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To Be or Not To Be

Innovation and evolution in a business is vital to success. Just ask Woolworths, Blockbuster or most recently, Thomas Cook….

But where do you start with innovating? Very often, businesses are too close to their day-to-day to be able to see the issues, and the opportunities for improvement. Weeks and months come and ago, and the same systems, people and processes churn away. In some cases, it comes to a head and the worst happens. In the best case scenario, growth and success is far more limited than it should be. 

Business innovation is something we thrive on at Akeno. We enjoy working with businesses to resolve their issues and maximise their opportunities; whether that’s cutting edge digital enhancements, or simple tweaks to processes and customer journeys. So, we thought we’d share our eight steps to innovating your business. 

  1. Current Situation - This is also known as the 'As Is’. It’s essential that you know where you are today before you start thinking about the future. Investigate, document and agree the current situation before making any hasty decisions. A third party is often best doing this for you, as they are a new set of eyes into your business. You and your staff provide the insight, and the third party provides the challenge.
     
  2. Pinch Points - Identify the issues and opportunities as you are documenting the 'as is'. Ask your staff, your customers, your suppliers; look at the whole journey through your business from multiple view-points. Be honest!
     
  3. Mind The Gap - This stage is all about visioning the future; also known as the ‘To Be’. What do you want and need the future to look like? This isn’t about solutions to the problems, it’s about the understanding what the ‘ideal’ looks like. As per the 'as is' stage, document the 'to be', walk everyone through it, allow everyone to experience it. Agree it.  
     
  4. Shape Up - Now it’s time to shape the plan. Don’t just focus on the new, exciting idea; you need to fix the issues too. Prioritse and find the quick wins, and don’t forget to lock in key milestones (with dates!). 
     
  5. It’s Good To Talk - Communication is key. Everyone who will be impacted by the change must be engaged. Tell people what’s happening, why, when, and how they can support it. It’s essential to work with people, not against them. 
     
  6. Go Go Go - Now it’s time to action the plan. Follow each task closely and complete your milestone reviews.  
     
  7. It’s Still Good to Talk - Continually communicate progress, successes and even hold-ups (be honest!).
     
  8. Review - The final stage is often completely missed when it comes to innovation projects. It’s essential to review the implemented solution. Don’t just tick the box on the plan to say it’s been achieved, and move on to the next item. Has it worked? Has it bought the desired benefits? Does it need to be tweaked? And most importantly, if you find that tweaks are needed, action them!

So, what are you waiting for….you have an 'as is’ to complete….go go go! Good luck!