In the run towards becoming innovative

Businesses in Southeast Asia are renowned for launching new products and experiences that meet consumers’ ever-evolving needs and expectations. In addition, they continue to redefine what innovation looks like by embracing emerging technology. But rather than adopting emerging tech for tech’s sake, at the heart of their innovation strategy are intention, culture, and people.

Behind the scenes, executive leadership to product teams are building a culture of innovation by reorienting their internal systems and processes. By democratising innovation, all employees have the opportunity to explore new ideas and ways to deliver value. Through open innovation, siloes are broken down to collaborate and co-create across and beyond their organisation. The result is a value-driven culture where the behavioural norm is to deeply care about how technology and the business can better serve customer needs.

A McKinsey survey revealed that  94% of executives are dissatisfied with their innovation performance, and their growth is often fraught with challenges. Invest too many resources and energy into a few hero ideas, and the cost of failure becomes too high. In addition, when faced with abundant opportunities, some struggle to know where to start. As a result, many enterprises find themselves constrained by a slow time to market with lacklustre results. These experiences can leave organisations with innovation fatigue.

These are just a few reasons why specialist consulting firms are perfectly positioned to help enterprises across Southeast Asia overcome such challenges by incorporating the correct organisational, cultural, and technological practices that will empower them to become more value driven.

Accelerating and incubating emerging technology 

The drive for innovation often begins with the desire to harness disruptive ideas and technologies for market transformation. However, ambitious innovation initiatives that involve the latest technology trends or revolutionary ideas often fall short of the original vision. Therefore, before embarking on large bets, it’s essential to clearly understand why and identify the needs and problems such new ideas and technologies aim to solve.

Blockchain is widely proclaimed as the holy grail in eradicating problems around transparency and trust. However, without a strategic evaluation of the business value and viable use cases, enterprise adoption of blockchain can lead to low returns on investments and disillusionment about its potential.

Similarly, in an increasingly digital world, every business faces a rise in security leaks and public concerns around data protection and privacy. As a result, many leaders have made knee-jerk emotional decisions to implement solutions to protect themselves and their customers. As an emergent trust framework, decentralised identity aims to empower individuals to generate and control their digital identity without reliance on a third party.

Such a user-centric approach may be ideal for businesses hoping to reduce the risk of storing personal data and information. But beyond security risks, successful adoption and integration require overcoming risks across user desirability, business viability, and technical and operational feasibility.

Once again, the missing piece of the jigsaw is finding the right support partner to work alongside businesses to navigate the hype, and avoid unstructured exploration and implementation. Instead, a fresh pair of eyes will bring a much-needed pragmatic and practical approach to adopting emerging technologies and trends by aligning around a business, customer problem, or need.

A value-driven and needs-first approach can streamline decision-making on priority, process, and predictability. It can inspire and generate a portfolio of ideas, clarify what opportunities to invest in, and shift from ranking and predicting traditional success indicators to maximising broader and more meaningful value.

The risks and rewards of innovation 

A trap and fallacy amongst organisations are believing that only large transformative bets constitute and define innovation. At times, such initiatives can not only detract from valuable local and departmental efforts, but also overlook an essential element of success. Creating culture and processes at all levels is critical to driving organisational wide innovation-led growth.

Innovation, whether localised, organisational, or transformational carries both risk and reward. It’s important to remember there are many hard luck stories of failed initiatives and new products or services. Although the exact probability of failure or success may change, the acknowledgement and sentiment that innovation is a risky business has not.

Whether an idea or solution will deliver on its anticipated value does not have to be a game of chance. However, Lean Experimentation is a systematic approach that empowers teams to learn with the least amount of resources available, and can be applied at all levels and horizons of innovation and multiple stages across the innovation lifecycle.

Lean Experimentation plays a critical role in the process of building, measuring, and learning before leaders commit to making sweeping and costly changes. By de-risking and tackling ambiguity early on, businesses can test and validate hypotheses to make better-informed decisions and reduce the probability of the idea failing in the market.

Experimentation as an engine for innovation and growth

Beyond validating and de-risking your product or idea, Lean Experimentation can also become an innovation engine to generate new ideas that create and maximise value. An Optimizely study found that 82% of leaders believe experimentation to be the number one driver of business growth over analytics, AI, and automation. Yet, despite its ability to drive growth, many organisations still struggle to cultivate a culture where failing fast to learn and innovate is the norm.

The most dangerous phrase in business is “But we’ve always done it this way.” First, it took a global pandemic to accelerate the need for every business to think differently and reimagine both the customer and employee experience. Then, almost overnight, they understood the need to innovate continuously to keep ahead of changing customer behaviours and expectations. What lessons did we collectively learn through this period? The epiphany for many leaders was the realisation that a business strategy without innovation at the heart is not a growth business.

Empowering people and instilling processes and practices to foster an adaptive and experimental culture is fundamental to building an effective and productive innovation engine. However, the path to innovation is not a journey you should embark on alone. Innovation fatigue and its many perils and pitfalls can be prevented with the right partner to navigate the future’s potential and a willingness to embrace a value-driven mindset.