2014 Innovation Predictions: Why This Will Be the Most Innovative Year Ever

Filed Under Innovation

Getting Work Done The Increased Focus on Social Task Management Tools
Rik Walters

December 30, 2013

What do you see as the future of innovation in the enterprise for 2014? How is the concept of innovation redefined after a look back at 2013? Regarding innovation in the Enterprise, Innovation Excellence insists, “Mindsets are ripe to make significant change”.

But what has changed since the predictions of 2013? While technologies such as Big Data and OpenStack have their place in the rising importance of innovation, the methods and practices of innovation in the enterprise are still evolving. This will be the year we move from imagination and theory to a quick-paced rigor in innovation methods.

For enterprises to truly succeed this year, innovation must be a daily practice, with a keen awareness that it is the imagination that sparks and drives creativity through innovation. The process of continuously driving innovation requires us to employ exceptionally productive employees, be driven by visionary leadership, and deploy impactful business processes.

“We know where most of the creativity, the innovation, the stuff that drives productivity lies — in the minds of those closest to the work.” ~ Jack Welch

We are reminded by the authors in this recent post that “Companies can create and sustain their competitive advantage in an uncertain world — if they put a premium on innovation.”  What is that value or premium in your enterprise?

Lets look at how enterprises will focus on innovation this year.

1. Humans Are at the Core of the Corporate Innovation DNA

Based on revenue and profit-per-employee calculations, the focus on innovation produces 2-15 times the amount produced by firms that still only focus on productivity. Because people play such a critical role in innovation, it makes sense that more successful companies are employee-centric. A new focus on human capital to sustain innovation is key. According to a recent study from IBM, 71% of CEOs believe human capital is a KEY source of sustained economic value. Smart companies will focus on employees as their greatest source for sustained innovation value.

2. Innovation Will Move Faster

Many times in business, innovation means being first with some aspect of a new product or service. Unfortunately, in our fast-moving world, being first may not be enough (Ex: The ‘Walkman’), due to a competitive marketplace, which requires that you serially innovate. Moving fast, with innovation software platforms will be the key to stay agile and make innovation decisions quickly.

3. Focusing on the New, ‘Sunset’ the Old

It’s time to make room for new innovations, yet few companies are good at “sunsetting” old strategies. Think of a service company inventing new pricing plans without expiring old ones. Stop the tangle and the complexity of selling, calculating, billing, and supporting more plans than you need. This is the year to streamline and think forward!

4. Punching Through the Fear Factor

Here lies one of the key components to innovation in 2014: failure! Embrace moderated failure as your road to innovation, through experiential and theoretical practice in your enterprise. Technology can aid innovation through collaboration in ways we’ve never experienced before. And for the sake of our future — we must!

5. Improved Innovation Ecosystems

Most companies measure the quality of new, innovative ideas with traditional measures, such as net present value or ROI. New ideas don’t always lend themselves to such analyses. How could you have accurately projected the market size for the Tablet before the iPad, or energy drinks before Red Bull? For complete innovation success, and as the key pillar for #1 above — the ‘corporate innovation DNA’ in your enterprise — this is the year to align your innovation ecosystem infrastructure, including corporate culture, funding, leadership, values, and beliefs.

6. CEOs Will Seek Collaboration Across Various Industries

In the aforementioned IBM Global CEO Survey, Kenichiro Yamanishi, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Corp, believes that “To innovate, we need to take in insights accumulated across various industries and knowledge generated by many different people.” This is true across the globe, and 2014 will show more collaboration cross-culturally than ever before.

7. Bridges Over the Innovation Divide

In 2014, innovation bridges will be built. As the baby boomers age and begin to leave the workforce, we run the risk of losing the subject matter experts and innovation evangelists. Companies must find ways to engage both younger and older employees who are not participating in innovation today. Smart corporate leaders will see success with these strategies and tactics when implemented correctly.

8. Integrated Innovation Social Platforms Will be a Requirement

Many companies will experience an unfortunate wake-up call with the changes in how their competition is moving ahead in innovation. They must now slow down in order to effectively speed up. Company leaders must get in the headspace of their employees and customers, while they define business goals and objectives. Using a social enterprise innovation platform provides a seamless user experience across enterprise properties and weaves in the value, communities, and conversations of social networks.

9. More Formalized Innovation Strategies

Brands that invest into a formal innovation infrastructure for their employees will see improved results. Companies must step up and be able to demonstrate why everyone in their enterprise should invest the time to innovate and collaborate. Using innovation enterprise software to organize, predict, and drive corporate strategy will become an essential component of success.

“Just make it great.” Steve Jobs offered those four words of advice to John Lasseter of Pixar, when he charged him and his talented team with creating the short animated film Tin Toy. How great was it? It won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

The most audacious and disruptive innovation introduces radically new and unexpected features, functions, and value propositions. In 2014, thin about what bold, new, dramatic improvements could set your enterprise and its product or service apart from the competition.

Be ready to explore, imagine, and execute your vision. The greatest innovators accept nothing less than continuous improvement, and are always seeking to move closer to perfection. Every day is a new search for something to make better, and better ways to create. I trust that these 9 innovation predictions will serve as inspiration to motivate you and your enterprise, to take your innovation practice to new heights this coming year.

  • Sanjay Abraham

    Innovation is not an intermittent event but a continuous process. Enterprise must have an active appetite for innovation. Businesses which don’t innovate might get elbowed out of business pretty fast. Having an email id ( innovation@yourcompay) to collect ideas isn’t enough.

  • Bob Zukis

    Social technology in the enterprise is the catalyst for an intellectual and productivity driven revival like nothing we’ve seen before. The experience of dealing with companies can be reinvented and revalued through these tools. Customer experience is no longer about “have a nice day,” it’s about having an integrated one. These innovations will be wildly disruptive to the status-quo.