Whatever our views are on the future of work, one thing’s for sure: times are changing. Advancing technologies are fuelling a robot-and-AI-filled future, which means we will need to innovate faster and with more agility if we hope to be relevant for the future of work. Here are 10 things your organisation can do today to prepare for change, disruption and the need for innovation:
1. Disrupt or be disrupted
Don’t be a Nokia – be a Netflix. Changing business models, shifting demographics and widening skills gaps need to be addressed head-on, with creativity and drive. Be prepared to completely uproot how you currently think, act and conduct your business. Get the entire management team, board and employees on your side and aligned with the direction.
2. Deep dive for insights
Go back to the drawing board. Disruption is about going back to basics, identifying unmet customer needs, solving pain points and being unafraid to take risks. Research into your own company, competitors and industry to anticipate the needs of your customers.
3. Plan ahead but act now
Look at the opportunities you can implement quickly, now, while looking ahead to your business vision in 2-10 years’ time. Innovation is best managed with a long-term perspective, taking steps now to future-proof your organisation for tomorrow.
4. Turn fear and anxiety into creativity and opportunity
Change is a constant; viewing it as a threat isn’t a useful strategy. It’s everyone’s responsibility to thrive within the organisation and this means embracing the ‘rise of the machines’ and recognising the huge potential for new innovations and possibilities. New technologies are enabling us to think differently about tools, tasks and more.
5. Embrace uncertainty
Learn to be change-able and build a business that has the ability to manage change effectively, by building a culture of healthy risk taking and agile thinking. Developing a healthy attitude to risk and failure will help you to change directions, be open to new ways of working and capitalise on opportunities.
6. Invest in your people
Train and upskill your people to mobilise and prepare them for the future of work. Tackle the new wave of technologies and trends, and the shifting division of labour between workers and machines, by investing in your staff – not just in terms of training and retraining for technical roles but also in ‘human’ skills such as creativity, original thinking and emotional intelligence.
7. Build a thriving work culture
Keeping good people is more efficient than hiring new. People are important, as they are the ones who can help you solve your most important business challenges. Harness the knowledge and insight from the people who know your business best and empower them to generate ideas and drive positive change.
8. Data, Data, Data
Data is the answer for measuring success. If you don’t set objectives and KPIs, then how will you know you’ve succeeded in achieving your goals? The same goes for innovation. Focus on what’s important to measure – what business challenge are you looking to solve and what metrics can you use? It could be financial savings, increased transparency, improved customer experience or resource savings etc.
9. Cast your net wider
Collect more user-centred valuable insight and co-create with your workforce, ecosystem and customers by harnessing the power of collaborative innovation and idea management. No one organisation has all the answers, so explore opportunities to work with partners, suppliers, scientists, academics, competitors and customers, to harness the value of networks, help generate ideas and solve challenges.
10. Try, test, fail, repeat
This is a time of reinvention and collaboration. Developing a growth mindset helps us embrace failure and learn from it faster, which is essential to creating a culture of innovation that supports and celebrates purpose, creativity and collaboration. Iteration is key to successful innovation.