Dan West on why in­no­va­tion is the key to sur­vival.

In­no­va­tion is not the key to suc­cess, says Dan West. It’s the key to sur­vival.

New Zealand Marketing - - Contents - Dan West Dan West is dig­i­tal strat­egy di­rec­tor at FCB. Dan.west@fcb.com

In this year alone three leviathans of retail filed for bank­ruptcy. It was only two years ago Amer­i­can Ap­parel and Quick­sil­ver were turn­ing a se­ri­ous profit, whilst Ra­dioshack was once known as “the sin­gle largest seller of con­sumer telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions”.

They are just the most re­cent high pro­file ca­su­al­ties. A study from Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity es­ti­mates that 40 per­cent of to­day’s For­tune 500 com­pa­nies will no longer ex­ist in ten years and you can al­ready see busi­nesses that are go­ing that way, like Black­berry, Ko­dak, Ya­hoo and Nokia, to name but a few. Ad­mit­tedly they may rise like a phoenix, but they have a tough job on their hands as they will be for­ever play­ing catch up un­less they come up with some­thing re­ally revo­lu­tion­ary like Burberry.

We still need to get the ba­sics right— a solid prod­uct, strong ser­vice and fric­tion­less dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels—but that is no longer enough. Busi­nesses have to in­no­vate across all the en­tire cus­tomer jour­ney along with their prod­uct. Con­sumers are no longer go­ing to ac­cept se­cond rate ex­pe­ri­ences at any point. The old ex­cuses of in­ter­nal tech struc­tures op­er­at­ing in si­los, legacy equip­ment and “if it ain’t broke why fix it” at­ti­tudes have to be left where they be­long: in the past. Be­cause if you aren’t look­ing to in­no­vate at ev­ery cor­ner you will fast fall the way of the Dodo.

There are many ways to help keep ahead of the game, but here are a few to think about:

Keep an eye on GAFA (Google, Ap­ple, Face­book and Ama­zon). Th­ese four tech ti­tans are con­tin­u­ously break­ing new ground and not in ar­eas you’d ex­pect. Google, a search en­gine, in the last few years brought out Google Glasses, au­ton­o­mous cars and most re­cently an en­tire ro­bot­ics divi­sion. Face­book in the mean­time is pi­o­neer­ing Vir­tual Re­al­ity and Aug­mented Re­al­ity, Ama­zon is nav­i­gat­ing the le­gal mine­field of drone de­liv­ery units and Ap­ple keeps bring­ing out amaz­ing prod­uct af­ter prod­uct sup­ported by ev­er­more joined up and in­tel­li­gent ser­vices like ige­nius, ibea­cons, etc. Don’t be afraid to fail in­tel­li­gently. The term ‘fail fast and of­ten’ is bandied around like fail­ure is a good thing. That is not al­ways the case in the real world; some­times we can’t af­ford to fail. How­ever, at­tempt­ing noth­ing is worse. In­stead have a plan. A plan to pivot if things are not go­ing as an­tic­i­pated or even a plan to start again, but this time wiser from what did and didn’t work. Google last year pulled Google Glass with the prom­ise that it would take all its learn­ings, both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive, and in­ject it into fu­ture projects.

Learn from oth­ers. This doesn’t mean wait to see what the com­pe­ti­tion does and fol­low fast. It means see­ing what other in­dus­tries are do­ing, what in­no­va­tions and re­search is com­ing out of univer­si­ties, knowl­edge shar­ing with busi­ness part­ners, read­ing ar­ti­cles and blogs and even find­ing out what your col­leagues are up to. For in­stance, 3M holds a tech­ni­cal coun­cil once a month com­posed of lead­ers of ma­jor 3M lab­o­ra­to­ries to share knowl­edge. It’s th­ese events that have re­sulted in prod­ucts such as its in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar Post-it Notes. Don’t think you’re too big to fail. I can imag­ine Ra­dio Shack felt much the same way just a cou­ple of decades ago. Just be­cause you think your prod­uct/ ser­vice/sys­tem is great doesn’t mean your con­sumers do or will con­tinue to. Only a few short years ago mo­bile shop­ping, or in­deed a mo­bile ex­pe­ri­ence, was prac­ti­cally non-ex­is­tent. Now 55 per cent of Mil­len­ni­als are less likely to use a com­pany’s prod­ucts and ser­vices if they have a poor ex­pe­ri­ence on their mo­bile app. So if your com­peti­tor’s app does it bet­ter than yours, you can fast see your prof­its fall­ing.

Be rest­less. Never ac­cept the sta­tus quo. The mo­ment you sit back and re­lax af­ter a job well done some­one else will have changed the game. This doesn’t mean don’t cel­e­brate suc­cesses—this is im­por­tant too—but it does mean you can’t rest on your lau­rels. This is an ex­cit­ing age to be in, full of op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges; you just have to keep your eyes open to them.

Only a few short years ago mo­bile shop­ping, or in­deed a mo­bile ex­pe­ri­ence, was prac­ti­cally non-ex­is­tent. Now 55 per­cent of Mil­len­ni­als are less likely to use a com­pany’s prod­ucts and ser­vices if they have a poor ex­pe­ri­ence on their mo­bile app.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.