The pace of change and the difficulty of predicting disruptive technologies, processes and business models multiplies this challenge. No longer do we live in a world where your grandmothers knowledge stood you in good stead. In fact, even last weeks intuitions can be unstable and things don’t seem to be getting easier.
We can however make educated predictions based on today’s circumstances. Naturally in many business arenas we already do this. We create both short and long-term plans based on today’s business environment. A lot of common plans, such as sales and marketing plans are specifically designed to take today’s business into the future. But they are based on and support current business and can have a short term mindset.
Companies also create longer term plans, often referred to as roadmaps, that often support future scenarios for products, services and technologies. These roadmaps can be problematic because, as mentioned, longer term thinking is more problematic in our fast moving times, but both long and short term thinking can be hampered by a common mistake.
This mistake is generated by an over reliance on one of two paradigms within the business world, Outside-in and Inside-out thinking. Occasionally companies merge these paradigms and create success but generally they become stuck in one or the other mindset. Previously we’ve talked about the danger of over relying on core competencies and this is again relevant here.
Inside-out thinking can rely too heavily on a belief that a given company has a proven success with previous strategies and capabilities which will continue to prevail. Of course, if the business environment remained stable and changed predictable and slowly, they would. But we all know that this isn’t the case and it probably never will be again.
The problem with these Inside-out roadmaps is that they often focus internally on a given company and what they’ve done previously, and forget the customer needs and desires into the future. And without seeing the customer’s perspective, companies get lost.
If we want to create a robust plan for the future we need both perspectives to work hand in hand. We need to know which assets to build and which strengths to support but we also need a clear understanding of ongoing customer needs.
How do we do this? We create customer roadmaps based on strong customer insights and customers’ perspective in the short, medium and long term. These customer roadmaps not only guide us toward future business but they also give us a common language and common goals to strive towards.
Customer roadmaps also encourage companies to be flexible in terms of Inside-out and Outside-in perspectives which gives them a far better chance of really coming to terms with an uncertain the future. You may not be in the same league as the Oracle of Delphi, but you’ll be heading in the right direction.
To gain further insights into how to build and strengthen your innovation process, get in touch and find out how we can help you.
We’ve been pioneering the professionalisation of innovation since 2000 to become one of the worlds leading innovation consultancies. Amplify has developed and implemented unique innovation services that deliver immediate and long-term sustainable value, together with clients such as BMW, Siemens, Ericsson and AstraZeneca. Amplify also trains hundreds of new innovation managers on an annual basis, through their own programs and together with major international executive schools.
Professionalising innovation with Amplify means proactively embracing today and tomorrow.