplace.