What’s the opposite of innovation? I say it’s complacency, the thought that the status quo is good enough, and will always be good enough. Standing still in an age where technology and business just keeps moving faster is a recipe for extinction, a disaster for all stakeholders.
As a leader for companies large and small, consider that Data, Sensor, Software, Network and Operational Advancements will continue to automate, connect and serve people at lower costs. Understanding how and when that will happen for your company and industry is the key.
Kudos to industry giants who are taking their expertise, customers and knowledge from their established, and sometimes old-school industries to the new-new. Examples include what Ingersoll Rand, long known for its industrial products, is now impressively offering Nexia Home Intelligence featuring electronic locks and thermostats from standard manufacturers including Schlage and TRANE and managed over mobile and web interfaces. Consider also what Philips, the giant Dutch electronics company with a large footprint in healthcare, is providing for 7 million people and at-risk individuals with alert systems for falls, a medication dispensing service, and remote monitoring, and what corporate giants GE and IBM and Siemens are doing to move into the clean energy, big data and healthcare space, and what Samsung and Apple are doing to expand from mobile phones and software to healthcare monitoring and apps.
Below are ten factors to consider as you lead from the old way of doing things, to the new opportunities ahead.
- What are the opportunities ahead for your company and your industry as a whole? How close are you to a commoditization, where price is the main factor to consider? What will you do about it?
- What are the market and customer trends leading to this state, and what can you do to continue serving current customers in a new way? What are your customers’ suggestions and feedback?
- What’s right about what you’ve done in the past and how can it be adapted to what you need in the future?
- What are the hardware, software, operational, and other innovations that are transforming your industry or adjacent industries?
- How does your company’s offerings fit with these technological innovations?
- What are your strategies for innovating technologies internally or in collaboration with others?
- What are your customers asking for that you can’t provide, and what opportunity are they pointing to?
- Are you the right person to get your company from here to there? Are they the right people above, around and under you to deliver?
- What does complacency look like, sound like, feel like? How do you pose opportunities to shake up those that are too comfortable? How do you make it an idea they want and would lobby for?
- What if you, your company, your technology/product, your industry can’t go from here to there? What’s an elegant plan B? What would it take to get from here to there, and is it worth it?
We hope that the questions above help you expand your perspective beyond your usual thinking, speaking and doing, and shake up the complacency inside, around and over you.