Get started with Digital Innovation

Since companies are working on efficiency and effectiveness day by day in an ‘improve’-mode, most of them struggle with the challenge of exploring new business models and new technologies. Obviously, start-ups step in the market with new business models. And, in the meantime, new players may act ‘below the surface’.

New digital innovation needs open-minded people with a trial-and-error mentality, away from daily improvements. Digital affects structural aspects like processes and technologies as well as cultural aspects such as people’s capabilities and organisation. For explorative innovation, the common ‘improve’-thinking is not sufficient. Companies must leave the traditional approach to drive a more exploration-orientated innovation. For example, with a classic engineering-approach, German carmakers cannot compete with new self-driving car projects of Waymo (4) and others.

In the following are some examples how to get started and what can help.

  • To generate real value, a structured approach and method are needed. For example, approaches like the Digital Innovation Board (1), the Lean Stack (2) the Value Proposition Design (3) can help companies to begin with an iterative explore-create-evaluate approach.
  • Move closer to the user: Since user experience is key, it is essential to involve users from the beginning and get feedbacks and insights based on prototypes. Ask ‘What’s the benefit for your users and customers?’ and ‘Will they buy and/or use your service or product?’ This will enable you to identify new opportunities instead of following your competitors.
  • Find the 10 or 20% of people in your company, who can back your idea and/or venture and act as your advocates.
  • Use Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding to get new impulses and test your service or product with real customers.
  • Try new possibilities such as the Blockchain or Advanced Analytics to provide value for your customers and users.

However, operational excellence is not enough. The digital world is full of opportunities and threats. Keep in mind that you have to create, enable and deliver value. In addition, you have to be fast, otherwise someone else will step in.

I have a proven and structured approach to guide companies through the digital shift. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any details. Or subscribe to my newsletter.

Sources and recommended reading

(1) Digital Innovation Playbook, http://www.digital-innovation-playbook.de/
(2) Running Lean, https://leanstack.com/running-lean-book/
(3) Value Proposition Design, https://strategyzer.com/books/value-proposition-design
(4) Waymo, https://waymo.com

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