The 2 main innovation strategies – which one is right for your business?

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The 2 main innovation strategies – which one is right for your business?

As business leaders we live in a dynamic world and we all know at some level that we MUST constantly change, evolve and adapt our businesses otherwise our businesses will go extinct. However, not all business leaders embrace this reality and act accordingly.

In my experience over the past 15 years dealing will small and big businesses I have seen leaders take an approach to business change that sits somewhere on a continuum between 2 extremes;

Avoidance Approach

They don’t really want to know about the changes. They prefer to continue with “business as usual”.  They try and ignore the changes. Change happens to them.  They are reactive.  They are constantly reacting to changes and playing catchup.  They live in denial.  They bury their heads in the sand and pretend like the change is not coming until it is too late.  They are the Disrupted.  Often, they play the role of the change victim.

Acceptance Approach

They anticipate what these changes might be. They seek to improve their businesses and introduce changes.  They preempt the changes and make them happen.  They incorporate the changes into their business as they occur. They are proactive. They are the change catalyst altering the game. They live in the present reality with a vision of the future. They are the Disruptors.  Often, they are the change victors.

I believe which approach a business ends up taking and whether they are avoiding vs accepting change comes down to the mindset of the leadership of that business.  Leaders with a more;

Growth Mindset

Are more open to change.  They are interested in hearing about new ideas.  They are comfortable with uncertainty and risk. They encourage experimentation and perceive failure as a learning experience.  They are always looking for better ways of doing things.

Fixed Mindset

Are more set in their ways. They are NOT interested in hearing about new ideas.  They are risk averse and crave certainty. They seek guarantees and perceive failure as a mistake.  They prefer for things to continue as they are.

According to Ben Weinberger, Corporate Innovation Advisor at Slingshot and Speaker at the B2B Rocks conference in Sydney (6&7 June 2019) several large, leading Australian businesses such as BHP and ANZ Bank have introduced Chief Transformation Officers roles to drive corporate innovation and evolve their businesses.  Come along to hear what interesting strategies and tactics companies are taking to get a competitive advantage in this ever-changing world.

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Assuming as a business leader you accept the principle that your business MUST innovate to constantly change, evolve and adapt, which strategy should your business adopt?   

There are two broad strategies from which to choose. They are;

Agile Strategy

The objective is to come up with a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly. Using feedback from customers you iterate (adjust/ improve) and incrementally (progressively) improve the product offering. This is the lean agile customer centered approach.  It is more a market pull strategy.  It requires lower resources and upfront invest and a shorter timeframe to show results.

Transformation Strategy

The objective is to create a big leap or an order of magnitude (10x) improvement in the product offering. This kind of innovation takes time.  It comes from a deep and intimate understanding of the customers problems that you are trying to solve and coming up with a solution that the customers could not have imagined themselves. The classic example is the iPhone.  It took a long time and a tremendous amount of innovations and resources to create.  The risks were higher but then so were the rewards. Sometimes this is seen as a technology push approach.

I believe that the largest and most innovative companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have used both these strategies over the past two decades to get them to where they are today.  They usually started off with a short-term agile strategy and moved more to a longer-term transformation strategy as resources and their market positioning improved.  They believe that our most successful innovators started with a transformative vision and used agile and transformation strategies and tactics.

What strategy and tactical mix is going to be right for your business? What is your businesses vision?

Many large corporations by their very nature tend to be risk-averse culture and the bureaucracy designed to create order becomes a terrible hindrance to innovation, change, evolution and adaptability.  Similarly, many small startups with their more open and innovative culture can try new things quickly but they lack the leverage and resources to make a large impact like a big corporation.

At the B2B Rocks conference on June 6 & 7 2019 in Sydney is about connection business and innovation.  Specifically, we want to connect large, risk-averse bureaucratic corporations with small, agile and innovative startups to create win- win relationships. That is how we believe the B2B relationship will ROCK!

Click here to learn more about this awesome event.

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