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Why innovation velocity matters now more than ever

There are three ways that executives and CIOs are adjusting

calendar icon July 9, 2021

The post-pandemic world has proven itself to be everchanging and has caused a monstrous cultural shift in how consumers value and use products. This has caused a domino effect in changing how innovators think and create; how sales and marketing people promote; and how consumers value and ultimately purchase products. COVID-19 has taught executives important lessons, reminding them of what makes good innovators and entrepreneurs: flexibility, the ability to change with the times, along with a commitment to creative, out-of-the-box innovation tools and practices.

The state of innovation following a global crisis

A recent McKinsey report suggests that few business leaders feel equipped to combat the challenges COVID-19 presented. In fact, ⅔ of the executives interviewed admit this has been the most challenging moment in their executive career, knowing that their actions now will have a “lasting effect on their customer’s needs and wants over the next 5 years”.

On the other hand, “nearly ¾ of executives agree that changes brought about by COVID- 19 will be a big opportunity for growth with variation across the industry” (McKinsey & Company).

Executives across over a dozen fields, including many from the technology, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals and financial services industries see this time as an opportunity to analyze consumption patterns, reevaluate processes, and make plans for bettering their ability to scale innovation efforts.

Taking Steps Toward the Future

There are three ways that executives and CIOs are adjusting to this new way of innovating in order to find solutions to best serve their customers and increase their innovation “velocity.”

The first way is through expanding their capacity to understand customer needs. It is critical that companies dedicate resources toward gathering customer insights and bringing this information to the teams responsible for delivering an exceptional experience. Typical investments include people and technology dedicated to social listening; automated surveys triggered via interaction with the company across different touchpoints to measure satisfaction and what is driving it; chatbots to quickly ask and answer questions, provide support and surface information that could be beneficial based on their behavior and interactions with the company; focus groups to test product concepts, messaging or marketing ideas; and company events specifically dedicated to learning more about customer needs and expectations while acknowledging customer loyalty.

The second way to increase your innovation velocity is to focus on building distributed partner ecosystems to provide additional market insights, connections to companies investing in disruptive technologies, and access to industry expertise to fill gaps in intelligence and product development. As the startup community becomes more and more fragmented, having eyes and ears in Silicon Valley, Singapore, London, and Tel Aviv isn’t sufficient to keep pace with the rate of change. Companies need to develop strategies to gain access to potentially hundreds of regions where a dedicated presence isn’t practical — you need to create “virtual density” across a global startup ecosystem.

Finally, one can’t underestimate the importance of technology and automation. Purpose-built tools and innovation management platforms such as Startgrid enable big companies in financial services, pharmaceuticals, and other fields to digitize and scale their processes. As many parts of the world have turned to tech to stay connected and informed over this past year, the innovation field has become more focused on how technology can help overcome barriers and discover solutions faster than ever before.

In summary, the past 18 months have tested almost every aspect of society. However, the resulting changes are advancing practices in innovation and opening new opportunities for any company of any size anywhere in the world.