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The Right Time To Explore The Way Brands Innovate

  • By Oded Blank
  • June 11, 2020
  • 3 min
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Why brands need to reassess their offerings and drive innovation.  

In her (arguably) most famous song, Carly Simon says “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you”. Well, it kind of is, isn’t it? So, as I say, “You probably think this post is about Covid.” And you’re at least partially correct! It’s about seizing this massive tailwind the pandemic has generated to drive the change your enterprise desperately needed, but couldn’t mandate previously.

CHANGING CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Covid has done something quite marvelous for consumer-facing enterprise organizations — it is forcing them to get out of their comfort zone. They now have to question their offerings, business models, supply chains, and internal processes. In these tumultuous times, being overly conservative or operating too traditionally could be quite costly because consumer behavior can change quickly.

In good times, leadership is focused mostly on growth and competition, and while often mandating internal efficiencies, such issues are rarely tackled head-on.

LEARNING FROM START-UPS 

Part of the reason many large enterprise brands have adopted the strategic approach of investing in startups (licensing, capital deployment, M&A, etc.) is that in-house innovation is tremendously hard, especially for organizations that are not tech-oriented.  Agile, hungry, guerilla-type startups can achieve much better results in a shorter period of time, and that has been proven time and again. So, it isn’t news that in 2020, working with startups can benefit big brands.

However, there are many innate difficulties that hinder startups from working with giant companies: procurement, RFPs, legal work, compliance, stakeholders’ buy-in, test-and-learn cycles, endless feature-creep, etc. This is already being worked on in many places, but still requires significant improvement and more standardization.

INNOVATING USING TECHNOLOGY

Additionally, technology has long been pushed off by internal stakeholders, due to a feeling that it competes with and even obviates their contributions, and even their jobs. This concept is widely referred to as “NIH” or “Not Invented Here”.

Unlike the aforementioned bureaucracies, NIH is more like an auto-immune disease that requires strong leadership and fast eradication.

Now that efficiencies are not only necessary but imperative in order to enable sharp turns while steering large ships, NIH needs to be treated mercilessly and firmly.

Workplace politics probably cannot be fought against effectively, but mandating a business-first approach to testing solutions is of the essence. 

Where can you find NIH in your organization?

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