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Every business leader knows that it is important to differentiate in order to drive customer interest, loyalty and, of course, to stay ahead of your competition. Innovation is a critical part of that line of thinking, particularly in today’s fast-moving, highly-connected digital world. Digital disruption has touched almost every industry in some way; everything from new technologies and customer channels to new business models can deliver profitable new ideas to the marketplace and better serve the digitally engaged consumer.

Every organization must meet the growing expectations of consumers for greater digital access points, meaning content and service where and when they want it. We are in the age of the consumer, with the success of brands being influenced and played out across public social forums and other digital media. If your organization is not leveraging innovation in the digital context for the consumer, you may be missing out on opportunities and allowing new entrants and other competitors to gain the edge. Here are 5 tips to help innovate during digital transformation.

  • Stay ahead of consumer preferences: Map the critical touchpoints across the customer journey and use a strategic lens to drive digital innovation. Scan the market for emerging trends and technologies that bring the best ideas to your customers, exceed their expectations, address new preferences and meet the demands of the ever-evolving marketplace.
  • Dig into the data: Mine, understand and leverage the detailed customer data available to the organization. There is likely a trove of customer experience information available that will help narrow focus and direction, but there is much more to learn from your consumers.  Organizations can capture and leverage social media conversation, survey data, call center data, and complaint data, to name just a few, in order to build business cases for new solutions created for the digital consumer.
  • Be strategic: As organizations innovate, consider the long-term effectiveness of implementation and how those ideas contribute to the overarching goals of your business and brand. Take a holistic view of the data, but don’t boil the ocean. That is to say, not every option and path will be fruitful for the organization. Consider all options, but don’t chase every new idea or technology. Stay in tune with key trends that complement the business goals and enhance the customer experience. Know the strategic filters that drive success, evaluate market potential, prioritize, and invest wisely.
  • Develop a roadmap:  To get from today to the best version of tomorrow, organizations must identify and prioritize critical investments in technology, product, process, people and marketing. As new enhancements and innovations are added to the mix, create accessible dashboards and scorecards for stakeholders and executives to measure success and drive optimized investment decision making.
  • Fail fast: Innovation requires risk, and sometimes, opportunities can fall short or fall flat. If a digital solution proves to be ineffective, be prepared to move on or enhance quickly. A solution may not be perfect from the get-go, but with some refinements, it can become a winning concept. It is important to understand the distinction. Create thresholds for success so you are able to make a clear case for what determines success, potential, and failure.

Innovation is crucial to the success of any organization. To foster an innovative environment, consider these key tips to get the ball rolling.