Innovation is not a differentiator anymore; Innovation stickiness is.
Connected customers in the information age with a ‘web of voices’ expect Innovation to be both faster and surer. For businesses, Innovation is not only about differentiating from competitors but more importantly about gaining value stickiness from customers – immediately and consistently.
Time-to-market has a younger cousin now – time-in-market. There are 2 key dimensions to Innovation Stickiness.
1.) Inside-out view on Innovation stickiness:
Innovation starts with spotting the new wave by being connected to the market and the last mile is about ensuring the Innovative product/service is a success. With the ‘web of voices’, continuous failures would only lead to a buzz of negative views about the company, making it an uphill battle for the next launch. Technology can help make Innovation faster and surer – In-memory computing, Big data analytics, Cloud etc can help companies with the following steps
- Big Idea: listen to the market, pick up trends to ask new questions internally and come up with the next Big Idea(s).
- Better Business case: speed up the innovation process based on market data – quickly move from right Idea to Innovation.
- Insure your Innovation: test market the innovation, leverage real-time insights and get customers, prospects, employees on company’s side to advocate, arbitrate and increase the probability of success.
- Power your Innovation: IT engines don’t have to be custom-built/proprietary on-premise, simply secure cloud based enterprise solutions to quickly achieve a whole new IT model and drive time-to-market,
The way these 4 steps are handled will determine whether Innovation is Incremental or Transformational; handled poorly, then perhaps no Innovation at all. In terms of incremental Innovation, high processing speed (Points 1, 2, 3 from above) and even medium IT ‘turn-around’ speed (Point 4 from above) will make the difference between the product ‘sequel’ making an impact or some other company leapfrogging. In terms of Transformational Innovation which does not only involve product/service innovation, but also business model innovation, a high score across all 4 points above is critical.
Today we have In-memory, Big data analytics, Cloud solutions that makes it possible to carry out all these steps in a faster and surer way. Imagine what this can bring to a digital enterprise – Simplicity( which is the core of the business).
Software functionality and business processes are no longer the differentiators as it was in the time-to-market dominated era, in the new digital era Innovation stickiness (time-in-market) is key.
2.) Outside-In view on Innovation stickiness:
There are 3 E’s from a customers’ point of view that are crucial.
Imagine large retailers like Walmart with more than 4000 retails units in America or large ecommerce companies, banks – the amount of information that’s collected from transactional data (say billion plus records of sales data), browsing data and trending data in the region could be analysed in real-time to run highly effective campaigns and do campaign course correction to offers in real-time. From a customers’ perspective this is fantastic as the company is helping them achieve something in line with their preferences, its time saving and reduces research effort.
With in-store maps gaining popularity amongst customers to help them locate products or price comparison apps; contextually relevant real-time offers, content etc are more relevant than offline coupons and material which customers don’t tend to carry with them or simply don’t read through all the coupons/product material they get.
Effectiveness is not only a front-line issue, customers looking for the right product at the right place at the right time means having a smart supply chain management as well.
Business process and functionality used to give the edge in running businesses and customer relationship management, now it’s not even omni-channel experience. Customers simply expect companies to match their product/services experience with the brand promise made – differentiation is in the experience.
In retail, though the above example is about effectiveness, with the marketing, commerce, supply-chain unit so interconnected in order to deliver a good customer experience, any slippages would lead to a social media/PR disaster, affecting the brand perception.
Similar to intuitive web designs, customers are now expecting intuitive store designs or delivery mechanisms. With more and more customers using In-store map applications to locate products, traffic heat map data could be used to map it with sales data to build an intuitive store for a good customer experience. In Banks such applications could give alerts to branch managers when a high-value customer enters the branch, so that the manager can meet them and offer a personalised service (perhaps cross-sell, up-sell)
Continuous Innovation combined with effective customer interactions and good experience only makes customers anticipate the next launch more eagerly, creating a good pull factor. Future services/products have a better chance of being in line with or exceeding expectations due to the insights based on massive data sets across social, location, mobile, transactional information and results from running pilots.
When the market is changing at a rapid pace, crowd-sourcing plays an important role in continuous innovation. Time-to-market and Time-in-market need to go hand-in-hand by leveraging the customer, employee, influencer ecosystem to build a sustainable business and future.
Keen to hear you views.