We’ve all seen high growth disruptors celebrating their ability to move fast and not worry about historical baggage. We’ve also seen the global giants investing billions in machine learning and re-imagining the future.  However, the challenge is how to transform the everyday businesses which make up the backbone of the UK economy, which operate on inherited systems and legacy skill sets with limited experience of embracing change. This core part of the economy faces the overwhelming ordeal of needing to re-engineer processes and systems, refreshing infrastructure and transforming teams.

BDO’s report on the Global Risk Landscape 2018 highlights that as the business world is being transformed, innovation and the appetite for innovation correlate strongly with commercial success. One of the largest challenges for the more traditional businesses is creating a sense of urgency to make change in their organisation, and know where best to focus finite resources.

One potential solution to help focus efforts is to ensure that innovation is focused on customer needs rather than aiming for a eureka moment. 85% of low-performing businesses failed to innovate to meet customer needs, whereas many of the high growth disruptors start as an idea relating to a specific pain point in the market.

With this in mind, investing time in undertaking targeted research with existing and potential customers will help better understanding these business needs. Recognising customer preferences and being able to predict requirements helps to build improved agility in any business and maintain competitive advantage.  Becoming passionate about the needs of customers and building solutions around this can also be an easier internal sell through the organisation, since the benefits are much more tangible to decision makers and the returns are likely to be sooner.  Starting with these researched customer needs can then create the stories to reinforce the benefits of innovation, which will then create the sustaining innovative culture and reap sustainable long term benefits.

In addition to the customer focus, it is also important to build organisational agility by developing knowledge sharing and change management solutions, and ensuring increased flexibility in the inherent cost base and supply chain. It is no coincidence that many of the disruptor businesses embrace outsourcing of systems and processes, which allows them to avoid barriers to change to flex quickly.

A full copy of the report can be found below.

Author: Mark Sykes, Head of BDODrive

Download report

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