Innovation is a key pillar of successful businesses. It enables companies to face adversity by building strong relationships with their clients and meeting their needs.
According to Deloitte’s research, 81% of digitally mature companies surveyed cite innovation as a strong point to their organization’s success.
To promote growth, business leaders must invest in innovative strategies and create an innovation culture. This is especially true if we consider the fiercely competitive market we live in now where our competitors are everchanging, from local businesses to companies around the world. So what can you do to get stronger even in face of adversity?
Ideation Program: the Benefits in Times of Crisis
The COVID-19 virus has brought many challenges to our lives and it’s consequences will undoubtedly be felt for many years to come. But the crisis caused by the pandemic doesn’t need to necessarily be bad for business — moments of crisis can bring a strong movement of creativity and innovation. In fact, if you look closely, you can already see creativity and innovation emerging in different sectors in companies in countries affected by the pandemic.
If we take online education, for example, we will see that historically, there has been resistance over this particular form of learning, partly because of the fear of the unknown and partly because it meant taking a big step that could result in failure.
Now, we can see how all innovative solutions in education to which we were so resistant, such as learning applications and virtual classes, are taking action and providing the support and infrastructure necessary for learning to continue during social distancing periods.
During a crisis, the risk seems to be more acceptable because doing nothing can have worse consequences than looking for new alternatives.
It was in the midst of a crisis that an ideation program first emerged in businesses — World War II spurred the development of the various technologies and processes that we see in the market today.
However, there is still resistance to investing in an ideation program. According to a McKinsey survey, during the coronavirus crisis, most executives are focusing only on business continuity, leaving to resume their innovation programs when the situation has stabilized.
Yet, we believe that, especially in times of crisis, the most urgent actions to be taken include:
- Adapt the core business to meet changing customer needs
- Quickly identify and address new areas of opportunity being created by the changing landscape
- Reassess the portfolio of innovation initiatives and ensure that resources are allocated appropriately
- Build the basis for post-crisis growth in order to remain competitive after the pandemic
But how can this be done?
How to Implement an Ideation Program in Times of Crisis
In times of crisis, business leaders must seek innovative strategies that add value to their products or services. While the future regarding COVID-19 may be uncertain, following a few steps to accelerate your Ideation program allows you to alleviate the impacts of the crisis:
1. Leadership & Commitment
If there is ever a time when a good leader would have to see the bigger picture and alternative possibilities, this is it. Good leadership is the mainstay of a company’s innovation efforts and the central gear in implementing an idea program.
There is a whole new world of undiscovered possibilities; the job of an innovation leader is to drive your organization’s sense of purpose into the workforce and promote ideation and experimentation as a means of reaching established goals together.
2. Focus on People
When a company’s greatest strength is it’s workforce, a change in the company’s dynamics can upset even the most stable organizations. For this reason, efforts must be redoubled to put people first and take advantage of each individual’s unique skill sets and perspectives.
From online communication channels to innovation management tools, a strategy that prioritizes people — especially when they are remote — ensures joint attention, cohesion, and, ultimately, the continuity of an innovative thinking culture in times of crisis.
3. Clear Objectives
When things get agitated, it can be easy to lose sight of your innovation goals and your sense of purpose. however, it is more important now than ever to maintain focus. After readjusting strategic and operational goals and ensuring that they remain at the center of your innovation agenda, they must be translated into an agile and strictly respected plan.
4. Strong Ideation Factory
It may seem like a difficult task with a dispersed workforce, but harnessing collective intelligence is really the fundamental pillar of an Ideation program. In times of crisis, organizations need the most efficient ideas for rapid execution, and your common communication tools or conventional idea boxes are unlikely to be up to the challenge.
The strongest ideas can come from anyone or anywhere meaning that collaborative innovation is still possible outside the walls of an organization. Methods like gamification help keep enthusiasm levels high and your employees engaged, while tools like a collaborative innovation software can help you nurture a culture of innovation.
5. Flexibility & Resilience
Adaptability is the key to overcoming any obstacles that arise, helping organizations to move forward regardless of setbacks. The creation of flexible and adaptable strategies, especially in sectors that may be the most affected, allows organizations to seize new growth opportunities and stay resilient during challenging times.
How are is your organization doing with your Ideation program? Contact us and see how we can help you