February 28, 2019
Every organization needs to innovate. It doesn’t matter if you are a government or a non-for-profit, the eventual truth is that all business models will fail at some point. Equally, there is no one path or right way to innovate. Everybody needs to find their own way. Just because someone had success with one strategy, doesn’t mean that it’s right for the problem someone else needs to solve.
Ahead of Amazon’s recent announcement on the location of their new headquarters, Jeff Bezo’s said that he expects Amazon eventually to fail.
“If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end … We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible,” Amazon’s Jeff Bezos told employees on Nov 16, 2018.
My takeaway here is that when an organization’s growth erodes the values that enabled its growth in the first place, it will begin to lose its best people. When a company loses its best people, the ability to innovate goes away too.
I’ve seen a lot of businesses live by the notion that Innovation is simply the application of ideas that are novel and useful. Merriam-Webster has an even meeker definition “Innovation, for its part, can refer to something new or to a change made to an existing product, idea, or field”. From my experience, and in the context of Digital Transformations, I don’t think that these explanations work. Why? Because I’ve seen many businesses follow the same subroutines: ticking off the boxes for feedback surveys, workshops and workflow analysis, only to fail customer adoptions.
So, what are they missing? Typically, everyone starts off the same. A good idea. A simpler step. A better, faster and smarter mouse-trap. But these don’t come from a real customer. They come from internal ‘transient’ stakeholders who fail to see things from a real customers point of view. I’m not talking about taking a new process, product, supplier or service and then tweaking it. It needs to come from an authentic customer’s statement of pain, proven by evidence so that when a solution (or innovation) is created, it will be instantly adopted by the customer.
I recently teamed with a client to help secure a major digital ecosystem transformation for a leading air carrier. Their vision boards were breathtaking. I completely felt the journey from start to finish and could see how a customer would become intoxicated with KPI dials and real-time moving maps. This is a multi-million-dollar value proposition. However, the innovation doesn’t lie within the framework of the connectivity or the near instant gratification of knowing when your air cargo was scanned and in what belly position it was loaded in… nope! The authentic customer statement of pain was that customers didn’t receive a response for several days when they made requests for capacity availability. This isn’t a seasonality issue either. For something that should take minutes, in fact took days.
The overall value proposition was tuned to ensure that an authentic customer statement of pain was captured, highlighted and a multi-million-dollar engagement wasn’t lost to another bidder.
Whether you’re designing a new route to launch, offering an improved service delivery standard or are building a better widget, you must meet the customer’s perceived need. Innovation only works when we start with a customer’s perceived problem and fix it.
If you want to discuss more or learn how AviaMind helps organizations explore the value, connections and interventions between innovation and transformation, get in touch with us.
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