This is the third blog in a series on growth.
Businesses don’t grow and thrive by doing the same old thing, and only that thing, over and over. They grow because someone has a new idea and nurtures it properly. If growth is essential for an organization to survive, innovation is essential for growth.
Alvin Chia, in an article in The Huffington Post, argues that truly innovative companies are hard to find these days. He says, “The problem is not experience and know-how; it’s the lack of a bold, agile and flexible way of thinking.” Chia claims the overarching issue is that major corporations — once innovation leaders — are not set up to consistently innovate. He also notes that when new innovators disrupt the industry, large companies aren’t ready for transformation, and they get left behind. He suggests several ways to spark innovation:
- Engage more external talent – Chia quotes an Accenture study: “More than 60 percent of workers believe collaborative thinking, which corporations can readily support, is the best source for new ideas.” He suggests that collaborating with external talent can creatively cross-pollinate an organization and spark innovation.
- Rethink hierarchies – New ideas are so important to growth, Chia says, that “the goal of managers and executives should be to build the right environment for innovation.” The structure of the company should reflect that.
- Encourage “20% time.” Citing an idea that Google used in the past — to allow workers to use one-fifth of their paid time on their own projects — Chia says, “A company can really unleash the potential of its rock-star talent when it gives employees space to think.” He continues, “To keep your best and brightest, you must give them freedom and encourage collaboration. This will make them happy – and lead to ‘aha’ moments.”
Meanwhile, Information Age and American Express’s OPEN Forum blog both seem to suggest that the next wave of innovation will come in the place where cloud computing, machine intelligence, and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) converge. OPEN Forum suggests that because IoT technologies easily harness information gathering and analysis, they can level the playing field between small (and therefore agile) businesses and huge ones. OPEN says:Being able to leverage new technologies to automate processes that were previously only available in enterprise is now available with the rise of consumer-ready tech for small business owners.
Online automated expense reporting is one example of technological innovation that can help even the playing field between small businesses and giant enterprises, with a clear view into spending as it happens, and powerful tools for analysis. Click here to learn more about how Concur online automation can help your business grow.