Is Your CEO Driving Your Innovation Efforts?

Should your CEO be driving your innovation efforts?Should your CEO be driving your innovation efforts?

How does innovation grow in your organization? Who is responsible for creating a business that not only is a market leader, but one that will lead in the years to come. How can leaders leverage their teams for greatest impact? Should your CEO driving your innovation efforts?

Over the years I’ve discovered that innovation is critical to creating market leaders. Most executives I talk with share that they struggle with creating a culture where innovation thrives. They need to extend innovation beyond their leadership team and move it to the front lines.

The key question is how do they do this so they can engage their organization at all levels? Dan Burrus has been working with clients on this challenge for many years. He understands how innovation can impact growth and seize new opportunities. Dan Burrus has created a tool to help organizations create a culture of innovation.

The first step is knowing what’s next. If you knew what’s coming, with certainty, how would it change your strategy? The foundation of building a great strategy is understanding what is going to happen in your changing markets. Big data has overwhelmed many leaders.

We need a framework to structure information so we can identify what trends are going to change our market landscapes over the coming years. Dan Burrus structures information into two types of trends that impact your organization, hard and soft trends. Let’s define these ideas so you can see how you can build a solid foundation for your business trends.

Hard trends things that are going to happen. They are going to happen. Organizations have no ability to change hard trends. They are immutable laws. The more we can understand hard trends, the more likely we are to begin developing products and services that will do well in new emerging markets. Is the CEO the best person to drive these efforts?

We must become very good at determining how these hard trends impact our customers and marketplace. In The Anticipatory Organization, Dan’s new book, he lays out three categories of Hard trends. They are: technology, demographics, and regulatory. I will share more about these hard trends on future blogs. You can also preorder his book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Dan goes into more detail about these concepts. We will talk about them in future blogs.

The second type of trend is soft trends. They might happen. The largest challenge I’ve found with most innovation driven organizations I work with is they label some soft trends as hard trends. They build their strategy on something they are certain will happen, but it doesn’t have to.  Aging is a hard trend, retiring at 65 is not.

For example, in banking, people continue to use banks to do all their financial transactions. The thought process is past performance predicts future performance. People always have and always will use corporate banking services for their businesses. They pay for the certainty of working with a large commercial bank.

Enter disruptive competitors into the marketplace and things begin to change. Now, who is most likely to use alternative ways of financing? It’s the entrepreneur who is extremely price sensitive during the early stages of building their organization. If you’re a commercial bank and you know that you need to add new customers to remain profitable and growing, you may have a problem.

Now how might we seize the opportunity of this soft trend? I see soft trends as an opportunity to change the way we work with our clients and customers. An opportunity for innovation. How do we know which soft trends are real and how do we leverage the opportunities they provide our organization?

Next week, we will share several ideas on how to better understand soft trends and why they are critical in the innovation process. How soft trends can help you grow your business!

Want to learn more about hard trends?  You can read more at Are hard trends the secret of predicting your future?

See you next week.

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