Today, the diffusion of innovation is a top concern for modernizing organizations.
But what exactly is it?
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And why does it matter?
In short, it matters because today’s global economy is driven by change.
The marketplace is volatile, fast-paced, and competitive.
As digital technology continues to evolve, so too will the market…
Businesses will need to become more innovative if they wish to survive in the years ahead.
The Diffusion of Innovation: Why It Matters
Like digital transformation, innovation can be felt in many areas of a business.
It can influence:
Companies that are more innovative are more open to change.
They are less likely to fear technology, new ideas, and new ways of operating.
This also matters when it comes to talent retention – younger employees prefer companies that are tech-friendly, flexible, and collaborative.
How a business operates
Digital technology has opened up new possibilities for work, such as:
- Remote working
- Online collaboration
- Cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service
Among many others.
These new modes of operating offer many benefits, such as cutting costs, improving work environments, and scalability.
An organization’s ability to compete
Innovative organizations can gain a competitive advantage in a variety of ways.
For instance, they are more willing to:
- Experiment with new products
- Innovate strategically
- Try out new technology
- Open themselves up to new ways of working
Over the past couple decades, we have seen many companies grow exponentially.
This growth is due in part to digital technology.
But it is also due to the fact that these companies are willing to innovate.
How to Spread Innovation within Your Organization
In fact, we could even claim that innovation and digital technology are equally important.
Both are required to gain an advantage in today’s marketplace.
One might even argue that innovation itself is more important…
Without this quality, organizations cannot adapt, let alone develop market-beating products.
Below, we’ll look at 5 dimensions of innovation within organizations. We’ll look at why each dimension is important, and then explore a few ideas for spreading innovation into each business area.
1. Create a culture of innovation.
Innovative cultures, as mentioned, are open to new things.
Conservative cultures, on the other hand, are not.
When presented with new ideas, a conservative organization tends to:
- Become uncomfortable or afraid
- Latch on to existing processes and procedures
- Be more risk averse
- Find reasons not to change
It is, of course, unwise to be reckless in business.
However, since the advent of the internet, we have seen countless businesses fail … precisely because they were too conservative.
Innovation is precisely the mindset that must be cultivated in order to succeed in the digital era.
2. Hard-code systems of innovation within your company.
One way to ensure that innovation is accepted is to encode it into your business processes.
Google, for instance, famously gave employees one full weekday – every week – to work on any project they wanted.
This business practice spawned a large number of projects, including Gmail.
Later, as the company grew, it would replace this approach with a more focused one.
The takeaway: develop some system that proactively encourages innovation within your company.
Not only will this help you build a culture of innovation, it can also help you generate winning products and solutions.
3. Become a digital-first business.
Many of us have heard marketers proclaim the benefits of a mobile-first marketing strategy.
The rationale is that most of today’s users are mobile-first – they begin marketing journeys from mobile devices.
Today, many businesses are expanding this concept into the entire digital sphere.
Research from IDG showed that in 2019, innovation is a key factor that drives digital-first business strategies.
Digital transformation initiatives, IDG found, offers many benefits to organizations.
One-third of respondents experienced revenue growth as result of their digital initiatives.
And one of the key contributors to this growth included the “improved ability to innovate and seize new opportunities.”
4. Use technology to enhance organizational change.
There are certainly barriers to digital transformation.
The aforementioned IDG report mentioned a few factors that inhibit digital success, such as:
- Lack of budget
- Too many competing priorities
- Lack of staff and/or correct skill sets
Fortunately, technology platforms can actually come to the rescue.
Digital adoption platforms, for example, are software platforms that tackle two of the three problems mentioned above.
These training tools:
- Automate software training via contextualized learning
- Analyze user behavior to pinpoint opportunities for optimization
- Increase time-to-competency, as well as productivity
In certain cases, these platforms can even completely replace other training methods.
Amazon, for instance, uses innovative solutions, such as WalkMe’s digital adoption platform, instead of “traditional learning methods and e-learning modules.”
5. Make digital transformation and adoption a priority.
Technology enables innovation.
The more digitally mature your organization, the better your ability to innovate.
For this reason, businesses should take digital technology very seriously.
Without technical capacity, their innovative ideas won’t let them take advantage of new marketplace opportunities.
Here are a few ways your organization can improve its technical capabilities:
- Create a digital-first business strategy
- Develop an IT modernization plan
- Measure digital maturity, then create a roadmap for digital growth
Naturally, each of these approaches requires commitment, energy, and effort.
However, they can produce significant results.
Along with the other ideas mentioned here, a digital transformation plan can help your organization grow and thrive in today’s digital-first marketplace.