Organizations large and small struggle with the idea of innovation for two reasons. The first is that innovation is complex and should be a concern at every level of the organization. The second, and even more important, is the fact that innovation is not a static goal, but rather a process whose project is unending. In other words, to be truly “innovative,” a company cannot rest on its laurels, nor can it ever believe that it is “already innovative.” Recognition of this reality brings us closer to a growth mindset, one that embraces the very premise of Experience Innovation.
To get a better understanding of how companies are dealing with obstacles in the way of their growth, Dale Carnegie surveyed 500 business leaders from 12 countries. The discoveries in this study, pointed to important realizations about innovation, its core philosophies and a shift in understanding how successful organizations innovate. The broad findings indicate that successful companies innovate in everything they do, and all the time.
The tendency for most organizations is to take note of the changing environment or to respond to evolving consumer preferences. The result is to put something in place that responds to those changes. Once this has been established, the organization or department responsible for that initiative will mistakenly see the need for innovation as having been met. A perfect example of this was Montgomery Ward, which is often cited as an early precursor to Amazon, shipping mail order products to customers in hard to reach places. Ward had shaped the market for over one hundred years, yet when the company stalled in its innovation, not responding quickly enough to technological changes in the latter 20th Century, the decline of the retail giant was all but history.
The wake-up call provided by this research is that a best-in-class company will launch an initiative, and through a never-ceasing commitment to creativity, will continue to examine ways to make the initiative more relevant, and better suited to its employee base and market. For companies today, that innovation often takes the form of new business models, for instance Google’s acquisition of smaller innovating companies, and Apple’s reliance on other software writers to create content for their hardware.
The findings of the Dale Carnegie research helped shape a new model and conception of Experience Innovation. It recognizes that innovation cannot simply focus on products or services. Rather, innovation is a factor of the human experience that defines organizations: innovation surrounding the internal human resource and innovations that center on the markets served by the organization.
Our research highlighted the six areas of Experience Innovation to include:
Market Experience Innovation
1 Proactive customer acuity: inventing and reinventing efficient ways to build consumer insights
2 Personalization through technology: developing and updating technologies tailored to each customer
3 Skilled experience ambassadors: continuously improving the way employees represent the organization’s brand
Workplace Experience Innovation
1 Building a workplace of choice: finding better ways to hire, engage and retain top talent
2 Culture of continuous learning: an enterprise-wide mindset that learning is critical, desirable, achievable and feasible
3 Schedule and location agility: responding to employee experiences and needs by redefining how and where they do the work of the organization
For companies seeking to be defined by innovation, it’s important to remember that there is no real “finish” line. Rather, innovation is better thought of as a series of lines that must be perpetually repositioned and redefined even as the race continues. The mindset of Experience Innovation is one of relentless effort, determined focus and commitment to reinvention. In this series of articles, we’ll examine how to adapt this continuous commitment to innovation across the internal and external areas.