Possibilities Podcast Episode: 8
Often when we think about innovation, we think about the big things like blockchain or machine learning.
But innovation can also be simple — like adding a button to a screen that reduces the time it takes for someone to complete a task by ten minutes.
To that user, the button is massively innovative, even though it might seem elementary to others. Innovation is in the eye of the beholder.
Either way, you’ve got to be very deliberate in how you strategize and communicate innovation. On an episode of the Possibilities podcast, we interviewed Brenton O’Callaghan, head of SAP Innovation at Mindtree to talk more about this topic. Brenton shared his expertise on how to approach digital transformation.
Put Aside the Technology & the Grandiose Visions:
We use technology to help us solve problems. But ironically, to solve the problem the right way, we can’t start with technology.
If you start trying to solve some of these big digital transformation issues with an agenda that is technology associated, then you've already lost. That’s because you’re trying to craft a vision or a solution that will fit a preconceived technology.
Probably the biggest challenge people face with digital transformation is just how to get started.
A lot of executives and boards want to modernize, to transform in the era of Netflix and Uber. While those are great visions, a lot of people struggle to understand the real, meaningful steps they can take to get started on that journey.
Here’s how you start: You put everything aside. Forget about this grandiose vision. Forget about the technology, the people, and the things that restrict you from innovating.
Forget all of it.
And then think about your business on its best day. What would it look like on it's best day, in your wildest dreams?
That's a great place to start.
Embrace the Creative Ideas:
If that’s where you’re starting, you’re going to start getting what might be considered off-the-wall ideas.
Write them down anyway.
Those ideas are not worth ignoring. In fact, they're worth embracing.
Because by the end of the session, you’ll look back at those ideas and realize they’re actually possible. And those ideas are the ones that are likely going to transform your business for the better.
Prioritize to Ensure You Leave With Actionable Ideas:
You need to uncover where those out-of-the-box ideas could really move the needle for the business, the end users, and your customers.
To do this, you need to prioritize.
Which ideas will be high-value? Which will be quick to deliver?
When you think this way, you immediately start seeing items that, if you start working on today, will deliver immeasurable value to the business.
You want to walk out of this process with executable ideas and mini projects that, when complete, will be so beneficial and visible to your user community that they will create demand for more.
If you start delivering value, quickly, then your end users will want more.
Start Delivering With 3 Streams:
Start by making changes in 3 areas.
The Business Stream:
First, you have the business stream. This is where you start delivering quick wins, or optimizations. Pick processes that could be slightly optimized to deliver measurable benefit.
Next, let's automate some things. Take some mundane tasks and try to automate them.
Once you've optimized and automated, you've freed up people's time so they can differentiate.
The Data Stream:
Understand your data landscape today. How mature are you from a data perspective? What aspects of your data landscape could be used to power the automation for your business?
If you realize your data is an asset, and if you figure out a better way to use it, the data you have sitting there — that's not working for you today — can deliver incredible value to your end users and customers.
The Technology Stream:
Technology comes third because it's simply a supporting function.
Only when you know what you want to do, why you want to do it, and what data you’re going to use to support that, can you look to choose the right technology to support that going forward.
Keeping Your Business Running While Innovating:
Digital transformation is a complex journey.
So, you need to find a way to traverse that journey while lowering your risk.
Look at how you might be able to use next-generation tech to keep the business running while you're innovating. For example, how could you start automating and introducing intelligence into your support functions? That will keep the business running but will also be seen as an innovation.
Little changes like this will help you lower costs and focus on the longevity of your business, all while helping your focus on innovation.
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