There's no doubt that digital disruption has brought about a great deal of change in industries, markets, and businesses. It has even restructured our social fabric.
Ziaan Hattingh, MD of IndigoCube
But this sea change is increasingly focusing the spotlight on the fact that it is innovation, not digitalisation for its own sake, that is the greatest challenge we face in our business lives. And innovation means we must empower our businesses, our people, to deal with change, to be able to manage change, so that we can deal with the challenges we face today and those new ones we will face tomorrow.
In the old days change was something that often happened in traumatic spurts, we dealt with it, then we moved on and forgot about it for a while. But periodic interventions like that no longer cut the mustard. Digitalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have changed that because the pace at which change occurs is now so rapid that it is almost constant.
People are applying technology to their businesses in unique and creative ways and that’s leading to the enormous change our societies are experiencing. So the question is no longer about how businesses will adopt digital technologies. That discussion is far too narrow. It’s about how they deal with the continuous change wrought by technology.
Google “innovation ING” and you’ll find videos describing how a bank has become a product innovator, using an aggressive new approach it calls PACE, empowered by various digital technologies. It stems from the intersection of Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile Scrum.
Building that type of innovation capability out across the organisation means developing existing capabilities and only supporting them with necessary technologies. For product management, you’ll want to look into achieving lean design, startup thinking, growth hacking, or co-creation, for example. Product experimentation could be crucial to your industry and markets – or not. Everything must be contextualised.
Are your Agile ways of work responsive? Do you have responsive DevOps capabilities in place to roll out and manage your software rapidly? Do you have the right security approach that allows you to be frictionless and manage the customer experience without taking risks while simultaneously maintaining good governance?
You may also want to know if you have future-proofed your business processes. You can’t create these disciplines in your organisation then forget about them and think you’ve ticked the innovation box.
Innovation management is neither a business division nor a human resource, neither a project nor an isolated programme. It is the culmination of these many portfolios of advancements throughout the business, which may extend to customers, partners, and suppliers.
That’s what makes it continuous. Those elements, those portfolios, are in a constant state of change. Managing the continuous change, continuous innovation becomes the strategic imperative that defines the success of a business and its employees in staying relevant to customers constantly exposed to a universe of progressive ideas.
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