Innovation may be one of the biggest buzzwords at the moment, but in this opinion piece Nick Dempsey, general manager at GMC Software, ANZ (pictured above), argues businesses need to be innovating and provides some handy ideas to actually innovate.
Today, if businesses are not innovating they are being left behind. There’s a perfect storm happening in the global economy involving a new generation of start-ups challenging the dominant players’ market share and disrupting the market. This is happening against a backdrop of emerging digital technologies, ongoing pressure on profits and ever-changing regulatory conditions.
It’s probably the toughest operating environment businesses have ever faced. But it’s not all bad news. Many trends such as big data and the proliferation of mobile devices are important enablers of consumer experience and communication. These are the tools that underpin innovation.
Given these trends, organisations must be exploring ways to drive true interactivity between themselves and their customer base. At the same time, they must ensure everything they deliver to their customers is genuinely relevant and meets each individual’s unique needs. No longer is static communication acceptable. Today, enterprises must be nimble and agile when it comes to the interactions they have with their customer base.
Overcoming the obstacles to innovation
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving a truly innovative culture in a business is old legacy systems that can’t deliver consistency and real-time responsiveness when it comes to customer experience, leading to organisation-wide inefficiencies.
For most businesses, it’s simply not possible to walk away from the legacy systems that have driven the business for so long. But at the same time, it’s essential to invest in new systems that can help the business meet customer demand.
This requires substantial support from the executive team, as well as a number of other essential building blocks. One of these is culture. Innovation requires a certain appetite for risk. But for most businesses, eliminating risk is key. So there needs to be a shift by which people in the organisation are incentivised to take the right sort of risks. Give people customer communication and customer engagement projects to which the business doesn’t necessarily know the answer and allow people to make mistakes and fail. However, the business must learn from these mistakes and take these lessons into future projects.
One of the ways to give people in the business the confidence to innovate when it comes to customer communication and experience is to deliver assessments on innovation projects that are fair. This is because people are more willing to take risks if they feel supported. It’s also essential to give everyone in the business the opportunity to innovate, not just high potential staff, because often, the best ideas are generated from the bottom up.
A great way to embed innovation is to form stand-alone departments that are tasked with developing innovative ways to drive customer experience. That way, existing operations are not impacted and the innovation department can work on developing new customer solutions which, when proven, can be integrated in the main business. Ideally, the innovation department or unit should build links with other innovation champions such as venture capitalists, start-up hubs and universities. They can then bring this knowledge back into the wider business to help develop customer solutions and communication practices that are genuinely innovative.
Even in big businesses, innovation happens every day. The idea is to support it to allow it to thrive. The organisation-wide environment has to be one where people are under pressure to innovate well.
Embedding innovative values
To develop a truly innovative culture, first the business needs to embed innovative values in the business.
This involves an acceptance of change across the business and employing people who are genuinely excited about new ideas. One of the best ways to embed an innovation culture is to assign staff to meaty and meaningful customer communication and experience projects they can really get their teeth into: give them an opportunity to do something about what irritates customers on a daily basis.
Importantly, it’s essential to make it very clear about the benefits to staff when it comes to taking an innovative approach. This might include incentives for involvement in innovation initiates, as well as clear communication about the consequences for the business – and its employees – if it fails to innovate and change customer communication practices.
Another key to innovation is developing close relationships with customers to find out what they want from the business. So spend time talking to them and use this knowledge to improve communication practices.
How do you measure innovation?
All organisations at every level, from the board and executive level down, are driven by KPIs to make the business more financially successful. Which means profit must be the underlying reason why businesses innovate around customer experience.
So from the outset there has to be a clear reason why businesses want to innovate. This may be to gain market share, create efficiencies, drive sales, or for other reasons. Whatever it is, the impetus behind the drive to innovate must be communicated to everyone in the organisation.
When they innovate, businesses need to ensure it will create a differentiator in the market. Therefore, a system must be set up to measure this dynamic.
