When can you call yourself innovative? The word innovative is used inappropriately by many organizations and it has everything to do with knowledge development and being able to spot opportunities.
Knowledge development is the only way to gain a head start or competitive advantage. All kinds of small teams, often with the help of agile methodologies, think that the organization is making huge steps forward.
But is that really so?
Are you really developing something new or are you building on what is already there?
A confronting question for CEOs and CIOs: Do all those dearly spent Pounds on all kinds of IT projects deliver innovative value, but also the necessary extra turnover?
There is a chance that ‘innovation’ means nothing more than the further development of something existing that may already be in the decline phase of the Product Life Cycle model. In other words, you are trying to upgrade your traditional business model, without realizing that you have been overtaken by a new player in the market for a long time.
A recent example is that suppliers of digital cameras should have invested a little earlier in the development of smartphones. Calling with a camera, instead of taking pictures with a smartphone.
Building on what is already there can also be related to work processes. Automation makes it seem like innovation has taken place, but it often happens that traditional work processes are only made digitally. Without thinking about whether it can be done differently, less complex and faster in fewer steps. That is why new knowledge is an absolute necessity for survival.
Put strategic knowledge development on the agenda
In rapidly changing times, there may be more often that gut feeling that something else must happen. Competition comes from several, often unexpected sides and in larger numbers.
Directors will feel greater pressure and responsibility to keep everyone working.
Yet there is something remarkable.
It is exemplary that strategic knowledge development is hardly, if at all, on the agenda of board meetings.
What is discussed concerns matters such as turnover, costs, budgets and temporary projects. Probably because management members like to have measurable KPIs. Yet we do not always know whether this really makes a difference.
What then belongs to strategic development in the field of knowledge? In any case, it requires a culture change, freeing up more time and space to really give innovation the meaning of “making something new and unique”.
The first important step is to include innovation as an agenda item in the weekly management meeting and not to want to make everything measurable immediately.
Real innovation means developing new knowledge from a learning organization
The necessary cultural change mainly has to do with the fact that developing knowledge is not something you just add.
Knowledge development should be an integral part of the job for every employee. Successful employees simply have an infectious effect on the other employees.
Where a learning culture develops, the entire organization will develop much faster. People like to learn from other people who inspire them and who serve as an example.
Yet many managers tend to keep employees in a certain straightjacket. Disastrous, because you should embrace any initiative for personal development.
Where there is an employee’s motivation, you should not miss any opportunity. Because nowadays it is already difficult to plan two or three months in advance, you never know what your organization will need in the future.
Encourage employees to develop broadly and inspire other employees by sharing successes.
Why is broad knowledge development especially important for IT?
Organizations that want to be and remain innovative will realize that IT plays a crucial role in this.
It is interesting that there are IT functions that are made redundant by IT innovations. Sometimes IT shoots in its own foot. Certain technologies will disappear and who is the specialist in them suddenly no longer has any value for the organization.
As an example, are IT helpdesk employees still needed when a large percentage of customer contact can take place via automated chatbots?
That is why broad knowledge development is especially important for IT. Continuously pre-sorting for what is to come.
To be truly innovative
Business opportunities can only be spotted if there is enough IT knowledge in-house. As a result, CEOs and CIOs will experience that real innovation is suddenly reached from all kinds of unexpected angles.
That is why stimulating continuous development in the field of knowledge must be one of the more important strategic concerns. New knowledge on the radar and no scrumming about what is already outdated.
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