Digital technologies are transforming the way people gather information, how they work together, how they shop, and how they manage their daily lives. Companies need to adapt to these increasingly rapid changes in customer behaviour.
It is not enough to introduce one or two technologies here and there. Nor is it enough to change one or two processes but otherwise continue exactly as before. Business models need to be analysed from the ground up and prepared for transformation. Because the future will not be about the product itself, but the benefit it provides to the customer.
Lean Startup: Learning from entrepreneurs
Young entrepreneurs are already transforming multiple industries with disruptive business models. They turn existing approaches completely on their head, using digital technologies to create totally new products and services. These tend to have a short «time to market» and often create new markets in the process.
The «Lean Startup» approach described in the book by Eric Ries of the same name takes the focus away from long-term planning. Instead, the emphasis is on «learning by doing» through early market entry. The key elements of this attitude are:
- Developing products in short sprints, based on a backlog of ideas
- Developing prototypes as fast as possible
- Early market entry and rapid collection of customer feedback
- Analysing the market reaction and integrating this feedback into further development
Provision is also made for dead-ends to be identified in market testing. Either another alternative that has been developed in parallel will work, or the business can «fail early, fail fast, and fail cheap». This method significantly reduces time and money lost.
Failing forward: Mistakes are allowed
This way of thinking is often very difficult for established companies with entrenched ideas to adopt. This is where external assistance from a consultant with experience in change management, can make a big difference. An external expert provides the methodological support you need to guide you from the planning stage right through to implementation.
«Failing forward» – quickly learning from mistakes and continuing on with renewed energy – is a key element of a digital corporate culture. But this doesn’t just appear of its own accord. It is often the case that the organisation first needs to develop fertile «stem cells», for example in an «Innovation Lab», then transplant these to spread the concept throughout the organisation.
Working with a partner like ERNI, with consulting and methodological expertise around the interfaces between technology, processes, and people, creates an almost permanent «Innovation Lab» environment. This «Lab» can nurture the shared desire for change to create ongoing innovation. Successful examples then dissipate across all departments and shape the corporate culture in the long term.