Old dogs can learn new tricks: why organisations need innovation to maintain a competitive edge

A talk by Kevin D'Silva
Founder and CEO, Ideateplus

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About this talk

A common pattern seen throughout history is that companies establish themselves, become narrow-minded in their approach, and lose all entrepreneurial or innovative spirit, which in turn impedes growth and risks loss of market share. A look at the list of Fortune 500 companies from 1955 shows that 88% of those organisations no longer exist.

The digitisation of companies, which has reached meteoric speeds as a result of the pandemic, is forcing companies to welcome change, work smarter, and adopt a future-centric outlook. Organisations that are unwilling to adapt, evolve and take risks might soon find themselves with the bankrupt ex-Fortune 500s: left behind and superseded.

Maintaining business continuity is one thing, but investing in innovation is another. This shift, from focussing on the present to forecasting for the unpredictable future, is imperative if companies are to be able to adapt their central aims and services to meet the ever-shifting climate. Through supporting intrapreneurial ventures, an organisation can encourage individuals with creative problem solving skills and abilities to identify new opportunities, and foster an internal willingness to disrupt the status quo. Intrapreneurs are natural change assets: they will not only drive change, but create the blueprint for others to follow. By supporting a few people to change their mindsets, in time, it can lead to the overhaul of an organisation’s outlook.

So, what’s my golden advice for companies wishing to remain relevant? To create an environment that supports and encourages meaningful internal innovation. Intrapreneurship encourages employees to behave like entrepreneurs within their own company. When implemented successfully, this leads to an environment that breeds creativity, boosts engagement, and results in actionable innovation that can result in increased revenues. To give you an idea of how effective intrapreneurship can be, consider that the Post-It Note, Sony PlayStation, and the Facebook ‘Like’ buttons were all devised, developed and launched by internal teams.

Session takeaways: - The myriad ways that intrapreneurship can enhance a business: from providing aggressive top line growth with new product and service development, improving the bottom line by leveraging existing resources, cutting time-to-market in order to maintain a competitive edge, transforming company culture, and improving retention and recruitment. - The best existing resource that an organisation can leverage is its employees, and by empowering staff to drive small and big changes, companies can ensure they are highly engaged, which aids with productivity, retention, and recruitment. - Intrapreneurship has been proven to effectively engage employees, boost morale and increase productivity as workers are given a platform which is challenging and meaningful. - According to Gallup, employee engagement can lead to an increase in productivity which amounts to an increase of 21% profitability for companies. Intrapreneurship has been proven to effectively engage employees, boost morale and increase productivity as workers are given a platform which is challenging and meaningful.