Why innovation is critical to the future of your company


Every business is trying to deal with change. Whether it is structural changes in the economy, the impacts of globalisation, a changing workforce, powerful social media or how to make the transition to a service based “knowledge economy”, where the consumers have the power, we have to adapt or become irrelevant.

In responding to these changes, success is dependent on the development of new products, services and ways of working to achieve sales, add value, improve customer satisfaction and develop an employment base dominated by high skilled, well paid knowledge-intensive jobs in the most effective way.

Innovation is also a powerful way of getting the most out of our employees. Most employees these days are employed for their minds and these should be harnessed for the benefit of the company. But regardless of whether they are knowledge workers or labour, they are also part of the community which our businesses serve. Many of our employees are also customer facing. As such they are often in a better position to spot opportunities than those people in the ivory tower who have been conditioned by past experiences of the way things used to work.

Innovation is absolutely essential to safeguard and deliver high-quality jobs, successful businesses, better products and services for our consumers, and new, more environmentally friendly processes. Innovation is about benefiting from the ideas that are new to our company.

Innovative ideas don’t necessarily have to be completely ground breaking. Nor do they have to be focused on new products. An innovation can be as radical or incremental as is necessary and can relate to our products or services or the way that we make and/or deliver them to customers.

Research tells us that innovative firms are twice as profitable (on average) than other firms (Managing Innovation by J. Tidd, J. Bessant, K. Pavitt, 2005), but innovation is becoming less and less of a luxury. The choice is to grow or disappear.

There are two ways to grow “either through mergers and acquisitions or through innovation” (“The New Organisation – A survey of the company”, The Economist, p.8, January 21st 2006).

While we are exposed to trends in the global economy, the bleak reality for South African companies is that our international competitors, especially in Europe and the U.S. are winning in the innovation stakes. However South Africa has some very specific conditions which are similar to other countries in the developing world. Large parts of our population have very low levels of education, extreme poverty is rife, Internet penetration is growing and infrastructure is failing, just to mention a few. We need to innovate for our unique conditions and then to export these Innovations to the rest of the world, where similar conditions prevail. The opportunity lies in developing more relevant products for our conditions and to look at how we price and deliver them to reach new markets. New business models and ways of managing people differently all spell out ways to improve our bottom line.

More and better innovation is essential for the survival of our companies and for our economy.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country. We offer Innovation services to grow organisations and equip them for change.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Crowdsourcing, Innovation

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