Don’t innovate for innovation’s sake

Embarking on a digital transformation project can be exciting for many organizations – especially when customers, prospects, employees, and wider stakeholders feel the changes in a positive way. However, if the motivation to undergo a programme is purely for vanity or because a competitor is doing the same thing, it’s likely to fall flat. That’s because innovation isn’t simply a case of rolling out a new product or service without substance or thought. Instead, it’s about adding value, as Carol McGrotty, head of transformation for cloud disruptor firm Vapour, explains.
Embarking on a digital transformation project can be exciting for many organizations, especially when customers, prospects, employees, and wider stakeholders feel the changes in a positive way. However, if the motivation to undergo a programme is purely for vanity or because a competitor is doing the same thing, it’s likely to fall flat.
That’s because innovation isn’t simply a case of rolling out a new product or service without substance or thought. Instead, it’s about adding value, as Carol McGrotty, head of transformation for cloud disruptor firm Vapour, explains.

The term ‘digital transformation’ is nothing new in the business world, and yet there are still misconceptions about what it truly means. Today, colleagues will be sat in their respective boardrooms thinking of ways to ‘freshen things up’ which is an exciting prospect in many instances – as long as they’re doing it for the right reasons.

Yes, organizations must continuously reinvent themselves to remain relevant. However, the answer isn’t always to roll out a transformation project without a plan, objectives or KPIs. Companies that do go down this route will often see their poorly executed project come up against various hurdles which could potentially result in damaging brand loyalty.

Transformation should therefore centre on driving business growth, streamlining operations or inspiring innovation. It must be delivered on the back of an effective solution that fixes a problem that individuals have been experiencing – whether customers, employees, or wider stakeholders.

And the truth is, while the end goal is vital when determining how a project has fared, the most important stage often revolves around the question of, ‘how does this plan add value?’ To get to this point, there are even more queries to consider, such as:

  • Why should the organization embark on a digital transformation project?
  • What’s in it for stakeholders?
  • How can the team provide evidence that the plan will make things better?
  • How will the roll out be monitored and measured?
Digital transformation doesn’t have to bust the business budget

Another misconception is the belief that to embark on a transformative program, an organization must have a bulging bank balance. However, the good news is that to evolve processes or streamline operations, it doesn’t necessarily have to cost the earth or be a hugely revolutionary change.

For example, it could be a simple case of focusing on marginal gains – such as some simple robotic process automation – to empower a better outcome. And the work involved? Minor tweaks, but ones which will ultimately make a huge difference. Many organizations forget too that there is the option of rolling out a pilot scheme to understand reaction and provide another way to respond to feedback – both good and bad – without breaking the bank.

Empower employees to challenge the status quo

Additionally, these types of projects don’t always have to fall to the C-suite or a senior level employee with ‘technology’ in their job title. Typically, the individuals who are most passionate about the initial idea can often be the best people for the job because they believe in it, and can visualise how to bring it to fruition.

In this instance, colleagues with curiosity are critical because they are not afraid to question ‘how things have always been done’ – as long as they can provide a viable solution to make things smoother, swifter, and slicker.

Creating an environment where every individual’s voice is heard – and which embraces innovation – is more likely to inspire ‘lightbulb’ moments from various members of the team, and hopefully provide the innovation that’s required to help reinvent the company’s offering based on substance and value.

Not every project will go smoothly

Finally, an important point to stress is that there are likely to be bumps in the road during any transformation project. Therefore, it’s vital all scenarios are prepared for well in advance, and employees know the role they play – whether faced with Plan A, B or C. Responding positively to hurdles, even when they may appear difficult at first, can be the difference between a programme stalling or flourishing despite those initial setbacks.

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Overall, a transformation project must add value. The idea in the first place should be less about vanity and more about a need that has presented itself – whether based on customer feedback or an employee simply asking the question ‘why do it like that when this way is quicker, slicker or smarter?’ Superficial plans that are created purely to go head-to-head with a competitor may still gain some traction and attract customers and prospects. However, if an organization wants to transform an existing product, service, process or operation to generate brand loyalty, develop company culture and result in a positive bottom line impact in the longer term, a project of this type should always come back to value.

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Amber Donovan-Stevens

Amber is a Content Editor at Top Business Tech

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