Creating effective organizations takes a lot of effort and it's no small task. We value the ability to bounce ideas off each other in environments that are safe. We come up with prototypes for new products and services by not being afraid of proposing ways of approaching an issue that might rub people the wrong way. And the team matters - people that collaborate instead of focusing solely on their own goals are often the most potent part of any brainstorming session. But what is a safe atmosphere? It's a place that you might perceive as unfamiliar but remain confident.
When Infosys worked with the European Business Awards to detect the common elements of a best-in-class company, what we found was that organizations that create safe places of brainstorming and creativity tend to be the ones that are the most profitable and able to stave off the competition. In fact, the EBA winners tend to have as a common characteristic the ability to define new markets by sheer virtue of their collective creativity.
The ability to evolve and grow with technological advancements and market expectations is more important than ever. Social media dictates that the consumer is more aware of how companies do business than ever before. So if an organization is able to improvise - shift on the fly, so to speak - then it's able to survive amidst a growing number of challenges. I heard about one company that dedicates every Thursday afternoon to Friday morning to idea generation. Nothing is considered to be too corny or outlandish. Then again, one of the parameters of the weekly practice is that the idea must give way to some type of actionable result - whether a new service or product that the company could conceivably peddle. Giving structure to the innovation journey is paramount
Today, this kind of thinking is blurring traditional boundaries between electrical, software, and mechanical engineering. Innovation is scripting a grand tale of convergence. For example, the convergence of Information Technology and telecommunications will allow of organizations to create their own, "virtualized" networks. So, too, will the rise of the digital consumer translate into a preponderance of software-driven products. Companies that control the channel and the software will create better and more lasting relationships with their consumer base. Even mobile healthcare will come into its own because of smart, wearable devices. The convergence of lifestyle with the healthcare sector will have profound consequences on how people think about their bodies and their overall wellness.
The keys to all of these exciting developments reside in our ideas. That's why it's vital that we as people and as organizations encourage innovation in all its forms.