There was a time when companies could rely on their tried-and-tested methods for years, even decades. The mantra was simple: “Stick to what you know” or “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” However, I believe that in today’s ever-changing world, that approach is simply no longer viable. Advancements in technology; the post-COVID ‘new-normal’; the drive to reduce costs and improve efficiencies; and increasingly demanding customers and employees mean companies must change. Standing still is no longer an option.
Obviously a critical and high-profile driver for change is sustainability. The challenges we’re facing can’t be addressed by simply working harder, smarter, or quicker. Instead, we need a fundamental shift in mindset and approach. We need to embrace innovation in its broadest sense.
For those companies that adopt an innovative mindset innovation becomes an enabler for growth
While Research and Development and the start-up community play a crucial role, established companies can’t sit back and wait for others to find all the solutions. We all have a responsibility to contribute through a change in attitudes and by finding ways to change what we do and how we go about it.
In practice, companies of all types and sizes struggle to meet these new demands, and they constantly face seemingly impossible challenges. However, as Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Survival in today’s world demands adaptability and accountability.
Even those businesses that acknowledge the need to change still find it challenging to figure out how to begin, and where to start. There is no magic formula for this – the secret lies in taking a step back, taking a breath, and looking at things from a different perspective.
With countless amazing transformative technologies available the key to making a choice is to stop, listen, and imagine how these impactful technologies, which have been created by someone else, can be used to address the challenges we face. The real beauty is that we don’t actually need to invent anything ourselves. Instead, if we build on the shoulders of giants, we can leverage the investments others have made, and we can avoid the risks, costs, and lengthy development times associated with world firsts.
During my time in financial services, we didn’t invent anything, but we were incredibly innovative. We brought new services and products to the market by forming partnerships and licensing new technologies. This approach is often referred to as horizon scanning – looking out into the distance, shifting our focus away from immediate challenges, and allowing ourselves the freedom to imagine the world that could be. It’s a powerful but simple technique for innovating that can be used by anyone.
For those companies that adopt an innovative mindset and who explore how emerging technologies can solve their problems and exploit opportunities, innovation becomes an enabler for growth, resilience, and a way to stay ahead of the curve.
Innovation is not difficult so there is no reason to shy away from the potential it offers. By thinking differently, we can embrace change, challenge the status quo, and imagine the world that could be. A world that offers a brighter future for our businesses, our communities, and ourselves.