Is innovation really as important as our political leaders and numerous business commentators would have us believe?
Most people seem to prefer the status quo, and many would prefer to move backwards to remembered happier times.
The word ‘innovation’ was not even used much 20, or even 10, years ago. So why has it become the mantra for the 21st century?
The reason is simple. The world around us is now changing very fast. If we who live and work in this changing environment don’t change too, we will be diminished.
- Technology is changing everything. Think petrol cars versus electric cars, drivers versus driverless cars and printers versus digital. No one manufactures Datsun 109s or buggy whips anymore, for good reason.
- Control of the business relationship has moved to the customer. There is an oversupply of many goods and services- for example clothing and legal services.
- Customers are informed because of the Internet and they do not need retailers or professionals to be the gatekeepers of knowledge. They know how to seek out the best products and services and retailers and professional service firms are in trouble.
- Your competitors are improving the way they serve customers, and you must too unless you are looking for an early retirement.
- Workplace dynamics are changing. Baby boomers with life long careers are retiring and the gig economy means a more flexible workforce.
- Free and low cost online education is effective and readily available, threatening educational establishments and allowing anyone with a desire for learning to become expert.
- Unless we increase productivity, we can’t feed the growing population, and our lifestyles will deteriorate. Can anyone imagine how we can feed an extra 2.7 billion residents by 2050?
- And simply, there are so many things wrong with current practices that should be improved –think bureaucratic red tape and public transport over-crowding.
Innovation is about Improvement, re-invention and commercialising the results.
In the 21st century innovation is a survival skill.