design thinking

How to come to continuous innovations

Innovation, agility, resilience, these are the words you hear a lot in many organizations. I see quite some people that underline the need for these in their organization too. The necessity to deliver new products and services, improve operations and/or serve new markets. How do you cope with these in an exponential changing world?

Status quo

Most important is that you spot opportunities, create value for others and inspire and activate others to help you to make this value come true. Quite some organizations don't have the ability to do this anymore. After years of living a life improving the operational excellence or living the status quo, people don't have the ability to come up with creative new solutions that really makes the difference. They reached the stadium of terminal seriousness.

Startups and incubators

Quite some corporations and other large organizations feel that they are challenged by startups, that conquer small pieces of the market. As the successful ones grow into the scale-up phase, they start to take larger chunks of the customers wallet. Over the last years a lot of these large organizations started to work together with some of these startups. Facilitating them with office space, hard- and software, coaching and financial funding, thriving to increase the speed of the innovation process and getting hold of new propositions. This approach might deliver some new short-term turnover, the disadvantage is that you don't change the way your organisation acts as a whole, and won't become more adaptive.

It’s not about the innovations, it’s about the innovators

Culture of innovation

Most important is that you change the undercurrent in your organization. It's the culture of innovation, where an entrepreneurial mindset activates colleagues throughout the organization. Starting with the innovators and early adopters, spreading towards the mass market of the staff. Like the Dutch Ministry of Defence does with the Innovationcoaches. A growing number of selected personnel participates in this program, growing like a virus, building on a mindset that stimulates innovation. By doing this, working on innovations that add value for all different kind of challenges pays off. Like the example in this Dutch video.

Via sport for all to top athletes

So it's important that everybody in the organization can contribute. However, like in many areas, some are even better at it than others. But how do you pinpoint them? It's not that you will find them all at the same department. They can be everywhere, and have most likely different kind of backgrounds like knowledge, age, gender, profession or skills. A great possibility to scout these innovation-champions is to organise an experience-event like "sports for all". Give everyone the opportunity to participate, in a serious game of innovation, so you can see who has the talents to become a top athlete. Train these athletes and challenge them to come up with new innovations and spreading the way they work like a virus. Like RAI Amsterdam did at The Event Industry Hackathon as you see below. The combination of both groups in a social safe environment challenges them to challenge the status quo. Cause that's where you will find those new insights and opportunities to add value to your customers.