Innovation is the secret to long-term business success

Innováció a hosszútávú üzleti siker titka

Everyone knows that innovation is essential for long-term business success. But when we talk about innovation, many people limit their thinking to the latest technological tools. However, innovation does not stop there, despite the fact that, with Industry 4.0 and the rise of generative artificial intelligence, technology is now an almost inescapable part of innovation.

What is innovation?

According to the OECD definition , innovation is the successful development and application of new knowledge. It includes the development and use of new tools, but also the unusual, novel use of an existing tool. In fact, any improvement that meets the following 3 conditions can be an innovation for a company:

  1. novelty, new method– not necessarily worldwide, but at least within the workgroup or company where it is being applied
  2. creates value- provides an effective solution to a problem
  3. live solution– i.e. used in practice, not just theoretical

Innovation is about making work processes more efficient or making it easier to solve problems. It allows the company to stay relevant and maintain its competitive advantage in the market.

Example of innovation

Given a manufacturing company employing hundreds of people, it struggles to coordinate its organisation, align the activities of its employees and provide them with real-time information. Their current method is to distribute news of changes via a bulletin board, which employees either read or not. They also use time-consuming meetings or telephone calls to inform the head of department, who passes the message on to the team leaders and so on. However, the more people are involve, the more distorted the information becomes.

So in this case, it could be an innovation for the manufacturer to introduce a more efficient internal communication solution than the current one. A solution such as CHEQ, for example, which ensures that everyone is informed of changes first hand and immediately, thus coordinating the entire company. This alignment also improves company performance and results. It can therefore be said without a doubt that the new communication channel, as a coordination tool, creates value for the company when actively used.

Anyone can be the initiator of innovation

Anyone, regardless of their job position, can find a new, more efficient method for solving tasks and problems. You can too! High-level IT knowledge is not necessary. Your practical experience and a new perspective are enough.

For example: you want to collect from colleagues in a simpler way, instead of on paper

  • the attendance sheets,
  • the declarations or
  • other documents that require a signature,

because you know that this method is outdated. Moreover, it can be a very time-, energy- and cost-intensive task, and it is not sustainable. Especially when you have 500-1000 or more employees in your company, possibly even in geographically dispersed locations.

So you have a problem, you look for alternatives to solve it, and then you find CHEQ+GoodID digital signature , which is easy to use and compliant with the law. The use of this solution will be an innovation for your company even if the digital signature solution itself has been available for years. Why? Because it represents a method that is unknown to the company and has never been used before.

So innovation in your company doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to create something completely new from scratch. Sometimes it’s enough to just approach things from a new angle and make use of the alternatives that are already available.

How does a company become an innovator among its competitors?

People-centredness is the key to innovation. Innovation is brought by people for people, it is a product of the human brain. That’s why, as tempting as it may be to replace human resources with never-sick, never-tired machines and always accurate artificial intelligence to analyse data, you can’t do it. After all, machines can only do what we teach and program them to do. They are incapable of taking a new perspective on human problems and needs. While they are excellent for repetitive and automatable tasks, and work very well with huge databases, which the human brain can no longer do. However, they lack the creativity that characterises humans, so they can only be instruments of innovation, not creators.

Anyone can be an initiator of business innovation.

Who should be employed?

So for your company to be innovative, it’s essential that you hire the right people. According to Alexandre Janssen, a corporate innovation expert, you need to hire people who are enthusiastic about solving a particular problem or task, and who are persistent in that enthusiasm and have the ability to think critically. The skills needed to get the job done can be acquired or partly replaced by technological advances and by working closely with colleagues with the right expertise. But it is enthusiasm that can drive people forward as intrinsic motivation.

In a previous TEDxTalks he told the story of an accountant who, after a conversation with a colleague, got the idea to develop a medical app. He pitched the idea to his employer, who told him to stay in accounting. Then another company came along who saw potential and innovation in the accountant’s idea, so they offered him a position to work on developing the medical app. The decision was a success for all concerned.

The environment matters too

It is important to note that hiring the right people is not enough. It is vital that the company provides a safe and open working environment that encourages experimentation. No-one can be creative and innovative in an environment where failure is unacceptable and where there are constant barriers to entry. This does not mean that companies should throw money at everything mindlessly. Of course, financial limits should be set. For example, at the beginning of the year, an innovation budget can be set, from which anyone can draw during the year once their idea has been approved.

This is why innovation is important for companies

1. Provides solutions to complex or time-consuming business problems

Innovative solutions give you the opportunity to achieve your goals differently than you have done before. And these innovations often make tasks faster, simpler and more efficient.

If, for example, keeping your employees’ knowledge up to date poses a problem for you, which 

  • ensures the high-level production of products
  • contributes to sales success
  • increases customer satisfaction

then implementing a tool like CHEQ could be the solution to your problem. The platform can create a knowledge base that all employees can access via their smartphones. In addition, e-learning courses, onboarding materials and training sessions can be made available through the app. Furthermore, it can be used to complete and evaluate tests on these topics, as well as to keep records.

2. Increases productivity

Innovation also has a positive impact on productivity . You can optimise the time needed to complete each task, or even automate simpler, routine tasks to increase efficiency. Using innovative solutions can also motivate employees and increase their engagement. This can motivate employees to invest more energy than the minimum required to create value for the company.

3. Contributes to the attraction and retention of talents

Companies known for their innovative approach also find it easier to attract and retain talent. It’s a source of pride for everyone to work for a company that uses cutting-edge technology and is open to innovation. And this is especially true for younger workers. Labour market surveys show that the technological excellence of a company is a top factor in the choice of workplace for the next generation. Moreover, with more and more Gen Z workers entering the labour market, no company can afford not to innovate. In fact, using outdated methods can not only put them at a competitive disadvantage in the market, but can also cause them significant recruitment and retention problems.

4. Provides a competitive advantage

Innovation gives a company a competitive advantage in many ways. On the one hand, it supports the flexibility and sustainability of companies. Companies that are open to innovative solutions are better prepared for economic downturns and respond more quickly to environmental changes. In addition to their operational responsiveness (changes in production volume), their strategic responsiveness (new market, new product, new distribution channels, etc.) is also high. In Covid, we have all seen that firms that have been less affected by the epidemic have been those that have quickly found ways to adapt their operations and workflows to the unexpected. Whether it was by using a tool like CHEQto coordinate workers’ tasks and schedules.

In addition, as I mentioned above, innovation also supports the competitiveness of the company through better human resource and information management. And also by contributing to increasing employee and customer satisfaction.

Follow our upcoming articles, as we’ll be taking a deeper dive into digital innovation. We’ll find out how digital your company is, what factors influence innovation, and how you can support your company’s digital transformation. And of course, you’ll also learn why it’s important for productivity. Watch our articles!