5 Key Elements That Drive Innovation and Growth in a Business
Since the pandemic, we have observed a steady recovery and steep rise in corporate venture building, especially innovative ideas that are constantly responding to changes in technology, and filling in the market gaps. However, as the reality of growing a business is not a bed of roses, not all companies are successful in executing their plans. In this 3 min read, we explore the core factors that could make or break a company.
Words: Jessica Mok, Photo: Creative Dock archive
1. Asking the Right Questions
It may seem simple but it is a daunting challenge when it comes to qualitative research. Properly worded questions can prevent unconscious bias or confirmation bias (the unconscious effort to ask questions to get the desired answer) when testing the market’s needs. If not done correctly, it can manipulate the quality of market data which may not necessarily reflect the true sentiments of the target audience.
“Is the apple sweet?” vs. “How does the apple taste?”
It’s natural to have the tendency to formulate questions that confirms our beliefs, views, or simply previous opinions. Thankfully, with an emerging scientific field in innovation, there are new methods to help us frame questions in a non-subjective way, thereby eliminating our unconscious tendency to get confirmation.
2. Awareness of Biases and Psychological Constraints
Touching a little on the previous point, being aware of the multiple cognitive biases such as the halo, Barnum, and anchoring effect stops us from drawing false conclusions which could lead to errors in decisions and judgments. Some of the ways to combat biases are to seek multiple perspectives from different groups, consider current factors that may count as an influence in the decision-making process, and embrace the opposite to widen our horizons.
3. Ambition or Innovation?
The innovation-ambition framework helps determine if one wishes to innovate the core business or if the ambition is to disrupt the market. This is a purely strategic decision that may not be related to the actual size or current growth of the organization. Example: startup at the early stage has no growth but an ambition to disrupt. On the other hand, big companies are growing crazily but focusing on their core business with their innovation activities.
In recent years, we have observed numerous startups changing how industries work, evolving the definition of what the industry is, and showing us what is possible.
Martina Vošková, Creative Dock’s Methodology Lead says, “Sometimes it makes more sense to innovate the client’s core business and concentrate solely on the business case and short-term profitability. Other times, clients desire to disrupt and we put an emphasis on the level of innovativeness. Personally, I am rather focused on strategic elements of innovation than reaching beyond the limits of possibilities. Of course, it is attractive but I believe crossing the barriers of the unexpected is a result of years of disciplined work rather than early-phase ideations. It might be related to my opinion that radical innovations are actually built through incremental steps and hard work.”
If embraced by leadership, diversity drives innovation by creating an environment that encourages outside-the-box thinking. When minorities are part of the workforce and leaders value cultural differences, all employees can persuade managers, owners, and directors to develop innovative ideas. The more diverse the team is, the easier it is to overcome all the biases mentioned in the first question and develop unconventional solutions. Some of the characteristics that make up exceptional talents are eagerness to learn new things, curiosity to always go beyond the superficial, drive to rise above failures, entrepreneurial spirit, discipline to execute exceptional research, and a can-do attitude; which brings us to the next point.
5. Attitude of an A-Team
A smart, dynamic, flexible, and quick learner. These are some of the attributes needed in venture developers. Picking up business basics will be a breeze for such people as they view mistakes as learning opportunities. It’s a matter of practice; the more projects you’ve been through, the better you can anticipate, plan and lead a team.
By simply getting your hands dirty, in a few months, you gain experience and knowledge that would otherwise take you years.
Creative Dock’s strength is that we look not only into short-term trends the client is often familiar with but we also combine them and explore long-term and macro trends. The short-term horizon is actually nothing in terms of meaningful innovation. Corporate Venture Building is therefore even built on the ability to correctly interpret research outputs in the field of strategic foresight. Thanks to strategic foresight tools, we are in touch with early-stage and long-term trends, combinations of both, and have an open-minded approach within the ideation phase, which allows us to build truly transformational innovations disrupting the market. Please find out more here or join forces and contact our Venture Builder Supervisor Serge Dupaux.