Why innovation leaders should invest in collaboration in 2019

Leadership is undoubtedly a critical piece of the business innovation puzzle. In fact, a recent study showed that the highest performing companies centralise their innovation strategy in upper management, meaning it is often those at C-level who push for innovation within a company. But being a great leader isn’t enough if you hope to succeed this year.

It is argued that leadership must be rethought and refocused on harnessing the best of each individual (particularly considering the more interventive profile of the newest generations at work), while also creating collective genius.

Rather than getting people to follow you, leaders should look to encourage others to co-create alongside them, making full use of the power of collaboration to achieve their business goals.

So beyond the traditional role of a business leader, managers today must bring together different skillsets, mindsets and toolsets to innovate successfully. Only a good innovation leader can foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within their organisation’s walls, with collective efforts driving positive results and growth.

 

4 ways to master innovation leadership in the coming year

While many academics and entrepreneurs have dedicated their learning to leadership and innovation, not enough of them explore the connection between the two. In this day and age, thriving as an innovation leader requires relearning leadership roles, encouraging teamwork and assessing where you can add real value.

Here are four behaviours you should hone to ensure your organisation innovates routinely:

 

1. Strengthen your idea factory

CEOs ranked culture as the most important strategy to improve innovation performance in 2018. And it’s a growing trend. Fostering trust and collaboration, the building blocks to creating a culture of ongoing innovation, is a key part of the innovation leadership role.

By investing in your most valuable resource – your people and their insights –, you are stimulating the generation of valuable ideas. Diversity and inclusion are also fuel for the creative process, while methodologies such as gamification ensure continued engagement and enthusiasm towards achieving the goals of your company, in a collaborative way.

 

2. Create opportunities

Innovation leaders crave information and are always open to possibilities. They look to respond to unmet needs – often brought to their attention by involving the people on the ground – and see potential in every challenge. In short, it’s about assessing trends and getting feedback, on an ongoing basis, and always seeing the bigger picture.

 

3. Challenge the status quo

Teams or organisations may always have done something a certain way, or tried and failed in a specific approach. A good innovation leader doesn’t rely on what is comfortable, but instead challenges assumptions and envisions alternative possibilities. And when the workforce is encouraged to think for themselves, it opens up a world of possibilities and experimentation.

 

4. Move quickly

With studies showing that high-performing companies are more likely to strive for first-mover advantage, there seems to be a strong correlation between speed of execution and degree of innovation. Thinking ahead of the curve and looking to the future – by tracking emerging trends and connecting the dots – enables organisations to transform change into opportunity.

A good leader today is synonymous with transforming challenges into opportunities for the company and its people, by leveraging teamwork and collaboration. Rethinking the traditional leadership role (and mastering new skills) will enable managers and organisations to engage their people at a deeper level and ensure a sustainable and more brilliant future for their business.

 

Why innovation drives engagement among generations Y and Z paper

How Fleury brings its suppliers on board to improve business operations

Seeing innovation as a leverage for change, the Brazilian Fleury Group currently has 2,500 stakeholders involved in its innovation efforts. They have shared almost 3,000 ideas, of which close to a third have been implemented, generating 4.3 million reais of aggregated value in the last two years alone (approximately 900,000 euros).

The results were presented in a conference organised by the Fleury Group to discuss “Intrapreneurship and Open Innovation”, in São Paulo, on November 23rd. The company, one of the largest groups of clinical analysis services in Latin America, gathered key suppliers and several companies to share knowledge and experience on open innovation and intrapreneurship initiatives.

 

Spreading healthcare innovation

In 2011, the Fleury Group introduced Central de Ideias, an innovation program supported by an Exago solution, to unlock the innovation potential of Fleury’s workforce, aimed at improving internal processes, employee well-being and customer service, as well as its medical and technical procedures. Central de Ideias helped the Fleury Group reach the top 5 shortlist for the international 2015 IMP³rove Award.

In 2012, Fleury decided to also involve its suppliers in its innovation challenges, also using Exago. PERC, the Supply Chain Relationship Excellence Program, was developed to expand these efforts further, using a multicentric and multidisciplinary innovation approach. PERC ensures a closer relationship between Fleury and its supply chain, recognising the suppliers with the best performance over the course of the year.

