Where are you in your innovation journey?

Where are you in your innovation journey?

Published on January 29, 2019

By Matt Basford, Partner

As published in Forbes, January 29, 2019

Digital transformation has gone from trendy best practice, to survival prerequisite. Every business worth its salt has a hand in the game. But ‘getting it’ is one thing, and getting it done is another. Adapting to new technologies, developing new skill sets, and keeping up with customers pose a set of pretty complex challenges.

As an organization that exists to help businesses create opportunity from new and emerging technology, navigating this landscape of continual change is fundamental to our role in the world. And one thing we’ve learned–it’s a lot easier to get where you’re going, if you know where you are.

Map where you are in your journey, reveal your next steps

So, let’s break it down.    

First and foremost, let’s define innovation.  At Beyond (and in many corners of the design and technology world), we define it as the realization of these three factors:

  • Invention: the discovery, prototyping, testing and iteration of a product idea to serve an unmet need
  • Commercialization: the alignment of the product with its audiences through multiple channels and through a continual feedback loop, which in turn leads to ongoing product development
  • Scale: service of and distribution to global audiences through partnerships, continued development at speed through alliances and an exponential number of data points

Thing is, the ability to innovate directly depends on a company’s level of digital transformation. The more digitized they are, the more they can serve their customers where they increasingly are. So to know next steps, an organization needs to map its position on this journey.

We measure an organization’s digital transformation maturity level–and its consequent ability to innovate–across three broad categories:

  • Emerging: innovation is proactive, but siloed in a separate team or lab–processes are not yet integrated
  • Coordinated: some innovation processes exist across departments, but still not multidimensional
  • Transformative: Innovative methodologies set the standard across the organization, and multiple partnerships and engagement models support the ability to reach customized goals

And, to define that maturity level, we take measurements across three dimensions: business process, people and insights & analytics.

Put it all together, and it looks a little bit like this:  

This framework highlights strengths and weaknesses across different areas. It identifies the advantages organizations can leverage right away for competitive differentiation, and pinpoints the places teams should work harder to build competency and stronger organizational habits.

That distant horizon of digital transformation? It gets a lot closer, when you know the fastest way.