29 June 2017

10 ways to promote innovation in your organisation in the digital age

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Innovation is a commonly used phrase in most organisations but how can it become a change agent for better business outcomes is the real challenge.

Here are 10 top tips for promoting innovation in your organisation in the digital age:

1. Be customer centric – for successful transformation from a traditional enterprise to a customer centric digitally enabled organisation, staff and management need to be brought along the journey of discovery. Solutions that align to the strategic goals of the organisation are of prime importance with customer centricity always a key consideration. It is important to note that those businesses that survived digital disruption are the ones that listened and responded to the changing needs of the customer.

2. Start Collaborative Communities – the creation of innovative groups including communities of practice and other collaborative teams with a common goal of thinking outside the box to discuss innovative solutions to common business problems should be encouraged.

3. Innovative Thinkers – collaborative groups need innovative thinkers rather than too many naysayers who try to invent ways to prevent good ideas from blossoming.

4. Anyone can have a great idea – often the best innovative ideas come from the staff that know their subject-matter and have most contact with the public. They don’t often get to go to the planning workshops where business goals are defined and their ideas can be overlooked.

5. Initiate Innovative Challenges and Reward Success – energetic alternative thinkers need to be given an outlet to put forward ideas and have peers discuss these ideas and add new perspectives at the start of the process of discovery. Creative ideas do not fully blossom until discussed and reworked with other professionals who are subject matter experts in the business or IT disciplines. Ideas that are deemed worthy need to be funded with the accolade provided to those involved in generating the idea and making it happen.

6. Promote Design Thinking – methodologies like Design Thinking help challenge the more traditional ways of thinking and help foster more innovative solutions much faster than was previously thought possible.

7. Begin with the end in mind – starting with the future state is important to better understand how the idea or solution would meet the strategic goals and direction of the organisation. Too often too much time is spent on analysing the problem and the current state without examining what is possible in the future.

8. Pick the low hanging fruits – innovative ideas that are easy to do, that result in a fair amount of success and provide a confidence boost to the team involved are best at the start. Often from early quick wins there is a steam-roll effect for other ideas to flourish.

9. Encourage Executives to Walk-the-floor – this is a great way for executives to pick up innovative ideas from staff who otherwise would just do their job and not tell anyone of significant improvements that can be made.

10. Innovation Hour – one hour a week is a good investment to make to allow staff to look at how they could change the way they do their job to improve the delivery of services to the customer or back office processes. An innovation portal can go a long way in capturing these ideas and opening discussion.


Technology may be the enabler in the digital age but organisations are unlikely to be transformed and deliver better customer services unless staff are encouraged to generate new ideas and discuss them in a collaborative community of innovators.



Nigel has developed innovative digital customer-centric solutions in his current role as Director and Owner of Strategic Architects and in his former managerial role of the Enterprise Architecture, ICT and Digital Strategy program at the Department of Housing and Public Works, Queensland. Nigel will be on a panel at the upcoming Australian Digital Government Summit in Sydney on July 25-27 2017 in Sydney.

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