Staying innovative and agile in a competitive market
IPI’s futurepulse podcast discusses with business leaders how companies can remain at the forefront of technology trends and innovation.
In a world driven by rapid technology advancements, innovation is a key driver for success and it is essential for businesses to remain one step ahead and not be stuck in organisation inertia.
Diving into the world of impactful innovation, IPI’s futurepulse podcast invites industry leaders and experts to share lessons from their innovation and entrepreneurial journeys, as well as insights into just how companies have been making the best of the changing business and innovation landscape.
We take a look at three episodes and highlight the takeaways focusing on the importance of collaboration, pivoting and overcoming adversity.
Growth and inspiration
The importance of fruitful collaboration is evident in the very first episode where Dr Sze Tiam Lin, head of innovation and technology at IPI, talks about how each partner involved needs to embrace all of the ideas presented in order to ensure growth and inspiration. Particularly important in a global pandemic, partnerships can help businesses that are under more pressure than ever to accelerate product development and processes.
“I think they really have to enhance and refresh their products to stay competitive in a very fast-changing world,” advised Dr Sze. “If they attempt to create everything themselves, it may take much longer, and they might miss the opportunity.”
Drawing on lessons from his decades of experience in R&D, Dr David Jakubovic, Senior Director R&D, Open Innovation Asia at P&G offers advice on attracting relevant partners that will propel a business’ future direction. “Start with ambition to do something that really matters,” he said. “Because if it really matters to you and to your business, it's probably also going to matter to others—you can inspire people to come and join you to solve that problem.”
With new ideas and partnerships in play, it is critical for businesses to use such resources to their fullest potential. By identifying the right pivot point—be it a complete transformation, moving into an adjacent market, or targeting a specific business opportunity—they can make the most of the resources they have.
The podcast’s second episode features IPI Innovation Advisors Bill Padfield and Chok Yean Hung who dive into the potential challenges and opportunities that can lead to a pivot for businesses. According to Padfield, an enterprise should only feel the breath of transformation because it needs to. For example, rather than pivoting just to suit a new CEO’s preferences, changing market trends or the need to address a fundamental issue are more justifiable reasons for a shift and could potentially lead to increased growth for the company.
“With some of the larger groups that I’ve worked with, pivoting is something they will get a clear roadmap on,” he explained. “They also spend time defining what success looks like and ensuring that they’re not just pivoting for the sake of it.”
With a clear roadmap in place, as well as the right opportunity for change, it is then essential to manoeuvre to the right spot. Chok stresses the need for consistent validation in order to pivot to a place with market value.
“You need the right people, you need the processes behind it, and you need to validate it periodically so that you don’t transform your company to something that has no value,” he said.
Despite pivoting to the right market and working with partners to develop the best product possible, running a company is hardly ever smooth sailing. Business leaders will continue to face adversity in the form of competition, expenses and more.
Indeed, the fourth episode of futurepulse welcomed young entrepreneur Zoey Tong, founder and CEO of HR solution developers Octomate, who advised on how adversity can be overcome when stakeholders are supportive and aligned with the vision and direction of the company. Importantly, to instil confidence in the first place, innovators must prove the value of their product and enterprise.
“Once you can show some initial success to justify and inspire people, then you will start to get buy-in,” she explained. “Not just from fellow babies, but also from the big boys and middle-aged companies—once you have people and organisations assimilated with the ‘why’, then the funding and resources are just mechanics to enable it to happen.”
Despite the consistent challenges business leaders face, a point highlighted in this podcast episode four was the need to push past failure and celebrate all wins, no matter how small. “It’s a journey, not a destination; learn from your failures but focus on your success,” said veteran entrepreneur Amanda Khoo, director at manufacturing firm Nipo International.
With the potential to completely transform and drive a business, innovation can lead to a tiny change or a massive shift. Either way, there will always be an area of business worth looking at or hearing about on the futurepulse podcast.