Large enterprises are struggling to respond quickly to changing customer expectations, emerging competitors and new technologies. While many have innovation labs, most are plagued by antiquated technologies, fragmented systems and inefficient processes. Looking forward, the impact of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and Blockchain will be significant in creating new opportunities for the pioneers, while destroying market value of the laggards.
Large companies are rapidly embarking on digital transformation. Yet up to 84% of digital transformation initiatives fail, with a loss of billions of dollars annually in the US alone. You want a strategy to help you keep your advantage. But a strategy alone won’t get you there. Strategies go out of date. Misaligned expectations, and rapidly changing customer and business needs date strategies before they are minted. Even companies who have the right strategy fail because of lack of cultural and organizational readiness to act. Ultimately, it’s not the technology that matters but the ability of that business to adapt to disruptive change.
Disruptors boldly capitalize on change because they don’t think like everyone else.
A culture of innovation fueled by curiosity, creative thinking and courage is the recipe for success. If you get that right, then it doesn’t matter which technology emerges next, you will figure out how to win. If you don’t have a culture of innovation, here are 3 things you must change:
Create a living strategy that keeps you on the right track. Define objectives at the beginning but don’t be afraid to change them. Establish vision and strategy as a draft blueprint designed for testing hypotheses. Ensure that the strategy is not a static document, but stays relevant and responsive. Large companies come with a more complex environment with lots of competing priorities and dependencies. Spot out the risks up front so you can build in the mitigation strategy proactively.
Activate bold ideas with an innovation accelerator. Build an ecosystem for open innovation with partners and customers. Express discrete, testable hypotheses as prototypes, demos, proof-of-concepts ready for testing. Let results inform overall strategy. Start with a series of hypotheses around the right solution or product. Think of the MVP and how it could deliver immediate value for the user and the company. Large companies come with a history of best practices and user feedback, which makes the hypothesizing less daunting.
Catalyze a culture of innovation at speed. Establish norms and protocols to promote openness and transparency. Establish collaborative, pod-driven teams led by change agents and built for creative ideation and diverse thinking. While failure and risk-taking are often fully embraced at startups with the intent of learning and continuous improvement, note that failure at a large company can be a problem and perhaps career limiting, especially if it effects real customers. Surface these failures fast and pivot so that the overall initiative has a higher likelihood for success.