Northridge Leaders Share Insights on Digital Transformation: Part 1 of an Innovation Series
Digital technology is rapidly changing the way customers and companies do business. Customers now prefer to be social and mobile. They want to interact with a company using a channel of their choosing and have access to information at any time from any place. In order for companies to better serve their customers with greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency, they need to digitally transform how they operate. Innovation sits at the heart of this digital transformation and is critical to an enterprise’s growth. With this in mind, a few of The Northridge Group’s leaders sat down to give us their perspective on the topic of innovation.
I think of innovation as a question of testing technology in an environment that’s safe. One of the reasons businesses are afraid of the change that comes from innovation is that it brings risk and uncertainty. The impacts of innovation can be wildly successful or they can jeopardize the business. Speaking for myself as a business owner, the financial stability and viability of the firm weigh heavily on my mind. I feel accountable to my employees – their jobs, their salaries, their livelihoods rest on decisions I make. I take that very seriously. So it’s a real balancing act; however, one that we need to push ourselves to get comfortable with to be able to stay ahead of the curve and not fall behind it. Imagine how different our world would be if Alexander Graham Bell, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, to name just a few, had not pushed themselves and taken the risk to innovate.
When I think of innovation, I think of it as exploring creative ways to solve a problem or fulfill a need. A great notion of innovation described the concept of “dots.” Each dot represents a fact about a problem we’ve encountered. The way we connect those dots leads to solutions to the problem. An innovator sees “dots” that others don’t see and connects them in ways that others can’t imagine. At Northridge, we help our clients innovate by seeing new “dots” and creatively working together to imagine the best possible solution to their business issue. The output of such a process is really a valued creation, which results in measurable outcomes for our clients.
Marriann Cole, Chief Strategy Officer
When I think about innovation, I think about a seminar I recently attended. One of the speakers noted that “The speed of change will never be slower than it is right now.” And that resonated with me because it says that nothing is standing still. Problems aren’t standing still. Customers aren’t standing still. World needs aren’t standing still. So for me, innovation means, how do we open our eyes and our minds to find new, better and faster ways to solve world, business, and personal problems.
Innovation is a unique result that stems from the creative combination and/or enhancement of existing technology and processes to create a valuable solution. It’s not so much an invention as much as it’s a combination. And you can tell its success by how much “surprise” it generates – where people never imagined they would have a need, and suddenly they can’t live without it.