Love your shiny new app, no longer need your service

By Carl Heise

We hear a lot about the need for businesses to keep up, to think differently and above all to innovate. Nine times out of ten these conversations revolve around technology. Let’s stop trying to keep up for just a moment and look at the sense of this.

I agree that innovation is paramount in the business world and I would never argue against the need for the continuous improvement and innovation in technology (lest one’s metaphorical taxi be sideswiped by an Uber).

However, there is a big missing in the conversation. If we are solely focused on innovating ways to use technology to become more efficient at what we do, we forget to question and evolve what it is that we are offering. Uber’s convenient online booking system would not have had anywhere near as much appeal if the company didn’t offer cheaper fares and better customer service.

Change the way people work and the work they do

It is vital that we think differently and innovate to change the way people work and the work they do, not just create shiny new apps and jump from one cutting edge platform to the next.

Take the humble barber. Millions of barbers worldwide have websites or have their contact details listed on online business directories. But they still sit for hours a day waiting for customers, only to watch impatient customers walk out during peak times when they get sick of waiting in physical queues. Barbers who have cut ties with tradition and accept online bookings over bums-on-seats through apps like Slikr are now busier than they’ve ever been.

It is not enough to innovate, we must innovate fast

Changing the way an organisation works is critical for successful innovation, but there is also no point in innovating if the fruits of your labour and redundant by the time they are implemented. Innovating and implementing change fast is the difference between success and failure…

With one of Brooke’s current clients the pressure was on to deliver a pilot of a new administration system that would change the way customers were onboarded and increase the value they received from the service. The fast-paced innovation and development achieved through our SHIFT Rapid Problem-Solving process meant the organisation was able to clearly define and create a solution within two weeks when ordinarily this would take months. Importantly, people and processes took precedence over technology, so the solution was truly fit for purpose. They were able to prove the processes and technology during a period of peak business, and they are now swiftly progressing towards full implementation with confidence. The change has freed up staff to create and refine new income streams and raise the profile of the organisation.

This example reinforces the benefits of the people and processes first approach and put technology right where it should be, as an enabler not a solution in its own right.