The Risk of Innovation

Last week I attended an event at EY, “Developing Business Decisions through Consumer Data Insights“, I was really struck by how differently disruption and innovation are interrupted by the big end of town as to that of the start-up world.

Of the 4 speakers, 3 represented large corporates and 1 from the start-up world.  Apart from the obvious size of their respective companies, the standout for me were that Start-ups are willing to put everything on the line.

This attitude is most conducive to disruptive outcomes, whereas the big end of town talked more in the innovation space. Understandably so as disruption represents a huge risk to their market sector, their reputation, the shareholders and the internal change is incredibly costly.

This made me think about some of the work we have recently performed for the larger corporates and one thing that is common to all engagements is Value to Market.

IT managers are suffering from the same problem; getting good quality work done in a timely manner so that they can maintain a competitive edge.  If a competitor does disrupt their sector, IT managers need to have a team and IT infrastructure to react quickly to enable them to hit back.

And sometimes hitting back is not enough; look at the Taxi industry across the world post Uber.  Many taxi companies have since produced a mobile app to plug one of the gaps, but the uptake has been low at best and their business continues to struggle.

The answer is not an easy one for companies that have current IT investments to consider. So the question becomes, where are you in the market? Do you need to lead the pack or can you afford to be reactive? Apple is an obvious example; the release of the iPhone in 2007 was ground breaking. Nokia can attest to that.

Are you prepared to risk it all? Just by looking at the survival statistics for tech start-ups we know it’s a high-risk approach. Innovation may provide lower risk but the results are never as high.

Is your technology team capable of going the distance? If the culture of your IT department sings a similar tune to that of ‘The IT Crowd’ you might be in trouble. Every business is immersed in technology – will your IT team need to be ready, whether it be to take the risks or react to their effect?

If you’re not sure where your business will sit in the wake of innovation I’d be more than happy to discuss how our team can support you.

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.