Spigit recently hosted an Innovation Forum with global consumer goods manufacturer Li & Fung in Hong Kong. An exclusive group of innovation leaders convened for an evening of sharing best practices and in-depth discussions about innovation programs.
With presentations from Steve Glaveski, Co-founder and CEO at Collective Campus; Alvin Chia, Innovation Program Lead at DBS Bank; Lale Kesebi, Chief Communications Officer & Head of Strategic Engagement at Li & Fung; and Yi Hoo Ong, Vice President at Li & Fung, there was no shortage of useful content.
Here are three innovation takeaways that grabbed our attention.
Build an innovation program with employees to solve problems at scale
The whole reason a company creates an innovation program is to find solutions to business challenges. These challenges could be happening now, like reducing customer churn, or in the future, like disruption.
Building an innovation program that focuses on engaging employees across the entire business is one of the smartest decisions any company can make. Not only does this enable a culture of innovation to develop, which is high on the list of priorities for enterprises around the world, but it surfaces quality solutions faster – as the old saying goes, time is money.
Employees are the ones that know your business best. The collective knowledge accumulated through their interactions with customers, industry experience, and product usage is invaluable. To not use this intelligence in the innovation process is an opportunity wasted.
Listen to, engage, and enable employees to contribute to your company’s innovation efforts. Create an environment where collaboration and ideation thrive.
Innovation can be approached in many ways
There’s no one way, or right way, to innovate. Breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere and be sparked by anything:
- The idea for the firehose nozzle was sketched on a napkin in a bar in 1968. It’s now standard for every firehose.
- The ideas behind four of Pixar’s greatest film (1998’s “A Bug’s Life,” 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.,” 2003’s “Finding Nemo,” and 2008’s “WALL-E”) were brainstormed over a single lunch.
The key takeaway here is that you have to enable your company to capture great ideas when they strike, and then act upon them.
Take into account your company’s unique culture and resources that are available. Whether you use hackathons, Innovation challenges, or establish an innovation lab, making it easy to surface great ideas and take action on them should be a high priority.
An innovation team is the gateway to a culture of innovation
While it’s important to have a team spearheading an innovation program, innovation shouldn’t start and stop with just them.
New innovation skills an innovation team learns should be documented and shared with the entire employee base. This new found knowledge should then be turned into trainable capabilities that can be attained by all employees. This enables them to learn and approach innovation initiatives within their own workspaces. In effect, it engrains an innovator mindset that leads to a “way of working,” which is a prerequisite for a culture of innovation.
When it comes to innovation there’s always something new to learn, which is why Spigit’s Innovation Forums are so valuable.