Don’t let economic uncertainty hamper innovation

In the last few months it would appear that uncertainty has become the new norm. Events like Brexit, the US presidential election and the fluctuation of Sterling, among others, are encouraging an atmosphere of doubt and indecision for organisations.

The unclear political environment means that business owners and managers are trying to weigh up the likely outcomes of our exit from the EU. If the UK is not part of the single market, how will that affect free trade and tariffs? Will the UK be able to benefit from new export agreements with countries outside the EU? Will the changes have a continued impact on the value of UK currency?

Currently there are no answers to these questions, which generates many doubts about what the future holds, particularly for those businesses that trade across borders.

>See also: Why the UK’s technology sector will survive Brexit

As a result, companies are delaying their investment plans and waiting for more concrete decisions before committing themselves to a future business strategy.

The current trend is to focus on running a lean organisation and keep costs manageable, but this approach can also have a significant impact on progress.

Potential for missed opportunity: growth and connectivity

By taking a conservative approach, some companies limit their ability to grow and improve and miss opportunities, instead side-lining them due to fear of failure during volatile times.

Financial or strategic investments are one way that organisations can continue to progress during difficult times, particularly if they enable the company to become more connected, more adaptable and more insightful.

The current situation actually provides a great opportunity to take a step back and assess how the organisation is running and what improvements could be made. Would the company benefit, for example, by an idea generation and innovation program?

Organisational innovation programs do not have to come with a hefty price tag. Sometimes the best innovation efforts are simple, ‘EveryDay’ innovation ideas, that result from the methodology of innovation being a daily part of every employee’s work life.

Indeed, most programs can be supported and managed through seamlessly integrated platforms, using the tools that a company already has in place.

>See also: The UK: the destination for innovation centre investment?

By taking a look at internal operations at every level of the organisation and creating a firm initiative to innovate, the success and growth of the business can be directly impacted, even in precarious times. Innovation efforts can mean process improvement, employee engagement, product improvement and can be facilitated at very little cost.

How can a company make innovation so cost-efficient? By using the resources that it already has. This means looking at the people who know the business best; employees, partners, customers, in fact, all stakeholders.

There is a huge knowledge base within almost all companies and to tap into this means engaging with those stakeholders to get their feedback and their ideas. If a business has a specific challenge, this can be presented, and the response can lead to a solution, it can help progress plans, and it can also result in valuable cost savings for any business.

A case in point

One organisation that invested in an idea management platform is Avis Budget Group, the highly innovative rental car company. In the last year Avis has not only brought on a new chief innovation officer, but has also expanded its internal innovation capability and is looking to deliver through innovation.

Avis has rolled out a global idea management platform to generate ideas that could potentially address business challenges across all of its global branches.

Through the platform, Avis is able to offer all employees and partners a central location where they can input their suggestions and get involved in continuous innovation for the organisation, even though their employees and partners are spread across multiple continents.

>See also: AI and automation will be far more significant than Brexit

With relatively low cost and high opportunity potential, Avis is now mobilised to reach out to all employees and partners to truly facilitate the environment of EveryDay innovation.

Idea management platforms can offer organisations a centralised place to manage all internal and crowdsourced innovation efforts. So, despite the politically and economically uncertain times that we are living through, companies can continue to make valuable internal improvements to maintain and amplify progress.


Sourced by Simon Hill, CEO and co-founder, Wazoku

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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