As businesses grapple with highly dynamic economic, competitive, and health forces in a post-pandemic world, innovation is more crucial than ever. From contactless interfaces to remote workforce solutions, IoT leaders are vying to lead innovative solutions. Yet while innovation is viewed through the lens of advanced technologies, it is not a technological endeavor. Innovation is a human endeavor, born of necessity, context, and collaboration, requiring cultural change in how organizations empower employees and shift towards resilience.
A culture of innovation is one that encourages ideation, experimentation, and rewards a culture of learning by rapid failure –rather than chastising those who try new solutions. To succeed, it requires executive buy-in to be successful, and without leadership even the best ideas result in stagnation as innovation must be understood as an evolution, not a destination.
Correctly organizing for innovation is the necessary foundation for programs to thrive and achieve results. IoT leaders should consider these three methods for organizing a culture of innovation.
Foster Fresh Thinking with Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives
To extend the core value of an organization wider— into new markets, sectors, supply chains, etc.– often conflicts with or transcends existing ways of doing business. Introducing data, emerging sensors, networking, security, and analytics technologies into ‘innovation’ only makes this objective more complex. The antidote to thinking beyond today’s business (and current technologies) is incorporating broader perspectives into the mix. This is particularly important to innovation programs’ success because:
- A single team (e.g. product) or role (e.g. engineer) typically lacks broader context of other business functions, product lines, new markets, customer segments, compliance
- Collecting data from new “nodes” (people, devices, infrastructure) unlocks new “visibility” (behavior, performance, needs, etc.) many organizations have never had, never mind activated
- Novel ethics, compliance, and accountability questions can emerge depending on access & inclusivity, structural disparities, and legal recourse
- More inputs, broader alignment results in higher likelihood of deployment success once projects are underway
- Employee satisfaction and talent pipelines driven by opportunities to gain new skills, collaborate, and grow— for which innovation programs can be an outlet
Our research and client experience find a variety of disciplines involved in innovation programs, both “horizontally” across skills and “vertically” across the organization. Horizontally, critical skill sets including design, sociology, ethics, technology, and relevant subject matter experts (e.g. doctors; chefs; screenwriters). Vertically, innovation teams should have perspectives reflected from frontline workers, sales, security, policy, product, executives, HR, analytics, and IT.