Achieving success in innovation is known to be challenging; this is especially true in the context of large corporations.
We know it’s no longer a question of whether leaders know they need to innovate or not. It’s about finding that working method and momentum to defend why it is so necessary to get right, and worth all the attention from across the board, down to the infantries.
With the speed that innovation is moving today, corporations have to find a way to keep up, or they risk being left behind.
In this article, we will discuss why corporations struggle with innovation, how digital workflows allow corporations to stay ahead, and what a digital workflow solution looks like.
Why are Corporations Struggling with Innovation?
As touched by Clayton M. Christensen in The Innovator’s Dilemma, ‘A disruptive innovation represents a dramatically new way of doing things. After it matures, it will have revolutionized an industry and displaced the existing market leaders.’
The disruptive innovations we know today are led by the startup economy as they exist to tackle very specific chunks of problems usually unsolved by corporations. Partly due to their size, they get to be more nimble, which gives them the capabilities to build, adapt, and scale very quickly. Contrary to that, corporations are large in size and are often bogged down by the many decision layers, red tapes, legacy processes and mindsets that stifles their ability to innovate.
A disruptive innovation represents a dramatically new way of doing things. After it matures, it will have revolutionized an industry and displaced the existing market leaders.’
As corporations are aware of this, many engage with different activities which involve working with startups, such as innovation labs and corporate accelerators. However, the frustration in running these programs usually comes in not seeing enough successes from these efforts and in the underwhelming results that come with it. This often causes innovation to become a series of one-off projects rather than a continuous build-up of capabilities that would result in greater success, eventually.
The knock-on effect of this could be that innovation teams will lack the influence to drive innovation forward across other parts of the corporation. Since innovation is not an isolated problem to be solved, this will cause a huge struggle.
Innovation is not about playing catch up, but about staying ahead.
As top executives in large corporations often sit too far away from all the action, it becomes difficult to understand how and what is realistic for innovation teams to succeed in achieving their KPIs. This becomes frustrating for the teams when they are pressured to achieve a certain level of Return on Investments (ROI) placed onto projects to be supported. When investments are placed upon new products or new business models, how is it possible they correctly measure the returns for an idea that could be ahead of its time in the market?
Perhaps there needs to be a better way to provide visibility in aligning communications with the leadership, strategy and innovation teams.
Additionally, another reason for the struggle to innovate is due to time spent on non-efficient activities when finding external parties to work with, such as:
- Startup Search & Market Analyses through scanning large databases, visiting conferences, events, and pitch competitions hoping to meet the right potential partners,
- Startup Due Diligence through business model assessments on a lot of different startups, whether relevant or not.
This takes attention away from engaging in more important activities that can actually drive innovation forward.
It could be said that the overall root as to why corporations struggle with innovation lies in the corporation’s innovation playbook, or the lack thereof. Innovation is not about playing catch up, but about staying ahead. Thus, it is important to build a structure in order for corporations to focus on enabling proactive innovation rather than reactive innovation. Providing visibility focused on strategy, transparency, and a seamless work process could help immensely in getting corporations to move forward.
How Can Digital Workflows Allow Corporations to Stay Ahead
As we are living beyond the digital age, it is simply inexcusable that technology has not been embedded in innovation management processes enough.
With hundreds of different ideas or challenges being presented, reviewing and evaluating them can be an extremely timely and expensive process. How can corporations know if an idea is novel and worth pursuing?
Digital workflow refers to a systematic approach of performing a process that leads to achieving a repeatable innovation goal, seamlessly, using technology. Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are being embedded in tools today to automate business processes and streamline workflows. The idea is that it provides a solid foundation to help corporations carry out the value of automation that is crucial to business processes based on the present economic climate.
In the context of corporate innovation, having speed and accuracy in reacting to disruptive, or soon-to-be-disruptive, innovation trends are prominent. With hundreds of different ideas or challenges being presented, reviewing and evaluating them can be an extremely timely and expensive process. How can corporations know if an idea is novel and worth pursuing?
A digitised workflow is about working smarter. AI-enabled technologies can help corporations gain focus and build momentum to accelerate innovation and digital transformation. It offers many other benefits, such as:
- Providing Triggers for Innovation Opportunities. Discover emerging insights and trends within the global innovation sphere. The ability to automatically map out these opportunity spaces can broaden a corporation’s horizons to look beyond traditional fields and into making transformational, ground-breaking ideas work. These insights are usually ones worth highlighting in top management’s meeting agenda.
- Driving Decisions with Data. Assess data and find patterns that are important to quickly discover themes and business models that can solve strategic needs. Perform real-time evaluation and assess invention discourses for novelty and market positioning. This provides visibility into the activities and driven results.
- Enabling Virtual Collaboration. Align and collaborate with internal business units within the organisation to collectively execute innovation projects together. Digital solutions allow reports to be easily shared with the leadership team and anyone interested to learn and partake in innovation activities. It can be used to also demonstrate the value of what the team is doing, whilst increasing the motivation for the teams to be proactive in their role.
- Automating Manual Innovation Work. With this, innovation teams can focus on more strategic tasks rather than operational ones like manually screening for partnership opportunities through networking events or large startup databases. With that out of the way, it can empower them to focus on value-adding activities. From discovering and prioritising strategically relevant areas to focus on, to developing and implementation of strategic partnerships.
- Achieving Specific Innovation Goals or Solve Business Challenges. Be laser-focused and uncover solutions that are relevant to solving very specific goals. For inspiration or collaboration needs from the external innovation ecosystem, identify and reveal best-fit partners to develop strategies and innovation roadmaps.
- Building innovation capabilities that are aligned company-wide through masterclasses. There is great value in cultivating the innovation mindset and capabilities across the organisation. Again, as innovation is not an isolated discipline, it is important to align on the fundamentals of innovation and why it is everyone's business to care about it. Courses and workshops made can now be accessible at a company-wide level online. It is easily shareable, and tracking learnings are made easy.
It is important to note that the goal of an AI-enabled workflow itself isn’t to replace people but to free up their roles. By automating manual tasks, innovation teams have more productive time to focus on advanced value creation that can improve business operations.
Corporations can embed their innovation goal onto a working framework that follows innovation best practices to automate parts of the innovation process. The goal is to increase efficiency and the overall velocity of the innovation team.
What A Digital Workflow Looks Like
In the context of the Valuer Platform, we strive to eliminate noise by curating qualitative data, which enables corporations to zoom in and out on the technology trends and opportunity spaces, disruptive business model ideas, and thriving startups that are specifically relevant to them.
At lightning speed, our machine gives us the ability to detect hotspots that suggest focus areas which should be prioritised in strategic initiatives.
Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI, we will take over harvesting the ever-growing database on emerging and disruptive solutions for those who need it. At lightning speed, our machine gives us the ability to detect hotspots that suggest focus areas which should be prioritised in strategic initiatives.
We understand the importance of automating manual processes that can restrain innovation from flourishing. With the urgency and consistency that comes with working in innovation too, we have automated our workflows to enable business continuity despite the holiday seasons, or any economic downtime, such as a pandemic.
We have automated our workflows to enable business continuity despite the holiday seasons, or any economic downtime, such as a pandemic.
We are tuned-in with the current economic climate and how the ways of working are changing, with particular focus on enabling digital and remote working.
The other important aspect of innovation that exists is also in making sure the right capabilities and understanding about innovation are built to be aligned across an organisation.
Get started easily with the Valuer Platform and let it deliver results automatically. Submit your challenge and goals, add search conditions, and engage in a voting process of finding the best innovation opportunities and cases for your corporation.