Digital innovation

Digital innovation – teaching old dogs new tricks

Whether disruptive or gradual, innovation is at the heart of digital transformation. But in this case, technology needs to be imperceptible. Above all, we need to adapt our behaviour and skills to these new, digital issues. Below I outline how to innovate effectively using structured approaches and old tools within a digital transformation project.

The first thing to note about digital transformation is not only the need to innovate your product or service, but also your relationship with the client. Let’s call it “renewing the client experience”. But it’s not only that; innovation can and must be found throughout the organisation and within all its processes, if we want to be a high performing partner for our clients. These emerging challenges drive transformation forward and revisit the company’s priorities.

In other words, whilst technology has to become imperceptible and serve innovation, really what we are doing is teaching old dogs new tricks. Innovation is a new approach to thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours. We already have the right tools for the job, and they are already well established. It’s more a question of going back to basics, but with a different approach to using these old tools.

The shift in disruptive innovation

The entire company is affected by innovation. From its business models and products, from client relation services to the organisation itself. It impacts the company’s processes and means of communication, its management methods and technology used, right up to the working spaces.

In terms of strategy, disruptive innovation may be the digital curve in the road that companies should take if they want to stand out from the crowd and face up to increasingly strong competition. It’s not so much a question of transforming everything, but of adapting our skills and behaviour to new digital issues. To be truly “transformational”, an innovative approach is needed to support digital transformation.

An iterative approach to innovation

Successfully implementing innovation relies on iterative cycles to give structure to the development and creation process. This is also so we can develop and test concrete, “reliable” prototypes quickly using the Fail Faster principle.

Looking for creativity doesn’t mean that the innovation approach has to be devoid of structure. On the contrary, innovation specialists have developed different tools and methods, which favour and accelerate creativity, confront ideas and select the most relevant ones. Below I set out 4 of these methods:

1 – Innovation mix – don’t forget DNA

With regard to the company’s scope of innovation, finding the right paradigm and not working in isolation is essential. This model can be based on the experiences already familiar to the company’s sector but equally from other sectors of activity. Analysing what is being done already is necessary in this type of approach. Moreover, it’s important to understand and take into account the company’s DNA and to add value to it. Establishing your digital record, the company’s key DNA components, and identifying favoured strategic directions are some of the methods that you can adopt.

2 – Co-design methods

“Co-designing” brings together collective working methods used to co-design products, services, uses, new organisations or processes, as well as constructing a vision and a strategy. These methods all come together under a collaborative approach such as workshops and co-working sessions. The principle of collective working is to enable team players to co-design and co-create in a short, efficient time scale, whilst retaining a fun environment. This method is particularly efficient for ensuring that the “real”, most important needs are covered, as well as making sure that transformation projects are carried out well, particularly with regard to managing the changeover.

3 – Prototyping – an agile and stripped down approach

Today, the problematic issue isn’t finding ideas but classifying and choosing them, and then testing them out even if it risks failing with the user. To be relevant, innovation must be user-centric because it’s essentially founded on the relevance of the client’s experience and successful user experience (CX vs. UX). Innovation also makes use of all modern means of communication (enriched interfaces, omnichannel communications, etc.) by paying particular attention to user interface format through its design and ergonomics.

4 – Testing – valuing the user

It is necessary for the user to be fully involved in each phase of the disruptive innovation project. Equally, the test’s target user must be defined before the prototyping stage so as to identify each function that should be developed. The level of robustness and expected completion also need to be identified in order to start the experiment.

So, to move on from experiments that have already been carried out and to find disruptive ideas, the innovation approach really is a must. The required tools and methods are all within our reach, we just need to make the change.


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Ronan Lucas

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