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We are witnessing many companies spending a good fortune on Innovation. The arrival of new technologies and increased competition have left IT leaders in a quest for new ways of innovation. From empowering business to creating a better experience for both employees and customers, the spotlight is on IT leaders to deliver innovation. Today’s IT leaders are way ahead in terms of leveraging technology to empower their business to mitigate any critical challenges or improve their service. While they are ready to devote a good deal of their time for innovation, the challenge lies in identifying the opportunities for innovation. How can you know if there is a valuable innovation that can be created frugally?
A successful frugal technology innovation strategy begins with the insight that enables you to spot opportunities for innovation among adversities. The challenge is in identifying that ‘Eureka’ moment when an improved version of a product or service can be introduced in place of an existing one.
For example, consider the case of Suzlon Energy Ltd set up by the windmill magnate Tulsi Tanti. In the early years when his polyester yarn factory faced a major challenge in the form of unavailability of electricity, he sensed an opportunity for wind energy to power his factory and bought turbines to mitigate this challenge. Again, they faced a major challenge with the maintenance of these turbines as companies that sold them had little to do with the maintenance. This is when Tanti finally decided to overcome the challenge by innovating and setting up their own Suzlon wind farms to harness electricity.
At every step, they faced a large number of adversities whether it is in the form of permission from officials or capital arrangement. In the end, Suzlon Energy Plant was set up successfully that helped Indian factories with electricity requirements. This is an ideal example of sensing an opportunity for innovation and executing it in a frugal, yet cost-effective manner. Now, how does this happen?
Observe your customers. In this fast-pacing digital era, sensing the trends in customer behaviour is a prominent factor helping innovation. As we analyse their interests, we can slowly understand what requires to be done or modified to satisfy their requirements. If it is a product, innovation can happen through understanding customer behaviour in the form of new features or updates. Active listening to your customers helps you identify the real customer needs and the focus for ideation.
Once you are successful in finding the missing element, the next step is to check if an alternative to that solution is available in the market. As in Tanti’s case of setting up Suzlon, he sensed the high opportunity in harnessing wind power for India factories and the difficulty associated with the maintenance of these windmills. This gave him the idea of building a wind power plant that could help the Indian factories overcome the challenge of electricity and spend less on the maintenance cost of these turbines.
You also have to be tuned in to what your competitors are doing. There’s no benefit in having a gloriously ideated solution at a point when a competitor introduces a better or cheaper one. Getting the timing right is crucial.
How hard is it to innovate? We all know continuous innovation is essential. Novel and valuable concepts take a good amount of time to surface, implement and succeed.
At Ignitho, our core focus has been in helping organisations towards their innovation journey through our platform ‘Ignitho Innovation Labs’. Through Ignitho Innovation Labs, we engage with you to develop your ideas and develop your innovation strategy. Then help you to build a pilot/proof-of-concept of your ideas using a frugal approach, which can later be matured into highly defined software products. Collaborating with a world-renowned professor from Cambridge University, we have developed a methodology that takes frugal principles and then applies them to the development of software prototypes. In addition to this, our group of Peers is there to guide you through every step of your innovation journey and make a success out of it.
To further understand and learn how we convert these insights into feasible, frugal and cost-effective ideas, stay tuned for my next blog which covers the aspect of visioning.
John built a career in management consulting, establishing DigitasLBI's global Digital Business Design practice and Curve in London and New York, transforming many of the world's leading organisations. John is an expert facilitator, certified team coach and engaging speaker. A participant in the groundbreaking global creative leadership course, THNK, John's joining forces to catalyze breakthrough solutions to the world’s societal challenges.