Is your organisation designed to innovate?

Many organisations are recognising the need to innovate their futures; however they are designed to maintain the status quo.

In the 1990’s when large organisations were trying to take the fat out of their processes, they worked out how to do things more efficiently by standardising and automating their processes. This may have cut costs and instilled the governances required to mitigate risk, but it came at the cost of agility. This thinking was driven as a response to competition. The assumption was that if you could do the same thing, more efficiently or effectively, you could compete more effectively. With the introduction of ISO 9000 and many other governing structures into hierarchically designed organisations, command and control became the order to the day.

With globalisation, it was not only the local market that changed, but global supply and demand. The expansion of the Internet, technological advances and more demanding and sophisticated consumers has further transformed the competitive landscape. Competition now comes from the most unexpected places, new opportunities abound and standardisation has led to unintended consequences. Business models, rigid processes and organisational designs that responded to the way things were, are now simply irrelevant.

Organisations now employ Knowledge Workers and need to relook the way that they harness these collective brains to exploit these opportunities. Unfortunately many of them are so involved with operational issues which are entrenched in the ways organisations are designed, that Innovation is rarely afforded the attention it requires.

Lots of organisations are discussing the importance of Innovation, but they are simply not set up to be Innovative. For example, what does an employee, who serves customers, do with a great idea about how to improve the service? Do you know whether there are universal aggravations in service delivery, which could be solved by a service delivery technician’s bright idea? Is the next great product idea on the mind of an employee, employed in another division, who is also a customer of your business and uses your products every day? Do you have a culture which fosters and stimulates Innovative thinking? Do you have the tools to enable them to collaborate with each other to come up with and develop ideas?

Many companies have Innovation managers and programmes designed around getting ideas from their employees, but these are often an add-on to the already over loaded job descriptions. They are not integrated into the way employees work. A prize or acknowledgement of an idea once a year, or 5% of KPA’s might generate a lot of ideas, but are they quality ideas or just popular, poorly thought through rehashes of old ideas?

Innovation is not just about great ideas; it is about the successful implementation of those ideas. Is your organisation able to respond holistically to those ideas? Are your financial systems set up to be able to accommodate new business models? Are your sales teams equipped to sell into new markets? Can your HR team identify the new skills that you require and adjust the remuneration for them accordingly? Do you attract the brightest minds available?

Innovation and agility need to become part of the way the modern organisation conducts business or its days will be numbered.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the innovation and technology. 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. This includes Innovation strategies, culture interventions, measurement tools and campaign development to release the power of Innovation.

Digital Bridges 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 or contact Kate Elphick on



1 Comment

Filed under Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Innovation

One response to “Is your organisation designed to innovate?

  1. Colin Crabtree

    Hi Kate,

    I think moving ones company from its current state to one of an “innovative state” is going to be one of the most challenging an important change management programs facing most companies over the next 5-10 years.

    I say most challenging as you are attempting to change personnel’s behaviors and attitudes and unlike some other change management programs such as technology, the propensity to receive resistance is high.

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