“In this century, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result. ”
Allan Ryan, Executive Director Hargraves Institute
Most businesses realise they can no longer operate successfully using the approach they took five, or even two, years ago. They understand that customers lose interest or forget about inactive brands and that the competition is vying for their attention, many with bolder adverts and better messaging. They realise this because they remember the infamous “Kodak Moment” where a trusted and loved brand failed to move with the market and went into bankruptcy.
To move forward, and stay ahead of the competition, businesses have to make changes. The changes don’t need to be big; they just have to add value to the business. A balance of small and large changes will ensure the greatest success.
Innovation is key to improved performance and growth.
We are constantly told to innovate, yet the word ‘innovation’ or even the idea is often baulked at. While companies like Google, Apple, Samsung and Amazon are synonymous with ‘innovation’, all sorts of other companies innovate too. Think Cochlear, Coca-Cola Amatil, Griffith Hack, MYOB, Roche, Sydney Trains, Meat & Livestock Australia, Sydney Water – all highly innovative and successful organisations. Innovation is simply creating a change to make what we do – in work and life – easier or better. As leaders, our aim is success, not innovation; innovation is merely a tool.
Cost is often considered a barrier to innovation, yet innovation isn’t expensive. Apple spends one-third of Microsoft’s R&D budget, with better results. Rather than focusing on creating innovative products, focus on services and engage with customers. Coca Cola doesn’t change the ingredients of Coke; it just refreshes its image and approach. Rather than try to invent, borrow ideas and share knowledge to benefit from peer experience.
Collaboration is key to innovation, and innovation is essential to growth.
Collaboration is a successful tool for every business; the smartest person in any organisation is no match for a team of great minds. External collaboration is a valuable strategy; sharing experience and insights with peer leaders (through a non-competitive environment) to learn what other businesses are doing leads to cost-effective, revenue-driving innovation. Collaborative forums are an ideal space to gather ideas and collaborate. Indeed, Hargraves was founded for this specific purpose.
But no matter what you do, the most important tool is action – do something, do anything, but do it now. If you choose to do nothing, then at least smile for your ‘Kodak Moment’.