Struggles Breeding Innovation
The pandemic has shown individuals young or old in a time of uncertainty, can come together and find creative opportunities to cater to a shifting market. People found to be pivoting their businesses by utilising their existing knowledge, skills, and networks to the new needs. From companies redesigning their business model to produce & sell PBE equipment to their communities. Your local taxi to delivering groceries, the nature of innovation is often incremental, but, it is proven to be essential for survival and adapting to the VUCA world.
Who Is Winning?
Here are some types of businesses that are seeing a strong demand during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Home health companies
- Cleaning services
- Delivery services
- Fitness equipment and online fitness classes
- Landscaping/yard care companies
- Mask makers
- Telehealth services
- Bread-baking companies
- Gardening suppliers
- Tutoring businesses
- Behavioural health providers
5 Core Principles to Innovation
Innovation initiatives can be broken down into five principles: redefine your problems, map your resources, use emerging technologies, encourage collaboration, and integrate end-users
1. Redefine Your Problem
Quickly assess and understand what is currently happening in your industry and business. Looking at your existing technology as a potential solution may give you a new sense of the problem too. Note that the most valuable knowledge about the problems can be found out through environmental analysis.
2. Reallocate Your Resources
Try applying the VRIO model to find out if you currently have any competitive advantages to knuckle down on during these times. The key is to be able to match the problem you are facing with your existing resources, at the moment it is more crucial than ever to see if you are able to build a sustainable competitive advantage.
Develop an inventory of “useful stuff,” including existing products, facilities, databases, software, talent, and expertise.
3. Use Emerging Technologies
The list is endless, as technologies and new SaaS platforms emerge. Look at integrating cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other tech can create an innovation sprint of continuous improvement. Technologies are only powerful when you are able to mix human and technology capabilities.
4. Communicate More
This should be a given, but as seen across governments and corporations – communication is an afterthought. To really understand how to tackle the problem, you need to be able to identify all your internal actors and how they can provide a solution. Many barriers to innovation rely on the organisational structure, and the key to nimbleness is to being able to act like a start-up. Start-ups are able to consistently pivot as the company is built small so it can cater to changing markets.
5. Integrating Feedback to Your Processes
To be able to survive you need to be able to consistently improve continuously. The time for waiting is over, there is no luxury of waiting for market research to determine your decisions. You need to be able to consistently make choices with your end users in mind. Consider adopting an agile approach towards operations and communications by incorporating feedback.
Small businesses need to be able to speed up their internal innovation by repurposing the knowledge, resources, and technology already at hand. It is common in industries where continuous improvement and agile methodologies are adapted, but the concepts are foreign to small businesses. Solutions to innovation are by understanding the best action you can take is to act in a way which prompts continuous improvement.