Business Improvement

Business innovation and the sustainable organisation

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Let’s talk business strategy. Have you ever wondered what happened to brands like Kodak, Nokia, Blockbuster, Blackberry and all the other organisations that were large, well established and at some stage of their life possessed a large piece of the market they competed in?

These organisations enjoyed success for a lengthy period, however due to the lack of innovation to recognise opportunities and the inability to be agile they unfortunately got left behind in the times as their innovative competitors emerged with fresh ideas and newer technologies.

Business Innovation | Innovation & The Sustainable Organisation

What is Business Innovation?

Innovation is dependent on the context and will vary from different industries. An innovation in an air traffic control industry will vary from innovation that relates to the smartphone industry, just how innovations in a social context will also be different.

Innovations can be broken up into two categories, evolutionary and revolutionary. Evolutionary innovations focus on preserving or gradually changing fundamentals such as people, products and business relations. Revolutionary innovations attempts to adapt the existing world to new ideas. A perfect example of a revolutionary innovation is the development of digital photography as it changed the way we take, share and use pictures. Revolutionary innovation tends to be a lot more disruptive, expensive and produces unpredictable outcomes

So how do you create a sustainable organisation?

The secret to creating a sustainable organisation is to consider innovation through three different perspectives, business strategies, intrapreneurship and organisational culture.

1. Re-evaluate your high-level business strategy – We live in a world with technology led change, marketplace distribution, globalisation and rapidly shifting customer needs. It becomes crucial that your high-level business strategies remain relevant when confronted with innovation and change. Long term business Strategies are a useful guide and give direction, but can quickly become irrelevant when organisations need to respond or initiate rapid transformational change.

2. Value and preserve Intrapreneurs – An Intrapreneur is essentially an entrepreneur that operates within a large firm. The intrapreneur promotes internal innovation by using entrepreneurial skills. It is important to recognise the Intrapreneurs in the organisation and protect them. If an organisation fails to realise the value of the talent recruited, it will come with significant costs when attempting to lead an innovative organisation.

3. Develop an innovative organisational culture. – When developing an innovative culture, it is important to identify the type of innovation that you are trying to foster. It may be beneficial to highlighting the different arenas in which employees can be involved with innovation. Another good way to support an innovative culture is to redefine metrics and incentives. Performance goals and compensation packages can be structured in a way that encourages employees to be innovative and initiate change.

When organisations fail to recognise the value of innovation and become close minded and fail to review their business strategies, undervalue their recruited talent and fail to cultivate an innovative organisational culture they run the risk of becoming unsustainable. As the world we currently live in is rapidly changing due to new technologies and globalisation, innovation becomes an important key factor to the success of any organisation.

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