Posted: 25 Jan. 2021 6 min. read

Unlocking the path to innovation-oriented business

What drives innovation and makes it successful today

There is no denying that businesses need to be innovation-oriented in order to face the future confidently. But what do we mean by innovation-oriented business?

To say you’re an innovation-oriented business really translates into having the organizational culture in place combined with the mindset of the people who constitute the larger whole. With the recent developments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business and industry are having to adapt and innovate at a faster pace than imagined. Businesses are seeing a huge need for continual innovation in order to survive, never mind thrive. We are constantly being challenged to think how to do more for less, improve speed to market, and identify new value streams.

The journey towards becoming an innovation-oriented business starts with recognizing that innovation starts with a mindset, and it needs to be afforded the space to flourish. This could entail new ways of looking at an existing element and challenging the status quo.

Innovation doesn't always have to be groundbreaking, but at the same time, it is not easy. It could vary in meaning—from experiencing a ‘wow’ moment to ‘I didn't even notice.’ Some innovation ends up being big hitting, while others simply make things easier or resolve pain points through innovative thinking. In all of this, if an innovation is successful, then it is likely to have a greater reach and impact than originally intended.


So, what drives innovation and makes it successful today?

Given that change is likely to yield several possibilities, it is important that we define which paths to choose and more importantly, which not to; while at the same time, remaining strategically aligned.

Focusing on what makes innovation successful today, there are three key pillars to consider—culture, environment and investment. Let’s look at each of them:

  • An innovative culture requires a growth mindset, diversity and the space to play. The reality is that not every innovation will be successful, but if failure is treated as a failure to deliver instead of an important learning experience, then the organization will never truly become innovative.
  • Next, consider environment. There are three environmental factors to keep in mind in relation to innovation—desirable, feasible and viable.  Sometimes it may happen that a concept is valid, but it is not feasible or viable.
    Similarly, in some instances, a concept may be feasible, but it may not be viable or desirable at that point in time. Thus, it is important that innovation have all three environmental criteria factored in—feasibility, viability, and desirability.
  • The third of these pillars is investment. It's a reasonable hypothesis that a business must accept the need to constantly innovate and evolve, otherwise it will fail. In essence, if you can accurately anticipate the changing environment and innovate with advancements in that sphere, say technology, then the innovation has a higher chance of success through adoption.

And let's not forget the need to fail fast and move on. No matter what the approach or framework, the technology or environment, successful innovation might simply be the difference between a good bet or a bad one. It is about making an educated bet and taking a leap of faith—the best we can do is to make sure that we create an environment and a culture where innovation can flourish.

Innovation doesn't just sit in one team, it is everyone's responsibility to contribute to the innovative culture, thereby leading to the deduction—mindset drives culture.


Summing it up

Successful organizations have innovation in their DNA, which acts in their favor while positioning for the future. To ensure they move forward in the right direction consistently, organizations need to focus on:

  • Supporting an innovation mindset
  • Recognizing the need for investment in innovation
  • Capitalizing on the constantly evolving environment and innovations that occur and their unintended consequences,
  • Choosing innovations that are truly going to make a difference

There are amazing advances in technology every day, but what really matters is how they can be applied to real life problems or opportunities.

At the end of the day, the question for us is where do we want to be on the bar of innovation? How open to change is the business and how much are we willing to really challenge and be challenged in our ways of working? These are introspective questions that every organization must ask.

About the author

The views and opinions expressed by the author in this post are solely those of the author in her personal capacity and do not in any way represent the views or reflect the policy or position or have an endorsement or authorization from her current, former, or future employers or any organization with whom she is or may be associated.

Key Contacts

Sian Newton

Sian Newton

Partner | Deloitte LLP

Sian is an IT Services leader with more than 25 years’ experience across technology, consumer business, professional services and UK regulatory sectors. As a Director at Deloitte LLP, she brings extensive expertise in advising CIOs and other stakeholders on how to drive forward strategy, innovation and transformation within IT. Sian’s track record in complex IT and business transformation delivery, combined with her strong stakeholder management skills and use of innovative critical thinking ensures ongoing synergies between business and IT strategies.