Beyond Technology Leadership

Technology leadership is ever more difficult to attain as it become easier for competitors to copy your technology, and the investment required to maintain the technology leader in the market may not be sustainable. As the leaders of an organisation your may ask yourself if there are better ways to achieve and sustain the required growth.

Noventum works with a lot of companies who are at the moment still successful as technology leaders. As growth and margins from technology driven business are going down, companies initiate the dialogue with their customers to identify new opportunities for profitable and sustainable growth. Insights into their customers’ business challenges often make companies realize that  tremendous potential can be found in the application of their technology expertise in the context of their customers’ situation. By becoming a strategic business partner rather than a promoter of the newest technological features, companies can offer more value to their customers.

Business innovations outside the area of technology are needed to stay ahead of the game. A shift from a technology leader to become a leading solution provider requires innovating the current business model until it meets the needs of the customers. But how do you start this innovation process? First of all you need to know what your customers really need.  The next step is to innovate in the value creation approach. When you start with a blank sheet, and look beyond technological opportunities, you can come up with unique product-service combinations which can help your customers to run their business more efficient and effective. 

One phenomenon that we notice in companies that start such a shift, is a required change in leadership skills. Not just the leadership at the top level of a company but also the leadership of  small teams. Innovation becomes a top priority on the strategic agenda, and therefore a hot topic within the whole organization. Opportunities to innovate may come from anywhere inside or outside the organisation and leaders should provide the opportunity to their teams to express their thoughts, have that insightful dialogue with customers and start thinking out of the box. Ideally the leadership should be open to any new idea.

This cultural change not only results in new ideas but also reveals who are the ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers, and that there are different ways to approach the business. Mixing different people in teams leads to eye-openers and open discussions that may produce great ideas.

Once you have collected that box full of new ideas then first of all be proud of your people. Second,  select a few high potential initiatives to start with.  As with any other large change initiative you cannot do it all at once. Therefore break a large project into pieces, celebrate and, more important, communicate the achieved milestones to further promote an out-of-the-box thinking culture. For more information  about how to tackle complex service design challenges you may want to read our article on The Service Factory where component based thinking is explained.

In the process of promoting innovation, risk-taking leadership is required. Small projects should obviously not be forgotten but they will never provide you with a break through enabling you to outperform your competitors. On the other hand, large and long-term projects are unpredictable and hard to manage. One way to reduce the risk is to make sure you avoid the common pitfalls of business innovation and do not try to reinvent the wheel. A fresh perspective from outside your company from people that see a lot of other businesses and industries may provide just the jump start you needed. 

If you would like to know more about how Noventum has successfully helped companies innovating with service business and assisted in the business transformation, feel free to contact us today!

 

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