Technology touches every aspect of our lives, for good or for ill. The business landscape of the post-pandemic world is set to change. Throw out your preconceptions of digital innovation because not only have the markets changed but we have changed.
With 200,000 extra businesses closing during 2020, there are opportunities. As the old saying goes, you need to adapt or perish.
Let’s take a look at how you can grasp digital innovation and use it to uplift your business to the next level post-pandemic.
1. Align Innovation with Your Business Goals
Post-pandemic digital innovation is not just about implementing new technologies. It’s an entire mindset that focuses on agility, speed, and collaboration.
To begin with, it’s important to prove how digital innovation supports your wider business strategy. Ultimately, what you do doesn’t matter unless it leads to more customers, an improved business process, and greater revenue.
Before initiating any campaign of innovation, examine its potential outcomes and how they fit into your overall business goals.
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2. Telling Your Story via Video
Video marketing has never been more important. With most of the people being stuck to their smartphones for over a year, standards have grown. Of the 86% of businesses using video marketing, most of them will fail to meet the expectations of the modern consumer.
Video content is easier to consume for people on smartphones and is more likely to keep watchers engaged.
Home Depot is one such example of a company that’s innovating with corporate video. Not only do they post product videos on Facebook, but their website link also takes the viewer to their website, where another video is watching for them.
Using a brand overlay strategy, Home Depot has borrowed from Netflix by essentially allowing viewers to binge-watch their content without any input on their part.
Digital innovation with video has paid dividends, with a 52% average retention rate with this concept.
If your organization has yet to take benefit of this growing phenomenon, now is the time. A video-led form of digital innovation will not only bring you on par with existing businesses but help you to surpass them.
3. Use New Technology, But Backwards
From old technology to new technology, innovations like artificial intelligence and computational linguistics are offering exciting advancements for businesses.
But there’s a problem.
Most organizations look at these advances and rack their brains on how they can integrate them into their businesses. It doesn’t take much to miss what’s important.
Whenever you examine new technology, ask the following question: Does this innovation fulfill an unmet customer need?
In the post-pandemic world, there are going to be a lot of organizations making this mistake. Instead of implementing new technology for the sake of it, work backward instead.
Begin with customer needs, before considering whether a new piece of technology is going to solve them. By always thinking about the needs of the customer first, you’re maintaining a customer-centric approach to innovation, which is ultimately what drives revenue.
A perfect example of this approach in action is the Robo-advisor M1 Finance. The new AI-led technology was used to fulfill the needs of customers and to provide a superior investing experience, rather than forcing customers to see how this new technology could benefit them. You can find out more about this through this review on M1 Finance.
In the case of M1, they focused on fulfilling the unmet needs of customers. They moved faster than existing investment platforms and therefore managed to grow their revenues.
4. Destroy Self-Imposed Constraints to Change
Even the most innovative businesses tend to have areas of their organizations that they’ll never touch. The COVID-19 pandemic has successfully slain these sacred calves and imposed change upon all of us.
The lesson to learn from this mess is that nothing is ever sacred. Centuries of tradition have been upended in a matter of months.
For example, take the idea of remote working. Although remote working has been prominent for years, it was still considered to be something only young, creative companies indulged in. Established billion-dollar corporations would rarely even consider it.
Yet a survey from the National Association for Business Economics reveals only one in 10 companies expect all employees to return to the office and for pre-pandemic working arrangements to resume.
- U.S. economic productivity increased by 5%.
- Increasing attention on worker welfare.
- Companies realize they don’t need a giant office.
In 2019, the idea of corporations giving up their ivory towers and sending everyone to work from home was laughable. It was an idea instantly dismissed by every major business.
Yet, today, this enforced migration of the workplace to the digital world has shown that by challenging our own constraints, we can achieve great things.
Businesses in the post-pandemic world should start thinking beyond the usual areas of innovation. How can you alter the way your organization does things to cause mass industry disruption?
Look into the core of your business and consider whether changes can be made. Your findings could well supercharge your business’s growth and take it into the stratosphere.
5. Create a Culture of Digital Innovation
Digital innovation is often incorrectly boiled down to creating a new idea and implementing it before anyone else. This view of innovation is only part of the puzzle. Successful innovation means staying ahead of everyone else, but the only way to do it internally.
Creating a culture of digital innovation is the only option on the table. By doing so, you form the best team for the job and become highly responsive to the needs of the market.
But just how do you go about nurturing this culture?
- Make a Skunkworks: Allow your team to test and deploy their wild ideas in controlled conditions. You never know what might work.
- Real-Time Tracking of Markets: Don’t just carry about research when you need a new product/service. Implement real-time tracking of customers and their needs. The pandemic has shown us that things change faster than ever before.
- Learn to Listen: Empower people at all levels of your company to give suggestions and share ideas. Just as importantly, give credit where credit is due.
- See Failure as an Opportunity: It’s impossible to create a culture of innovation when people are afraid to fail. If an employee knows there are going to be consequences if they fail, they’ll never take risks. Make it clear that failure is a chance to learn and advance.
- Lead from the Top: The highest levels of your organization must lead this culture change. If you can’t do it, how will you empower others to do the same?
Like with any culture change, it will take time and cannot be forced. You may even need to freshen up your team and bring in some new faces.
6. Get Out of Response Mode
During any crisis, businesses switch their focus to responding to the crisis. The chief response to the COVID-19 pandemic was to adapt to different consumer lifestyles, buying habits, and behaviors. This is important because you need to be able to operate under a totally different set of conditions.
However, once a crisis has passed, the clock is ticking on how quickly you need to move on. Customers don’t want to hear about the crisis after it’s passed. They also don’t want to deal with a business that cannot move on.
The key to innovation within a crisis is to respond to it and meet the needs of your customers. The key to innovation after a crisis is to drive the change.
It’s so easy to slip into old habits and to stand still because things are working.
If you stay focused on the here and now, your organization becomes less of an industry disruptor and more of a disrupted organization, forever attempting to keep up.
7. It’s All About the Data
Businesses are blessed with more data than at any other point in history. To direct your innovation, you have to use it.
There’s no excuse to assume that your customers want something. You have the key business metrics to find the answer right now.
You can use some tools to discover who your customers are, what they like, and what they dislike include:
Innovation without vital, insightful data about your target audience is pointless. Too many businesses see innovation as a buzzword for change. Change without an idea of where you’re going is not going to drive the growth you seek.
You may also like: 10 Businesses That Are Booming in Covid-19 Pandemic.
Prepare for Post-Pandemic Innovation Now
The best time to cultivate an innovative workplace was yesterday. The second best time is today. Although the pandemic rages on, we are on the way out and the organizations that move fastest will reap the greatest rewards.
Great digital innovation requires a customer-centric approach on the front end and leadership to cultivate a workplace of innovation on the back end.
There’s no denying that it will take time to accomplish, but if you’re an organization driving the change, rather than waiting for the change, the effort could take your business to the next level.
What are you doing to drive digital innovation within your organization?