INSIGHT: Top 5 keys to innovation… and why NZ businesses should start now

Why Kiwi businesses should transform on their own terms.

Innovate on your terms

We don't need to be held over a barrel to innovate. We can successfully do it without the external pressure - we just need the same stimulation - “to boldly go where no-one has gone before.”

Star Trek had many innovative concepts that weren't created under duress - and many had much more impact on the world than the transporter. Gene Roddenberry had a vision and he knew how to make it a reality.

For example, the first mobile phone was inspired by the communicator, Star Trek predicted tablets and smart glasses - and Dr McCoy's medical tricorder is becoming a reality in the form of a small disc shaped device called a Scanadu.

Purpose - even when times are good, it pays to take a critical look at yourself and your industry. Re-evaluate your position in the market, recognise any potential disruptions and decide to change for the better before you are forced to.

Vision - once you know why you need to change, you need to understand why that is important for your team and your customers at a personal level. This will help win their hearts and minds and get them on the journey with you.

Goals - clearly understand the metrics of success and measure against them every step along the way. Goals are the difference between innovation and playing with new toys.

Urgency - it's important to put timeframes against achieving the purpose and offer incentives to the team for meeting those timeframes. Without urgency, it's hard to get priority and focus from those involved.

Leadership - innovation is revolutionary; so you need an inspiring figure to lead people towards the brave new world. You need a leader who "has a dream" - and can make people share that dream.

Time to start innovating

The best time to start innovating is when you're not being forced. You can boldly go where no-one has gone before - instead of meekly playing catch up. Your team will be inspired by your positive vision, not chased by fear.

Today, pre-built products and platforms make it faster to innovate than ever before so it's not the technology that slows you down.

What takes time is identifying which problems you need to solve and defining your purpose, vision and goals.

If you don't already have a plans for digital innovation, it's time to make them. Your competitors may have already.

By David Reiss - Business technology specialist, Spark Digital

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