How the Right Technology Can Boost Your Innovation Efforts

By Sarah Wiggins - March 13, 2020

 

In our last piece on innovation, we identified three common reasons why large companies struggle to execute on innovation strategy:
  1. Generating innovative, customer-centric ideas is easier said than done
  2. Innovation isn’t actually being incentivised
  3. Employees aren’t able to experiment quickly and often

While people and processes play a large role in all of the obstacles we identified, having the right technology is still essential to overcoming them. In this article, we’ll explain how certain features and capabilities are especially helpful.

Here are some key areas to consider:

1. The ability to find relevant existing research quickly

While this may seem obvious, it’s a factor that often gets overlooked. The increasing wealth of data has not been sufficiently addressed in most companies; nearly 20% of employees’ time is wasted looking for information. The accepted status quo is having to comb through your inbox for an attachment or to scour the company folder system, hoping you remember the right file name. But accepting that status quo is hurting your innovation efforts. For example, as we discussed in our last piece, when data is difficult to find and a decision needs to be made quickly, the likelihood of that decision being made based on data rather than gut-feeling is low.

It’s important to realise that the time spent looking for a file is only part of the battle; what about actually processing the relevant information in it? While it can be tempting to skim the first few paragraphs of a document and make a decision based on that, you run the risk of not getting the full picture. You could miss nuances or conditional findings that have serious implications for the success of your new idea.

The ability to sort through insights efficiently is also important when it comes to empowering your employees to innovate. Instead of wasting time searching, their time should be spent engaging with the information in order to prepare better proposals, workshops, and presentations.

Thus, a tool that makes unstructured data easy to find and consume is essential for your innovation success.

We recommend a tool that:

  • Allows you to store all of your market research in one place (pdfs, Powerpoints, videos, external parties, internally and externally produced, etc.)
  • Has a powerful search function that goes beyond file titles, sending you directly to the locations with relevant insights
  • Provides you with summaries of key findings to help you make accurate, data-driven decisions with confidence

 

2. The ability to share easily

There are many innovation-related benefits to sharing information. For example, multiple perspectives on the same material can lead to a richer understanding of a topic problem. Another benefit is being able to learn from the research others have done; It’s often the case that someone from a different office or team has had similar questions.

And as we discussed in the last piece, being able to experiment often is crucial for innovation. When you can find the insights you need quickly, you are able to build better hypotheses. And once you’ve conducted your experiment, it’s essential that you can share the results with everyone so that they can learn from them.

But sharing data isn’t just about being able to send one off pieces quickly. It’s also about ensuring that there are a variety of ongoing channels that circulate insights within your company. This helps to create a more sustainable culture of sharing, which is key to making sure that the whole team stays informed during rapid experimentation cycles.

Here are some key sharing-related features to look for:

  • Makes it easy to share on various internal communication platforms
  • Provides ongoing channels for sharing, like collections, that can easily be updated
  • Offers streamlined drag-and-drop upload that uses AI to auto-categorise files, removing the barriers that often prevent sharing in the first place, like arduous uploading.

 

3. The ability to inspire

Contrary to the common belief that constraints hamper innovation, recent research has shown that certain constraints can actually help boost it. Specifically, constraints on inputs (i.e. time, financial resources), processes (i.e. lean, agile, brainstorming), and outputs (i.e. what the end product can be), have been shown to help increase focus and motivation towards innovation efforts. When you think about it, it makes sense. A company-wide directive to “be more innovative” can be intimidating. The vastness of possibility and lack of clarity can feel overwhelming. This could lead to innovation for its own sake, rather than for the sake of the customer. Or it could lead to an avoidance of innovation altogether.

Staying up-to-date on market research is essential for sourcing innovative, customer-centric ideas. A new report might highlight an unexpected problem or trend. These findings can help determine output constraints, which provide motivation and focus towards innovation efforts. For example, a report that looks into the behaviours of millennials can prompt the question, “How can we alter our product to address millennials' growing need for X?”

However, between meetings, emails, and messages, it can be challenging to dedicate time to look into the latest trends and research. And it can be hard to know where to look in the first place.

This is why we suggest that you find a tool that:

  • Makes it fun to stay inspired by curating content based on user metrics and editorial expertise
  • Can distribute this content in a variety of channels so that everyone can access with ease (i.e. an engaging user experience like Spotify or Netflix)

Stravito unleashes the power of your insights

Loved by innovative, customer-centric companies like Carlsberg and Danone, Stravito is a centralised storage and sharing system for all your market research. It was designed to optimise the way companies work with insights through powerful search, seamless upload, easy sharing, and inspiring curated content.

With Stravito, you can unleash the power of your insights and support your company in overcoming barriers to innovation. 

 

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