Ellen Trayhurn

Management Consultant

  • Innovation
  • Product Design
  • Design Thinking
  • Crisis Optimisation
  • Energy
  • Legal Services
  • Culture Change
  • Financial Services
  • Public Sector

15 Feb, 2021

Maximising Business Value Through Innovation

Disruption is forcing companies to innovate faster than ever before. It has never been more important for organisations to find ways to navigate uncertainty and demonstrate resilience. Businesses must adapt to survive. It is time to do away with the ‘wait and see’ approach and embrace disruption to tackle change head on.

of organisations strongly agree that successful digital transformation requires innovation at the enterprise level and across departments
more organisations now see business resilience as a top priority

* Harvard Business Review

Innovation is everyone’s job

Historically, businesses have struggled to innovate effectively as it has always been the same people in the same room coming up with the same ideas. A creative stalemate can arise when a small group of senior individuals drive a company’s strategy, without listening to the rest of the organisation. Empowering all employees to innovate is the key to overcoming this. The solution fit must be understood from a diverse range of perspectives and the right people must be included along the way. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental principles of successful innovation.

The list of opportunities is endless. To survive and prosper during times of disruption, businesses must look for ways to change their sales models, create new offerings, respond to rapid changes in customer behaviours and understand the threat of new competitors.

Risks are minimised and justified

Innovation, by definition, requires us to try something new and take risks. Aversion to risk taking has greatly reduced as businesses recognise the need for new ways of working in order to survive and grow. The risk of trying something new can be minimised through iteratively testing products and services. This allows ‘risky’ ideas to fail fast if customer needs are not met. Risk taking can be justified through quantifiable benefits. Further investment can be secured by reporting on the benefits achieved and value realised, allowing disruptive innovation to continue.

Key innovation principles

1. Design

"A focus on customer experience can generate a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction and economic gains of 20-50%" Forbes

To achieve sustainable growth, products and services must be designed to add maximum value. For innovation to be a success, solutions must be collaboratively designed to solve well-understood user problems, or poor adoption rates will lead to money and time wasted. ‘Working backwards’ by understanding the customer problem before beginning ideation ensures bias is eliminated. This keeps the user at the heart of the development process.

2. Continuous Improvement

At Chaucer, we believe that a product or service is never ‘done’. Successful products like the Amazon Kindle were originally designed to solve a single user problem (in this case accessing a book within 60 seconds) but have expanded to include additional components targeting user needs based on customer insights and data. The Kindle’s success is just one of many examples demonstrating the value of adopting an iterative approach to solution development. Eliminating complacency and accepting that solutions can always be improved allows businesses to adapt to ever changing customers and rise above their competition.

3. Adoption and Inspection

"70% of digital transformations fail, most often due to resistance from employees" Forbes

One might think that once a tool that solves the problem has been designed and implemented, there is nothing left to do. Even the best designed solution will not add value if a customer is unsure how to use it. In our experience, users need training on how to gain the most value from a designed solution. Through educating users on the problem being solved and how to utilise the solution, they are given ownership of that problem, increasing satisfaction and loyalty. When introducing a new solution, it is also important to check that it is being used as intended and that the problem itself has not changed, or all value is lost.

4. Patience

The 8-year development journey to launch the Amazon Alexa, and its subsequent success as a universally used product, demonstrates the value of patience in producing a solution that actually works for its users. Experimentation, testing and capturing feedback to iteratively improve takes time. However, it allowed Amazon to implement a revolutionary product that (literally) speaks to their users.

Disruption presents choices that are hidden in business-as-usual contexts. Fast paced innovation allows businesses to survive and flourish. The speed of vaccine development for COVID-19 illustrates the power of disruption in forcing companies to innovate, disturb the status quo and achieve what no-one thought possible.

To find out more about how Chaucer can help your organisation to identify new opportunities to innovative please contact Ellen.Trayhurn@chaucer.com.

Ellen Trayhurn

Management Consultant

“Innovative thinking drives business growth and transformation at pace.”

Ellen is an experienced Project Manager and Scrum Master. She manages complex projects in the Life Sciences sector and specialises in design thinking, innovation, data analysis and visualisation.

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