10 Ways to drive innovation in tech

This week, Eliga shares our top tips to drive innovation in your organisation with 10 key elements to include in any corporate strategy.

From great ideas to native talent, we’ve created an ‘I-N-N-O-V-A-T-I-O-N’ backronym (an acronym formed from an existing word) to help business leaders break down the word into memorable elements.

I – Ideas

Great innovation starts with great ideas. According to ZDNet, the hard part of innovation isn’t necessarily finding great ideas, it’s finding ‘nuggets that will generate high returns.’

The trick to driving innovation is investing in many ideas. Whether that’s creating an innovation lab or working with a company that provides an innovation and testing lab, it’s important to be constantly investigating and investing in ideas. While some organisations might invest in one or two ideas to play it safe, this is not what innovation is about. A stroke of genius often comes in the most unexpected ways from many ideas.

N – New

Leaders need to think of new and novel ways to use their technology. Technology Record states that new and different applications ‘can shift behaviour, inspire ideas, accelerate progress and really transform businesses.’ This comes down to exploring different ways of working, asking how technology can help teams create and collaborate in new ways. Keep things fresh, instead of defaulting to the status quo.

This isn’t just about productivity; it’s about keeping your teams engaged. When employees are engaged, they thrive, reaching their full potential.

N – Nimble

A nimble mindset is key not just in the world of technology, but in any business. Nimble is just another way to say agile. By creating a nimble or agile culture, leaders understand the business’s long-term direction. They react quickly and revise their course with new insights. These insights speed up delivery time and reduce cost, maximising the capabilities of each team member. While not every company can foster a nimble culture across its teams, leaders can take small steps to encourage nimble thinking within their teams.

O – Open APIs

Innovation-led technology like open banking is a testament to the staying power of open APIs. It’s easier than ever for hungry developers to make things happen. With cleaner entry points to customers’ data, businesses and talent are free to dream up and build something unique, showing not only their differentiation but also their value to a competitive and crowded market.

V – Validate

This is perhaps the most important item on any business leader’s innovation checklist. It’s important to validate your best ideas, before investing time and resources in developing them. According to Viima, this will reduce risk, speed up the delivery of your product or service, minimising costs. By skipping the validation process, you’re at risk of becoming another cool idea. Do you remember Google Glass? This is just one example of what appeared to be a good idea that ‘no one really wanted or needed.’

A – Authenticate

Once you’ve successfully validated your ideas, it’s important to protect your ideas and resources. Authentication keeps your network secure by only allowing authenticated users to access your organisation’s network, database, app, or service. With the never-ending battle against fraud, innovation requires ongoing improvements in authentication. Multi-factor authentication and dynamic linking of security requirements are different ways to secure your network.

T – Timely

Any products or services you create from your validated ideas, must be timely. To accomplish a goal, whether it’s shifting company culture or getting users to share their data, there must be a sense of urgency. Leaders must find ways to motivate their teams, customers, and decision-makers.

According to HBR, transformation programs start with the ‘aggressive cooperation of many individuals.’ While it can be difficult to drive teams (and customers) out of their comfort zone, it’s crucial to do so in a timely manner.

I – Innovation management

Good innovation isn’t a fluke. It comes from excellent innovation management. One example of great innovation management is Whirlpool. The five-year quest to reinvent the company’s management processes started with Nancy Snyder.

Snyder’s first step was to make innovation a central topic. This involved setting aside a share of capital every year for projects that drove a rigorous standard of innovation. Whirlpool also trained 600 mentors. Additionally, it enrolled every salaried employee in an online course on business innovation. Finally, it established innovation as part of the top management’s long-term bonus plan with metrics to track inputs, the numbers of engineering hours devoted to projects and the number of ideas entering the innovation pipeline.

O – Opportunity

Customers’ concerns, problems and complaints represent an opportunity. Every business will have dealt with customers’ issues or frustrations about products, services, or operations. These complaints could relate to speed, quality, or level of service. What may seem like a negative can be transformed into a positive, when leaders recognise the customer need in the feedback, leveraging the business opportunity through innovative tools, solutions, testing or ideas.

N – Native talent

New technology and the innovation that it leverages fail to reach its full potential, not because it is flawed, but because the knowledge of insiders is not adequately leveraged or has been overlooked. Many organisations opt for external talent, believing it is better.

According to BCG, leaders must ask themselves, ‘How do we attract and retain the next generation of digital-native talent?’ Retention is key because as the business grows, so should its native talent.

Need help with innovation?

The next time you’re tasked with driving innovation in your team or organisation, remember Eliga’s helpful I-N-N-O-V-A-T-I-O-N backronym.

If you would like to build an innovative company culture, then please do get in touch. Eliga Services has the knowledge, product, team, and experience to transform your workplace.