Innovative culture provides space to make mistakes

‘First look at their needs with your customers or users. What problem needs to be solved? ‘

Nice interview with Marketingfacts founder Marco Derksen this week on the company page for Nationale Nederlanden. With a range of tips and advice in quick succession for organizations that want to be and stay innovative. “Innovation means renewal. It can be done in all sorts of ways. You can renew your product. Or your services. But innovation can also mean renewing your entire organization. So the meaning is very broad.”

Will there be a time when you ‘finish’ innovating? was the fascinating concluding question in an interview that NN recently posted on its corner of business-interesting articles. For yes: many exponential organizations switch back to traditional organizations after a while. Like Booking.com. But new companies like EnergieDirect have also started to look like traditional companies over the years. “If a business model is successful, companies try to maintain it. Continuity and stability are more important than innovation. It is a challenge to ensure that you stay fresh and innovative. An innovation culture helps. Especially in this time of change,” said Marco Derksen. Well known as the creator of this professional blog, of course, but today still involved as an advisory left outside the editorial office and as the founder and co-owner of Strategic Advisory Upstream.

“I often come up with other ideas as an outsider”

We do not hit the lawn of the feet of the otherwise anonymous interviewer with a summary of the entire interview (what a strange business site phenomenon, as if NN himself comes up with questions), so read that article yourself. But we will take a few beautiful sayings from the old master here, for it triggers and it fascinates. Innovating for the sake of innovation is not for every organization or business model. Or relevant. But many companies want to be or at least appear: ‘innovative’. And in many cases, Marco is flown in because, as a relative outsider, he has fresh ideas, which he explains: “In my role as a strategic advisor, I am also regularly asked to think with companies. As an outsider, I often come up with other ideas. than people who have worked there for years. “

Marco (it does not feel OK to call him ‘Derksen’ here) provides a number of prerequisites for an innovative culture. For example, he points out that there must be room to make mistakes, ie strong leadership, explains that agile work fits well with innovative ambitions and points to the dangers associated with appointing an ‘innovation team’. The digital ninjas risk losing their connection to the market with their secret mission, but especially with their own organization.

human side

I personally found it interesting to read how much he has become more and more a marketer over the years in the sense that the market and society have become the starting point of his thinking. Where after the turn of the millennium we could sometimes tap back and forth in the comments field to Fakta with the question of whether marketing is about bringing digital innovation outwards or on the contrary bringing the market and society inside (in companies), he thinks is quite ‘around’. Innovation is not a goal, but a means of giving consumers what they want. Whether they see it themselves or not: “Organizations that innovate often do so in three steps. First, look at their needs with your customers or users. What problem needs to be solved? And what solutions does your company have for this?”

The attention that, in his view, should be placed on the ‘human side’ of innovative companies is also explicitly mentioned: “That social innovation is perhaps even more important than technological innovation. Your employees must ultimately embark on your innovation. They must understand , why it’s important. “

All in all, an easy-to-read article that in itself provides a very useful checklist for companies in transition or the desire to embrace a more innovative culture. And a very practical explanation of the difference between the importance of incremental innovations and radical innovations. Just the ‘traditional’ of traditional companies, it was and still is Marco’s favorite stopgap for anything and everyone who does not move. For the old friend Willem-Albert Bol, the qualification “traditional” can be translated as timeless. In that sense, many exponential companies wanted to one day achieve “traditional” status.

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