As usual, Apple’s recent product announcements have caused a stir. Apple continues to better itself, with its iPhone 6S expected to beat previous Apple records for the number of pre-orders.The consumer tech firm doesn’t drastically change its hardware, but it does improve its user experience and operating system. Many businesses see Apple as leading the way in technology innovation and the brand creates a sense of disruption by giving consumers what they want, before they even know what they’re looking for. Apple’s mantra for innovation has spearheaded a new way to drive business success; differentiating based on customer experience. For example, private car hire and travel were industries that weren’t necessarily in ‘need’ of a shake-up, but Uber and Airbnb have turned these industries upside down by thinking about how to improve the customer experience, just as Apple created a mobile phone more intuitive than any before them. These smaller companies are shaking up traditional industries, unleashing new and agile competition for larger players. To stay relevant, businesses must address their customer experience and constantly innovate to ensure that they remain ahead of any encroaching competition. Here are four top tips for businesses to be more disruptive: 1. Close the ‘communication gap’ The division of accountability is often a major inhibitor to the creation of innovative processes. Instead businesses need to encourage roles and departments to be broken down so that there is further collaboration, which in turn leads to innovation. Talented people exist across the whole of a business, but the absence of cross-department relationships can prevent skills from being shared. For example, the marketing department will be trying to drive innovation within its customer relations programme, but we often see that they’re doing this in isolation from IT and customer service, who have access to data on customer interactions that could enhance this marketing project. Collaboration across businesses and the new perspectives this brings is a part of almost every successful innovation project – by looking to see if the answer exists within your business you can solve problems much more quickly. 2. Remember, innovation is a process Once different departments are collaborating, it’s important to remember that innovation is a process. Businesses need to be constantly thinking about how they can cause market disruption, because it’s not going to happen overnight. There are a few reasons why innovation can fail to materialise within businesses. Firstly, there is often more focus on the outcome of innovation, rather than its creation. Businesses have punchy targets to meet, so teams tend to concentrate on reaching these short term goals, rather than embarking on innovative transformation projects. For example, if a marketing team with monthly targets to hit is faced with digitising customer touchpoints, the team is more likely to dedicate resources to utilising existing channels, even though embarking on a new project could increase customer relations and improve the business for the long term. Businesses on a path to transform themselves should consider whether their business structure is organised for disruption and innovation to be a true possibility. In its purest form, innovation is the introduction of new things or methods and this comes when changes are made progressively, which collectively will drive the business forward.
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