A new way of thinking about performance

Developing an innovation mindset could mean the difference between being a disruptor rather than the disrupted

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 9:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 10:10am

At Accenture, we often talk about how technology is disrupting markets in unprecedented ways. New business and economic models are evolving. And the new normal is made up of companies that are innovative and agile.

This isn’t a news flash to business executives. Everyone is grappling with responding to disruption. And the market for talent has never been more competitive. To attract and retain the best people, companies need to do more than talk about innovation and new ways of working. The C-suite needs to focus on both the customer – as well as the employee experience. To drive innovation, you need to work in a more agile, collaborative and iterative way.

But the topic is still amorphous. It is hard to wrap your arms around the challenge.

So how do you change your way of thinking? Develop an innovation mindset. That means:

Innovate to Disrupt. Do not accept the status quo. Instead, become more comfortable working in the unknown, staring at a blank piece of paper. Share ideas with others, accept challenges, keep pushing back and forth to come up with new ways to solve a problem.

Design for excellence. We’re all used to working to key performance indicators or financial metrics. Most people want a target, seek to meet it, and move on. Instead, try to shift your thinking to working toward satisfaction. If you’re building or making something – ask yourself: “How would I want to use this if I were the customer?” If you’re selling something, put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. In short, try to please your best self, and focus less on just meeting the metrics.

Obsess about value. Don’t just deliver, ask yourself: “How does this add value?” Don’t look at your job and think, “I did what I was asked to do.” Instead, ask yourself, “Did I improve things?”

Create unique insights: “Been there done that” thinking is the kiss of death for innovation. Combine experience with quantitative and qualitative insights to develop new solutions.

Collaborate to create. Think of it as the power of people. Get everyone involved. This ranges from crowdsourcing to seeking customer feedback (and really taking it on board) to genuinely collaborating with colleagues (instead of competing) and collaborating with clients. The collective power is greater than yours alone.

Iterate often. Don’t feel like you must get it perfect on the first go-around. Share drafts, polish and refine.

Connect to the collective purpose: Don’t work in silos. Instead, share the bigger purpose and have everyone work toward it. This is a case of playing to peoples’ strengths and empowering everyone to be a part of the solution.

Many of these are ideas you’ve heard before. But they shouldn’t just be ideas you are familiar with – they should be your go-to daily tools. They will help you become the digital disruptor rather than the disrupted.

Beat Monnerat is a senior managing director at Accenture