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How to unlock an ‘innovation mindset’
To have a mindset that focuses on innovation means organisations and individuals should harness creativity, experts reveal.
In a recent Chasm Digital webinar, Get future-fit: Leverage the power of digital to transform your business, or re-invent all together, business leaders from various sectors discussed how organisations can leverage the power of digital to transform and reinvent their businesses.

The panellists included:

  • Libby Roberts, Founder, LeapForward
  • Robert Kinkade, Co-Founder, CEO, Chasm Digital
  • Paul Smitton, Director, Customer Lifestyle, Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Vijay Solanki, Co-Founder and CEO, ParentalEQ

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Be open to technology and its possibilities
Libby Roberts, Founder, LeapForward, says businesses should be open to looking at all the possibilities out there, especially when it comes to technology.

"There are so many different things technology can do. Some of it is still cutting edge. For LeapForward, we're looking at emotion AI for our platform, which is quite new in its development," Libby explains.

Using technology to enhance services can make what organisations do 100 times better than it is. The possibilities with technology are so much greater than what is humanly possible, Libby says.

"You need to embrace those possibilities because innovation isn't just about improving. It's about transforming industries," Libby adds.

Large organisations that try to create a culture for their employees, sometimes fall into the trap of having the "this is not how things are done here" mindset.

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Embrace diversity
Paul Smitton, Director, Customer Lifestyle, Cathay Pacific Airways, says large businesses need to create a culture and environment of openness where people can share, trust and work with each other, which begins with diversity.

"I'm a big fan of diversity in the workplace but it can't just be an Environmental, Social and Governance tick box. It's got to be much deeper and more meaningful. Diversity is about people bringing their true selves to work. Whoever they are at home should be who we see at work. You shouldn't be trying to be a team player by trying to be part of the culture and not speak up," Paul says.

When you have people feeling genuinely relaxed, it becomes a safe place to speak up, talk, share and have fun. That is when good things begin to happen, Paul notes.

"It's important for the leadership teams, and myself included, to be demonstrating that all the time. You can't deviate from that path, because people are looking at you as a leader and trying to take cues on how to behave.

"I spent a few years at Virgin Atlantic in the UK, and Richard Branson is famous for having the philosophy to look after your staff. If you have staff that are having fun and enjoying their work, they are going to do great things which will lead to great customer outcomes," Paul says.

When you create that open culture, everything else follows, Paul says, "When I hire new people, I always tell them, don't be afraid just to ask dumb questions because it might just be the brilliant question. They've got fresh eyes looking at the problem in a different way."

Vijay Solanki, Co-Founder and CEO, ParentalEQ agrees. He stresses any company, large or startup, needs to have a diverse team.

“A team that is racially, culturally and mindfully diverse will produce innovative ideas. It is often easy to align with optimistic positive people, who agree with everything,” he says.

“But it has incredible value, although it might not feel like it at the time, to have a few of the naysayers in the team. When I look back, often I would grab all the yes people and put them in my team. I would reflect on that decision thinking we might have made some better decisions if we had more diversity.”

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Consider the key steps to innovation
To achieve an open, innovative mindset, Robert Kinkade, Co-Founder, CEO, Chasm Digital sets out some key steps organisations can take.

First, Robert says organisations need to go back to the ‘why’, the core purpose and what problem they are trying to solve.

"It's about getting breakthrough thinking that can solve problems and unlock new opportunities. So it’s important to start with the ‘why’," Robert says.

Second, create a minimum viable product (MVP). There is importance to the MVP concept where an organisation determines the bare minimum they need to test their thinking and assumptions, to build what they need to build, Robert notes.

Third, organisations need to celebrate both the wins and the learnings. "I heard one company CEO talking about how they have an innovation team. They don't go through lots of steering committees and they don't go through lots of bureaucracy. They've got a focused quarterly cadence.

"The CEO set the expectation that it's okay to say, we didn't win anything this quarter, but we ran these 10 experiments and this is what we learned. We now know that we don't want to focus any more attention in these areas because there's no appetite or there's no opportunity there." Robert explains.

"For larger organisations, it’s easier to put these steps in place as they have an innovation budget and the time and money to go through these cycles. Whereas if you're a startup, it's harder to implement but necessary nonetheless," Robert ends

As the aftermath of the pandemic lingers, business leaders need to take the time to understand the importance of being digitally savvy. However, a plan is not enough. To ensure digital adoption, leaders must also create an open and accepting culture within a workspace, which will set them up to be future fit and put them in a better position for digital innovation.

Watch Chasm Digital’s webinar, Get future-fit: Leverage the power of digital to transform your business, or re-invent all together free and on demand here.

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