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Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick

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Leading for innovation

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Let’s not beat about the bush, there’s a disrupter coming to town, and if it hasn’t already started to affect your business then it soon will. With 54% of organisations looking to move into new markets and marketplaces, the threat once posed by your traditional rival on the high street now could come from anywhere.

Established businesses looking for new markets, lean and hungry start-ups looking to grow, even the one-man band sitting at a small desk in his bedroom; all have the potential to access the same products and customer base as you do. For those who doubt, I only have to point to once household names such as Woolworths or Blockbusters which fell when the market changed and left them behind.

The biggest challenge posed to existing businesses by these new entrants to the marketplace is that they carry none of the residual systems and baggage of the more established players. This means that they can be more agile, more intuitive, more in tune and more aligned with potential customers because there is no weight of history holding them back.

“Legacy has no currency in the world we now operate and size is no barrier to disruption.”

For long established businesses this means that there is only one viable option, namely, to adopt a culture of innovation which will not only meet the new players on a more level playing field but will create game-changing synergies.

But for those looking to move towards a culture of innovation, the way has to be carefully mapped so that the new outlook establishes itself as part of the DNA of the organisation. Intelligence, collaboration and adaptability are now the name of the game and that requires a new style of leadership. An Innovation culture also requires a change in employee attitudes. Out goes silo working and in comes collaboration, out goes a fanatical adherence to procedures and in comes the search for pragmatic solutions. More importantly, out goes the concept that ideas can come from a select group of individuals and in comes an organisation-wide acceptance that everyone has responsibility for creating solutions.

It’s not a change that will come overnight. It certainly isn’t a change that employees will be able to assimilate without help. People may need training in attitudes and approaches, in collaboration and communication, and in problem solving and personal skills. But all of this training will only be any good if the leadership assimilate the idea of innovation culture into their every action and decision. There’s no point in looking for people to actively come up with solutions to customer problems if you still target them on meeting delivery targets or hitting quotas. There’s no point in asking people to experiment and to come up with ideas if you then censure them for failure. And there is certainly no point in asking people to collaborate if you continue to pitch one team against another in order to qualify for bonuses.

True innovation is not a bolt on to an existing culture. Introduced correctly, it will eventually permeate every corner of the organisation to create game-changing behaviours and results. But in order to achieve success the organisation has to put time and resources into helping its people to be the innovators of the future.

If you’d like to learn more about shaping the future and building a culture of innovation feel free to email Cris at cris@thefutureshapers.com or visit www.thefutureshapers.com for more information on how Cris and his team help some of the worlds smartest companies succeed through innovation.

Author Profile Picture
Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick
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