When it comes to innovation in your industry, which of these best describes your attitude:
- Are you a leader?
- Are you a close follower?
- Or, do you say, "Wake me up when it really matters?"
At the October 2019 CEOtoCEO Breakfast, Gus Simonds, CEO of MacDonald-Miller, made the case for being a leader in technological innovation, whatever the industry. Using their groundbreaking new virtual reality lab, MLAB, as an example, Gus detailed the innovation process from inception to implementation.
The innovation process starts, Gus says, with removing opposition from the inside. Anyone in your company who resists innovation, whether because it makes their job more difficult, forces them to learn something new, or any other reason, is preventing your company from gaining a competitive advantage in the long-run.
After removing those internal obstacles, Gus provided three key criteria for identifying, and moving forward with, an innovation pursuit:
- The customer cares about it.
- It reduces re-work, saves time, and improves quality.
- Bonus - it is something no competitor has.
If you meet these criteria, it is time to begin the innovation journey. And once you're on that journey, the most important thing, as with most projects, is a clear delegation of responsibilities combined with a strong team with the "sprint capacity" to learn from mistakes and drive the task to completion.