10 Tips to Promote Innovation in the Digital Age

In this video, Nigel Schmalkuche, Managing Director, Strategic Architects outlines 10 tips to Promote Innovation in the Digital Age.

Promoting Innovation in the Digital Age by Nigel Schmalkuche



  1. Be customer centric – for successful transformation from a traditional enterprise to a customer centric digitally enabled organisation, staff and management need to be brought along the journey of discovery. Solutions that align to the strategic goals of the organisation are of prime importance with customer centricity always a key consideration. It is important to note that those businesses that survived digital disruption are the ones that listened and responded to the changing needs of the customer. They are the ones who were able to achieve better business outcomes.
  2. Enlist Innovative Thinkers – collaborative groups need innovative thinkers rather than too many naysayers who try to invent ways to prevent good ideas from blossoming.
  3. Start Collaborative Communities – the creation of innovative groups including communities of practice and other collaborative teams with a common goal of thinking outside the box to discuss innovative solutions to common business problems should be encouraged.
  4. Anyone can have a great idea – often the best innovative ideas come from the staff that know their subject-matter and have the most contact with the customer. They don’t often get to go to the planning workshops where business goals are defined, and their ideas can be overlooked.
  5. Initiate Innovative Challenges and Reward Success – energetic alternative thinkers need to be given an outlet to put forward ideas and have peers discuss these ideas and add new perspectives at the start of the process of discovery. Creative ideas do not fully blossom until discussed and reworked with other professionals who are subject matter experts in the business or IT disciplines. Ideas that are deemed worthy need to be funded with the accolade provided to those involved in generating the idea and making it happen. 
  6. Promote Design Thinking – methodologies like Design Thinking help challenge the more traditional ways of thinking and help foster more innovative solutions much faster than was previously thought possible.
  7. Begin with the end in mind – starting with the future state is important to better understand how the idea or solution would meet the strategic goals and direction of the organisation. Too often too much time is spent on analysing the problem and the current state without examining what is possible in the future.
  8. Pick the low hanging fruits – innovative ideas that are easy to do, that result in a fair amount of success and provide a confidence boost to the team involved are best at the start. Often from early quick wins there is a steam-roll effect for other ideas to flourish.
  9. Encourage Executives to Walk-the-floor – this is a great way for executives to pick up innovative ideas from staff who otherwise would just do their job and not tell anyone of significant improvements that can be made.
  10. Initiate an Innovation Hour – one hour a week is a good investment to provide staff with the opportunity to look at how they could change the way they do their job to improve the delivery of services to the customer or back office processes. An innovation portal can go a long way in capturing these ideas and opening discussion.