Why innovate?

This is a question you might have asked yourself several times, especially if your business growth has gone as per plan and you have tasted more than moderate success. I have heard different reasons being cited to promote the need for it – it helps you create a differentiation/disruption in the market, penetrate new markets, lay the path for a long-term competitive edge, capitalize on emerging trends, protect your market share against new entrants, well, so and so forth. But to tell you the truth, while all else is true, the one that appeals the most to me is this – without innovation, your core competencies can turn into your core rigidities. Simple right?

Change is a disruption, there is no question in that, but change is very much needed, because let’s face it, everything and everyone around is evolving and changing the rules and dynamics of the business and market as a result. The market is changing, consumer needs are, your employees are, trends and technologies are and so are your competitors. In the last couple of decades, the business world as we know it has undergone massive transformations. Even from a bird’s eye view, words such as start-ups, millennials, Generation Y, BPO, KPO, or in more recent times, blockchain, digital, IoT, SMAC, VR, AI and so many more have come to stay, so what about the intrinsic changes that have had to happen?

To begin with, employees are no longer the same. While Generation Y and millennials may seem more like buzzwords to us, the fact of the matter is that the employees have changed in their needs. Wrapping up an entire career of approximately 30-40 years from one organization is literally water under the bridge now. Employees are seeking frequent job shifts, higher pay packages, quick growth and more recently, flexi and work from home options.

Organizations are also having to change their business models to suit the shift in the market. Often, reinventing the wheel is also becoming a much-needed move. Take for instance the success story of Apple. Who hasn’t heard of the heights the organization scaled under the leadership of Steve Jobs. However, the growth did not remain on an upward curve with several disparate products in their portfolio and dipped very quickly to reach under 5% of the market share and that’s when they had to bring Steve Jobs back. Today, despite the stiff competition, their innovative product, the iPhone has created a segment unto itself and remains the untouched leader in the market, one that speaks of class.

That said, one cannot negate the qualities that have existed in a successful business since decades. Past resources and competencies have a strong role to play, in fact they are the very foundation of any business. No technology can replace or substitute the innate qualities of determination, discipline, work ethics and passion. Neither can it substitute for a strong product line. It can; however, take the best of both worlds. There is this buzz in the business world about the Reinvent the Wheel (RTW) paradigm to unlock business model innovation. What this essentially does is this – it reinvents past resources and competencies with the use of the latest digital technologies, while continuing to keep the customers needs at the center.

Tying this back to the question we asked initially, why innovate, reinventing the wheel in terms of innovation has become imperative. Core competencies have to now be seen through the lens of the latest technologies so that you continue to remain relevant and successful.