Innovation in Business: Where to Start
29th Jan 2020
When it comes to corporate innovation, many know how important it is to adapt to avoid falling behind your competition, but understanding what to do and how can be trickier, as well as gathering support within the business.
Often, when advancements in technology like ‘AI’ or ‘blockchain’ start trending, companies scramble to show they are ahead of the curve, investing in large all-or-nothing digital transformation projects. What they should be doing is investing in a culture of innovation that understands that innovation projects should be designed to create more efficient use of all resources, lowering cost while improving quality for your customers, as well as how small improvements in a business can have the largest impact.
But where to begin your innovation project? Here are a few ways to spot areas in your business where you can start:
1. Ask your customers what they want
The customer is always right.
At Nivo, we constantly watch our app reviews to understand how our end users are interacting with our app, adapting the product on a daily basis based on feedback trends we notice.
A simple way to do this is to build opportunities for customers to submit feedback during your product/service cycle. It could be a few simple questions at the end: How can we do this better? Were there any parts of the process you were unprepared for?
The next crucial step is to make sure a lot of people in your business have access to this feedback. We’ve all probably reached out to a company before to make a suggestion, receiving no reply or a cold standard message, and later wonder if anything happened. Making feedback transparent within your business will allow the right people to respond to criticism when they need to, create accountability and build an open forum for praise to be rewarded.
For more specialist B2B providers, most clients would welcome a chance to give feedback that would help shape the quality of the product they receive. Long interviews where you take time to understand their business goals can help you let them know that they are valued.
2. Watch your customers
Award-winning design-thinking companies like IDEO base their human-centred design approach on empathy for the end-user of their products. They believe the key to finding what your customers really want lies in doing two things:
- Observing their behaviour: If you are trying to understand how a user gets a product, watch them throughout the process of trying to get one. You will see the elements that stump them and from there, understand how to optimise your product for your customer.
- Putting yourself in the situation of the end-user: This is the only way to understand what the user experience is really like and feel what your users feel.
3. Build a culture of innovation with your staff
Innovative ideas don’t always come from the top, down. Your workforce is probably full of ideas on how to make your business better. But how do you tap into this idea pool?
Often employees might feel like trying something new or putting themselves out there can be a risk. You need to build a culture of innovation by making them feel like they can explore initiatives without fear.
You also need to focus on ‘innovative traits’ in your hiring. Look for employees that understand your vision, have passions and align with your culture, without being just like you! This is an especially important quality in the managers that you hire. A lot of creative ideas coming from the bottom will have different insights on emerging technology and the future. By placing them under a manager that crushes creativity, you will miss out on important assets in your business.
4. Take a look at your servicing journey – where is the bottleneck?
When servicing a client, your internal bottlenecks become delays for your customer receiving the product they need.
The best way to find them is to map your processes in the form of a workflow diagram. This will allow you to look at the process from the outside, giving you a clearer understanding of how processes interact and actually work.
What holds everything up? Evaluating the different stages of your process will show you where to improve efficiency.
5. Use your technology partners to help
The great thing about technology partners is that they invest heavily in R&D, so you don’t have to. They have unique expertise and can innovate with greater agility than large organisations. By connecting their technology and insights into existing processes or product packages, financial institutions can accelerate their time-to-market speed from months to days and drastically improve their customer experience.
The framework for a successful FinTech partnership involves strong alignment in strategy and business goals, establishing common ground, building and scaling the joint venture. According to Forbes, these types of partnerships are no longer a fad – now a linchpin for success! Financial institutions and FinTechs working together as partners has become a popular industry practice and is set to shape the finance industry for years to come. A study from Finextra shows that 81% of bank executives surveyed said that collaborating with partners was the best strategy to achieve digital transformation.
At Nivo, we’d love to hear more about your future goals, priorities. Please get in touch with a Nivo representative to share this with us.