Recognise, however, that innovation takes time. Don’t over-emphasise short-term return-on-investment over value in learning. Which means businesses need to work out how to measure learnings from innovative initiatives. So take a longer view over how to judge innovation success.
Empowerment of the consumer
Further, an important trend is the increasing power in consumers’ hands over the way their information is used. A good example is the upcoming Privacy Amendment (Notification of Serious Data Breaches) Bill, which is likely to require organisations to disclose serious privacy breaches related to the disclosure of personal information.
So it’s essential to manage customer data carefully and balance consumers’ rights to have their information treated with respect, with the need to be able to analyse this data to provide better and more meaningful experiences and communication to them.
Please login with linkedin to commentYell
Optus has announced world-champion tennis player Ash Barty as its chief of inspiration, Barty’s first new partnership since her retirement from professional tennis in March. The partnership will see Barty feature in a mix of content initiatives, employee engagement programs and community-focused campaigns to connect Australians and inspire them to say “yes” to their dreams, […]
Lisa Ronson has announced she’s is leaving her role at Coles as the chief marketing officer. Ronson is out of the trolley and into the fire, as they say! Ronson announced the news via Linkedin: “It’s with sadness today that I announce I’ve decided to move on from Coles Group to pursue a number of […]
Tourism New Zealand has unveiled its first global campaign in two years, IF YOU SEEK – the country’s invitation to international visitors. Launched today in core visitor markets such as Australia and the United States, IF YOU SEEK explores perspectives unfamiliar to the travel category; enticing audiences to explore Aotearoa New Zealand via glimpses of […]
Following a competitive pitch, retail group Godfreys has announced the appointment of independent creative agency Hardhat. Following two years of growth, with the business now sitting at more than 150 stores and 3 million customers, Godfreys has set about transforming its retail stores to more accurately reflect the business’ category leadership and expertise. At the […]
Rural and regional women who have excelled in making their communities better places to live and work are set to be celebrated with the launch of the Shine Awards, a six-year partnership between rural and regional newspaper, The Weekly Times, and Harvey Norman. Readers are being asked to share their stories and nominate the unsung […]
The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has this month welcomed Blue Tongue Outdoor, SureVision and Veridooh as the latest companies to join the Association. Speaking about the three new members, Charmaine Moldrich, OMA CEO said: “We’re pleased to announce our continued expansion includes media owners, suppliers and adtech. Blue Tongue Outdoor is our first South Australia […]
Data-driven, CX agency Cheil has teamed up with Samsung Australia for the unveiling of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Z Series, the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Galaxy Z Flip4, at one of Australia’s busiest shopping centres, The GPT Group’s Melbourne Central. The ‘Unfold your world’ takeover, which consists of a 64sqm pop-up store in the center of […]
Nespresso is today calling for entries to the Australian StartCup Challenge, a new competition which supports and rewards innovative, circular business ideas. The challenge is open to pioneering start-ups and SMEs from any sector or industry to pitch their circular solutions for review by an expert jury and then via public vote for the chance […]
Australian new car website, CarExpert.com.au has today completed the strategic acquisition of PriceMyCar.com.au, accelerating the company from online publisher to new car marketplace. The acquisition is for 100 per cent of the business at a purchase price of $4 million. This is a mixture of an upfront payment with a two-year earn-out period which will […]
Crowe LLP, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm in the U.S. with offices around the world, has debuted a new integrated brand platform entitled “Embrace Volatility.” The campaign, which seeks to flip the perception that volatility is something to fear to something that creates opportunity, was developed by StrawberryFrog in its first project for […]
Digital experience platform (DXP) provider Optimizely has announced it was named a Strong Performer in The Forrester WaveTM: Marketing Resource Management, Q3 2022. The report states that, “Welcome’s legacy in content marketing and editorial shines through in its ample content and people management offerings. And its superior innovation roadmap plans, to employ AI for content […]
Having racked up over 1 million paying subscribers since the release of Snapchat+, a paid subscription service complementing the communication app, Snapchat has announced a number of new features to further reward its user base. The newly added services include priority story replies, which highlights a users responses to Snap Stars; an option to show […]