The importance of innovation is not new to businesses, especially for the ones in the business of IT. But, do the existing organizational cultures across the IT sector really value and support innovation?
To understand this, it is important to delve deeper into the current innovation trends in the market transversely. In recent times, 1the global scenarios such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent digital transformation and dependency are seen as the key drivers of innovation momentum across sectors and geographies.
The above mentioned global scenarios paved the way for a new set of demands: the demand for a prevention/cure and for advanced technological solutions that could help with seamless remote operations. The pharmaceutical industry followed by IT and electronics industry have since been leading innovation momentum to address these demands at global levels.
So, what exactly is innovation momentum and why is it so crucial? To understand this, it is imperative that we acquaint ourselves with the 2‘4Cs’ of innovation – Clarity; Credibility; Consistency and Competitiveness. While the 4Cs act as a guideline to achieve innovation, it is the ‘5th C’ i.e., Customer/Consumer, around whom innovation should ideally center. What is an innovation at the end of the day if it is not capable of addressing the demands of a customer/consumer? And, both Pharmaceutical and IT industries successfully addressed the pressing demands for the global themes present before them.
Having said so, it’ll take a lot more to ensure a successful shift from a movement to momentum to create and foster a culture for IT innovation.
Firstly, it is important that an organization’s culture supports experimentation. No new idea can grow and thrive if it is unable to find a space to do so. Coming up with a new idea or to try something unique requires a sense of freedom, encouragement, time, and investment. It is therefore crucial that organizations make substantial investments in honing the skills and leadership qualities of its people and recognize even the smallest achievements.
Secondly, as much as we rejoice successes during the process of innovation, accepting and embracing failure is equally significant in fostering the ideal culture for IT innovation. Employees feel determined to pursue innovation despite setbacks, critical feedback, and uncertainty when leaders make room for acceptability of failures.
Thirdly, make the customer the center of your focus and drive efforts centering him in your strategy. There is a reason why before creating a product and before launching it in the market, marketers stress on identifying the right target audience. Doing so helps to prioritize your customer’s demands and the subsequent value creation of your product/service/solution. Thus, ensuring that the innovation meets the market demand and purpose.
Fourthly, emphasize on formulation and implementation of effective policies that support innovative culture within your company. No organization operates without a framework and ensuring that a supportive policy becomes an essential and integral part of your policy framework will ensure that innovation is not just a crucial part of your company, but also your identity.
Finally, incentivize, appreciate, and recognize! Pillars to keep your workforce motivated towards pursuing excellence in innovation or to just pursue innovation.
2 David Jobber and John Fahy – ‘Foundations of Marketing’ (2009)