Top Menu

Innovation is the key to sustained success

When did you hear the word ‘digital’ for the first time? If you can remember, you are not a digital native, but a digital immigrant – and that could have serious consequences for your business.

I have just finished reading two books on the impact of the digital revolution on our lives and our businesses: Future Minds and The New Normal.


Digital good for kids?

I always assumed that digital was good for kids. A recent book, The Kids Are Alright, explains that gaming and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. This is part of the new lean start-up wave of thinking. The idea is that you fail often and fail fast. The same is true for gaming, where you try and try until you get to the next level. This is why I allow my kids to play Xbox.

My assumption was wrong, however. Teenagers spend too much time behind computers and on the internet (an average of 11 hours a day). It is altering the way their brains work – and not in a good way. Apparently, too much time in front of screens impedes the development of the part of the brain that is about ‘deep thought’. Thus, we may end up with a generation of scatterbrains on our hands.


Mediate is the answer

Here is my advice: teach the Generation Y-ers in your company to meditate.

While you are meditating, you need not only consider how this impacts on family life but also on business. When digital is normal, where will your business be?

How much of your firm can be digitised? How much can be outsourced? What cannot be outsourced (that is your company’s ‘soul’)? The ability to be fast and agile is also part of the new way of doing business. How fast and agile is your company? This brings us to innovation, my favourite hobbyhorse. A recent book called Business Exposed suggests that innovative companies do not perform better. Another study from the same author says that businesses will ignore that fact.


Innovation = key driver for success

I passionately belief in innovation as a key driver for success. To innovate successfully, you need to create open, innovation networks and encourage ‘serendipity’. A warning for management system freaks here: ISO and TQM kill serendipity.

I am happy to report that all the books agree that, in a world of information overload, constant flux and commoditisation, you need to look for the odd or strange things and run with them. Stop playing chess and start playing poker.