Why do some companies succeed while others fail? I believe the answer lies in their commitment to innovation. Recent McKinsey research shows how innovation is a critical driver of business growth. If you look back in time, some of the most successful companies in the world accelerated their growth through innovation. Even during our current Covid-19 crisis, innovation continues to be one of the top-three management priorities for almost two-thirds of successful global companies.
But how does an organization foster innovation?
For starters, innovation isn’t something that can be brought about solely by spending more on R&D. Arguably the most innovative companies in the world such as Apple, are known to dramatically underspend on innovation in comparison to their peers. Steve Jobs once famously said, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have…It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
Innovation, wellness and technology – all go hand in hand
It’s no secret that the ability to innovate is closely related to an individual’s wellness. Studies have shown that employees with poor wellness are less productive, less innovative and less perceptive. This is particularly relevant today given how the pandemic has greatly influenced health and the mental wellness of so many of us. Surging personal and professional responsibilities have led to an unprecedented increase in anxiety, depression and burnout.
On the flip side, when people have greater wellness, they are more inclined to practice innovative thinking. Lower stress levels and anxiety, work-life balance and positive engagement with others has a profound influence on creativity and innovation.
Finally, everyone has the potential to innovate and ideate, but the absence of appropriate tools and technology often result in them failing. Organizations must determine which tools and technologies are most relevant for improving wellness and fostering creative capabilities for their employees.
Time to reimagine work for the new world order
Top talent often choose organizations where they can thrive. Not long ago, organizations would provide employees with a machine loaded with applications deemed necessary for them to contribute. One was expected to adapt or solve problems using provided resources. This is often an inefficient way for people to work. Technology leaders like Capgemini, Citrix and Microsoft, are attempting to turn this concept on its head by designing systems, software and workspaces that are tailor-made to the worker’s needs rather than the other way round. This approach brings several organizational benefits:
Fosters Innovation: agile digital services such virtual desktops when deployed and enhanced open the door to creativity by allowing users to access their work from any device, anywhere — particularly important when you need to work from home. AI and machine learning powered digital workspaces hold the potential to influence creativity as these help automate routine, operational and non-creative parts of the job. This liberates time for workers to focus on being creative.
Provides Flexibility: Successful organizations are beginning to recognize employees’ need for flexibility which in-turn boosts productivity. To possess the ability to make choices provides workers with a superior working environment. Flexibility applied beyond where employees work, to the devices they choose to work on and the software they use to complete tasks. Digital workspaces can provide a streamlined and automated “single pane of glass” approach that works across various systems, applications and tools, giving people options and making them more productive.
Boosts Security: Virtual Desktops are secured by robust cloud infrastructures such as Azure. This means the security employed is the same technology, people and infrastructure that Microsoft uses itself to protect its own data centers. As an example, Microsoft invests more than a billion dollars annually on cybersecurity measures. –
Enables Agility: The new normal has accelerated the need for companies to adopt a more modern, flexible and scalable approach to manage resources. Instead of deploying, maintaining and securing one’s own hardware, software and data center — a complicated and expensive proposition — an option to subscribe to a service providing all the facilities needed would be an extremely agile alternative. Not to mention the savings on infrastructure, power and lower environmental impact.
Technology disruption is well underway, accelerated by the current crisis. Whether businesses embrace or reject this challenge depends entirely on their willingness to innovate. While some businesses might view the change to digital workspaces as additional overhead, others might wisely see it as an investment in fostering innovation and securing a competitive edge.