With its comprehensive idea management programme, the Fleury Group seeks to apply practical and technical solutions that bring change to products, processes and services within the organisation or in specific areas that accumulate value – by generating revenue, reducing costs and improving people’s experience.

Founded in 1926, Fleury is one of the largest and most respected Brazilian healthcare companies. With close to 10,000 employees and more than 200 healthcare units across the country, the national leader of the premium segment in Diagnostic Medicine invests heavily in R&D and applying state-of-the-art technology across its business chain.

Connecting the dots for the future at the Web Summit 2018

As we enter the final day here at the Web Summit Lisbon 2018, we’re still trying to digest all that’s happening. We’re overwhelmed to see the power of so many ideas in action, as start-ups, as well as established, well-known companies, reinvent ways of doing – including (proudly) many of our clients using Exago innovation software.

They are leading the way to transform how we work and live in ways we cannot fully grasp at the moment: from pharmaceuticals through to sustainable living, retail, music, banking, games and heavy industries. Some ideas and projects will fail, some will succeed. This is how innovation works. But you try, you learn and, either way, you help shape bits of the future.

We are around and connecting with business leaders to empower people within companies to build what’s coming next together. Get in touch to meet via the Web Summit app: Diana Carvalho and Andreia Dias.

The 5 steps for strategic cost-cutting in your innovation agenda

In times of uncertainty, when business models are challenged, managers and financial directors are bound to cut costs to make organisations more agile, robust and adaptable to change. Leaders with a clear vision then tend to use cost-cutting and improvement to align costs with business strategy, to lower costs, focus on the aspects of the business that are controllable and free up resources to fund transformation and future growth.

However, aggressive cost-cutting tactics will not salvage companies under pressure. The change must go deeper, reaching a strategic and cultural level. This means that a company’s most valuable assets – people and their talents – must be mobilised to innovate and to find new ways of working that do not require high investments in new product research and development. Together you can save substantial amounts of time and money.

We show you how to add strategic cost-cutting and improvement to your innovation agenda, and how the development of an innovation culture is a powerful tool to align people’s focus, change behaviours, save costs and deliver continuous and effective results. To make it work, we guide you through the following five steps:

 

1. Define your strategic cost-cutting goals, which can be incorporated in your innovation agenda.

You need to have a clear view of your company’s strategy and map out good and bad costs for programme intervention, at macro and micro levels. On the one hand, bad costs should be seen as those that do not align with the growth strategy. On the other hand, good costs are those that support business capabilities to achieve growth and may be worthy of more investment.

2. Guarantee C-Suite engagement from the beginning and have a clear direction for your cost strategy.

You should deliver cost optimisation with the support of the CEO and top managers, defining areas of improvement from the beginning, as well as how to address each of these areas.

3. Invest more in bottom-up approaches, engaging and having your people contributing.

Simply externalising tasks and reducing headcount are often ways to overshadow a complex problem. You need to call on people’s knowledge and experience to help you separate the wheat from the chaff and find concrete and innovative solutions.

4. Be resilient in creating a cost-conscious culture for continuous optimisation of resource use.

Over time, as you seek new ways to rationalise and optimise costs, a new culture of strategic cost-cutting will be embedded.

5. Explain to your workforce your shared mission and remove fears,

ensuring that both needs and strategy are consistently understood across the organisation. Your employees must feel they have a role to play and can have an active voice in the decision-making process, being welcomed into the discussion about the best ways to reach the proposed goals.

 

A well-structured innovation management programme for strategic cost-cutting and improvement can be particularly useful to get employees identifying ground-level enhancements, with several additional advantages:

  • allowing you to develop a cost-conscious culture
  • easily uncover bad costs and inefficiencies
  • assure more dialogue and engagement
  • build up an ongoing, resilient process

Strategic cost-cutting is never blind cutting. It is, in fact, a method to accelerate the discovery of new and more effective ways of doing business, at a lower cost, challenging you to look at the larger picture, to seek the root cause of the problem. It should be seen as a way of questioning how we do things, even why we do them, exploring new innovative routes and building the foundations of tomorrow’s growth.

Andreia Agostinho Dias, Sales Executive
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Get to know the Five Steps to Introduce Cost-cutting in your Innovation Agenda here