By Goke Ilesanmi
A friend of mine told me that some years back, a competitor invited him to a birthday party. Midway into the celebration, he (the competitor) just called him to one side and started begging him to tell him the magical or fetishistic secret of his business success as his (my friend’s) business had been the most successful among the competitors’. My friend said he told the man he never had any fetish power but only combined prayer with effective business management. But the competitor kept begging him, promising that he would never reveal the secret to anyone if assisted.
Expectedly, my friend felt embarrassed by the man’s disbelief. I told him not to worry himself over this. Why? It is human nature. If you are a very brilliant student, classmates may say you are using some magical power to achieve exceptional brilliance. If you are very financially rich, people around may say you have done money ritual. What actually gave my friend the competitive edge was innovative management.
Innovative management is a management concept being embraced in the corporate world today. It is all about deploying creativity to stay ahead of competition. In short, growth, which signifies productivity and can lead to profitability, can only be effectively achieved and driven through innovation. “Every organisation – not just business – needs one core competence: innovation,” educates Peter Drucker, the business management expert. Innovation borders on conversion of new knowledge into new products and services. It is about increasing productivity, creating value, thereby growing your business. Success in business does not come from feeling comfortable.
With many markets getting more competitive due to new competitors from global markets, those who innovate best will win now and always. Vadim Kotelnikov, founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach – Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited! corroborates this by saying to remain competitive, today’s companies need to do more than simply deliver products or services that are better or cheaper than those of their rivals. They must also add features, improve performance, and reduce prices more quickly. They must be faster to launch new lines. To grow, they may need to create entirely new markets and develop venture strategies.
Innovative management is the backbone of organisational success. Conventional management skills are no longer effective in today’s fast-developing world. There is a demand for managerial creativity, and this has naturally brought about innovative management solutions. Vijay K Shett, a management expert says innovative management involves intelligent management, interactive scheduling, effective communication channels, etc. Product line management is part of the innovative management which allows for effective management of software products that are independent but are related to each other. It allows for introduction of new ideas, processes or products, adds Shett.
It is a reality that only companies that can consistently bring imaginative, value-added new products, services and value propositions to the market will survive and grow in a rapidly-changing economy. Robert Tucker, author of “Driving Growth through Innovation” says most companies today are frustrated by their inability to turn ideas into profitable realities. Their “innovation process” is almost an oxymoron, a contradiction.
In a related development, one of the commonest complaints senior executives have regarding disruptive innovation is its seemingly snail-like speed. Scott Anthony, author of “The Little Black Book of Innovation” wonders why it takes us forever to pursue ideas that promise to create new markets when the world seems to be innovating at a fast speed. Anthony adds that this frustration is compounded by the fact that the usual levers senior executives use to get things to go faster, e.g., creating tight deadlines, flooding the project with resources, checking in more frequently, etc., do not seem to work, and in many cases cause teams working on disruptive ideas to actually go slower.
The reason is that even though tight deadlines, frequent check-ins, and additional resources can help to accelerate execution of a strategic plan, achieving success in disruption first requires development of a strategic plan that can be executed. It is therefore not surprising that Steve Blank, an innovation-thought leader says a start-up is a temporary organisation searching for a scalable business model. Speeding up the search for a strategy is very different from executing the strategy. To achieve success in your organisation, you need to design and implement an enterprise-wide innovation strategy.
Beyond designing and implementing an enterprise-wide innovation strategy in your organisation, you also need to gain the competitive edge by discovering and fulfilling unmet customer needs; creating a system to ensure good ideas do not get lost and discovering product, process and strategy ideas that have the potential to become massive breakthroughs. According to Tucker, you will also learn how sell ideas internally and externally; overcome obstacles to achieve success in the marketplace; and involve everyone in the idea-to-implementation process.
Innovative management leads to growth. Growth in revenue and net earnings brings about many wonderful and positive things to companies and their people. Apart from jealousy, growth attracts admiration and respect from peers, competitors, stakeholders, etc., in your industry. Growth also allows you to empower your host community in the form of executing social projects. A majority of firms today are growing, but the problem is that they are not growing fast enough to keep up with today’s shareholder values and tomorrow’s shareholder expectations.
Creative and influential leadership, they say, is the foundation of all great companies. Today’s corporate leaders face a challenge because they must innovate so that the reservoir of new growth opportunities will not become empty tomorrow. Corporate leaders must create a culture of performance based on innovative ideas. Christopher Meyer, author of “Relentless Growth” says the question for leaders today is not if culture is important for success but how culture can drive successful innovation.
In short, corporate leaders must embrace innovative management style today so that their organisations can stay ahead of competition for enduring growth and empowerment.
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GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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