All of these changes bring a big question to executives, “Where do I start?” Deloitte believes that innovation should be a tool, not an aim. Company management should have clear objectives in mind and look to see whether innovation can help achieve those objectives. Innovation should result in the company becoming more competitive and dynamic, and ultimately create more growth. To land on the opportunity side of the coin and avoid shocks down the road, Deloitte put together a list of best practices seen at successful companies. Although there are some great tips, this list is certainly non-exhaustive.
1. Culture and awareness
2. Explore, experiment and ‘scale fast’
Resources are limited in all companies. Not every new idea can be realised, choices must be made. The art is to explore, start small and, if successful, react quickly to keep your head-start. An agile organisational structure is the key to success.
The first step you need to take? Make sure you are well aware of the emerging technological opportunities and understand how you can respond to them with your current or future business.
  • Do you have a ‘lab’ outside the normal operation of your company where you can experiment with new technology?
  • Can you temporarily post employees outside the organisation?
  • Are you launching too many initiatives at the same time?
3. Open innovation and new business models
Companies working on innovations in their own secret ‘dark room’ is a thing of the past. The most successful companies practise ‘open innovation’. The principle is very simple: the more people you involve, the more successful ideas you generate.
Innovation goes beyond the mere creation of new products or services. Sometimes innovation results in new business models that can cause a transformative change in existing industries. Just think what Spotify meant for the music industry.
4. Partnership with start-ups
A good way to stay up to date is to establish structured partnerships with start-ups. Recently, the most disruptive innovations did not come from classic multinationals, but hyper-connected start-ups such as AirBnB or Netflix. Belgium has several programmes aimed at corporate venturing. Think of Telenet-Idealabs, Start-IT of KBC or the Deloitte Innovation Centre.
  • Do you have a corporate culture that encourages innovation and integrates good ideas in operations?
  • Are your employees given time to reflect on the future?
  • Are all your ideas generated internally or do you also take part in crowdsourcing?
  • How often do you talk to your Board of Directors about the impact and opportunities of new developments?
  • As a company are you sufficiently aware and protected against the cyber risks that this new environment requires?
How should executives practically prepare for tomorrow?