With all the focus on the financial crisis, lay offs and closure of companies, most organizations tend to forget that innovation is crucial to their survival.
If you don’t make sure that customers will keep on buying your services (now and in the future), you are on a dead-end street. So, you have to make time and resources available for innovation on an ongoing basis.
This innovation has to be SUSTAINABLE, OPEN AND SIGNIFICANT (SOS).
An innovation is sustainable when it focuses on economical, social and environmental benefits. Customers will only buy your services when there is no negative impact on the environment. More and more will they demand green services. Organizations also have a social responsibility for their employees, their neighbours and their community. You also have to create a culture of innovation within your organization. Otherwise the innovation will be a one-off activity and that will not give you sustainable success. All the employees have to be involved in continuously innovating your services, processes and business model.
Given the tremendous pace of change in markets, technologies and industries, it is impossible to have all the know-how and available within your organization to do all the innovation ‘in-house’. Therefore your innovation has to be open. Open to collaboration with relevant parties (government, research institutes, universities) and individuals. These individuals are of course within the organization. It is crucial that the collaboration is cross functional. Diversity of the people involved is also a key requirement. It is very likely that you need expertise from the market as well. More and more there are ‘marketplaces’ like Innocentive where you can connect with knowledgeable individuals.
The innovation needs to be significant as well, it has to be worthy for attention. The service itself can be significant, or the delivery method, or the go to market model. The customer has to get a significant experience from the encounter with your service and the employees who deliver it. A service is also significant when it is meaningful for customers and/or employees.
It is clear that the current market conditions requires an SOS for innovation!