PERSPECTIVES

THE INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA

To innovate successfully, organisations must be agile in the way they work. “Organisations are like an oil tanker – hard to turn very quickly.” If an organisation can’t disrupt the way they work, how can they innovate successfully? Clayton Christenson calls this The Innovators Dilemma.
To innovate successfully, organisations must be agile in the way they work. “Organisations are like an oil tanker – hard to turn very quickly.” If an organisation can’t disrupt the way they work, how can they innovate successfully? Clayton Christenson calls this The Innovators Dilemma.

THE INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA

Large organisations have been successful for building a customer base on the services they provide, and as a result, customers are satisfied with what they receive. But how do we plan for the future?

How do we know what our future customers will want, and how can we identify unmet needs? Customer feedback is key to business growth, but what if we don’t take their feedback on board, and what if we don’t uncover their real needs and wants in that feedback?

Failure (and not the positive kind!)

Large organisations are used to providing the same service to their returning customers, so much so that they don’t want to disrupt what they already have. Instead, smaller organisations and start-ups, whose focus it is on a niche need or emerging market, are able to operate in a more agile way, respond more quickly to feedback and customer insights, and consistently deliver what their customers need.

The Innovator’s Dilemma, in the Words of Innovators

In our recent Innovation Bootcamp, we asked participants what challenges they were facing around innovation.

“We don’t have time to think as a big company, or time to review products because of our other workload. We need time to be able to think and time outside of our normal working pattern.”

“There’s a difference between creativity and management. The management manage the creativity of others. Should we continue to innovate or will management stop the creativity?”

“We have a mindset that failure is bad and it’s holding our innovation back. We need to learn from failure and learn fast to building it into the project.”

“How do we get great content in front of the right people? We need to find a way that makes people want to buy into events sooner, rather than later.”

“Our people are how we innovate, but how we help people learn how to collaborate with our clients?”

What Can You Do to Overcome The Innovator’s Dilemma?

In our recent White Paper: From Fragile to Agile: Innovating in Uncertain Times, we identified three key organisational mindsets to enable organisations to survive and thrive through disruption.

  • Focus: You need a clear focus on your customer and the needs your product or service can solve. This is about more than functionality. It is crucial to understand the job your product or service is doing for customers, and the jobs it could do in the future.
  • Pace: The oil tanker will only move quickly if your leaders are leading for pace, and communicating about the innovation imperative. Find your burning platform for innovation and make it everyone’s job to take action.
  • Experimental Mindset: Resource people to try new things. Empower people to experiment. And, most importantly, celebrate the successes and the failures across the business, so that people know that whatever the outcome of their experiment, their efforts are appreciated and celebrated.

Read more in our White Paper, which you can download here.

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