Driving Sustainable and Affordable Innovation Initiatives with Data Analytics
Staying ahead of the competition was always important. Now it’s essential for survival. The new way of business means innovation must be ongoing and enduring. It must be woven into the fabric of your business.
Casual innovation or reliance on achieving best business practices has become obsolete.
Rather, integration of innovation as a core capability can ensure sustainable innovation. That is, your business will always be on or near the leading edge of your industry.
Now you can take innovation to the next level by leveraging data analytics.
This post dives into how data analytics and innovation can take you beyond survival. Specifically, it will explain how you can thrive irrespective of today’s disruptions.
With that in mind, we will cover the use of analytics in the following four areas:
- Identifying viable, cost-efficient areas of innovation for profit and competitive advantage
- Enabling data-based decision-making required to transform and transition your business
- Keeping key leaders and team members equipped with timely and critical information
- Staying focused and on track by measuring the success of your innovation initiatives
Now, let’s discuss how data analytics can aid you in identifying areas of innovation.
Identifying Areas of Innovation
Your organization will not only survive. It will also thrive as you leverage strategic and tactical insights. Adopting practices that consider strategic and tactical insights will set your business apart.
It will do so by expanding beyond possibilities into probabilities. And when combined with analytics, you can discern your best path ahead. Analytics will identify the possibilities and suggest likely options for a successful outcome.
It could be a more competitive business process. It could be a unique, long-lasting savings initiative. Or it could be a new, unparallel customer service imitative. The possibilities could be limitless. However, analytics can identify initiatives that make sense to you and your customers.
Using analytics as a starting point in getting started can help you get started on the right path. That will save you time, money, and energy.
Another benefit of combining innovation and analytics is that it supports data-based decision-making.
Data analytics and innovation can facilitate informed decision-making
Another capability of combining analytics with innovation is data-based decision-making. Anecdotal decision-making is an outdated capability. In adapting to the New Normal, data-based decision-making will become the new standard.
The benefits of empirical decision-making are manifold. Your decisions will be more accurate and more precise. That will reinforce the reliability of your decisions. And that will lead to greater stability and confidence.
Following a systematic approach will keep your initiative from getting derailed. As data inform your decisions, your plans will leave less room for error. That will simplify implementation by avoiding pitfalls otherwise not evident.
To be sure, pursuing innovative solutions aided by analytics is not a panacea.
Data analytics can provide deep insights into your business processes. Those insights can lead to simple, effective, and cost-efficient solutions. You can leverage real-time data from new sources like IoT or RFID. Doing so can inform the design of new products and services.
Moreover, analytics can reduce the odds of error only a careful analysis of data can generate.
Analytics can provide an elegant solution without spending too much time on problem-solving. And it can help transform your business while you transition to the New Normal.
Meanwhile, your less data savvy competitors will struggle as they transform and transition.
Combining the use of analytics with innovation has both proactive and preventive attributes. With that, let’s move on to an attribute that offers a positive and proactive benefit.
Data analytics can help inform C-suite and team members of progress
Using data analytics in managing your innovation initiatives can help keep C-suite executives and team members informed. That’s no small accomplishment.
You must keep decision-makers informed with relevant and timely data about your initiative. This is one of the most important aspects of implementing a successful innovation.
Keeping senior leaders informed allows them to assess your progress. If the project is on track, your team will likely receive positive feedback. That would spur motivation and incentivize engagement, further cementing progress towards your goal.
Data analytics can enable proactive decision-making that prevents issues before they become problems. If senior leaders receive information indicating slippage, it gives senior leaders an opportunity to revise the initiative.
So combining analytics with an innovation initiative not only makes sense. The integration of analytics and innovation enable optimal performance.
Besides keeping leadership informed, analytics also keep team members informed. Results can show progress, lack of progress, and the reasons behind each. That’s instructive because it ensures your team understands the value of analytics.
When things are going well, analytics serves as a reinforcement of the team’s direction. When things aren’t unfolding as expected, analytics can pinpoint the cause(s).
Using that targeted information allows your team to self-adjust and plot a new course. Besides targeting problem areas, analytics can identify impending issues early in the process. Early issue identification can head off a major change down the road if left unattended.
Moving beyond data analytics as a communication tool, we will now look at how to measure success.
Measuring the success of innovation initiatives
As Peter Drucker stated: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” To ensure you innovate successfully, your measurement plan must be strategic and cohesive.
Measuring the success of anything is always challenging. And measuring the success of innovation initiatives can be even more challenging.
As with any measurement program, you must clearly define what you want to achieve. This will affect the nature of your measurement program’s success.
In Best Practices Are Stupid, Stephen M. Shapiro stated that you want to boost value. Doing so, he advises, is usually a long-term effort. And that requires both short-term and long-term measures.
While keeping keep your initiative on track, short-term measures eventually support long-term
success. Long-term measures, at the same time, help you stay focused on your end state. Together, short-and long-term measures fortify your measurement plan.
Shapiro stratifies his recommended measures into four categories:
- Activity/capability measures such as percentage of time invested in innovation
- Solve-rate measures that measure the percentage of challenges completely solved and the potential value of those solutions
- Implementation measures that track the percentage of solutions implemented in a cost-efficient manner, time to market, etc.
- Value realization measures that provide the long-term value you are striving to achieve, such as increased revenues.
In crafting your measurement plan, you should be aware of what you’re trying to achieve. That includes awareness of intended as well as any unintended consequences. You want to ensure your measures incentivize your end state. That should entail creating value for your business that leads to a competitive edge.
Also, as discussed above, you want to ensure your metrics plan supports team building. Working towards a meaningful goal can boost morale motivating team members. When you’ve achieved that, you’ve created a measurement plan focused on the outcome you want.
Increase your value and competitiveness with innovation and data analytics
Supply chain disruptions are here to stay. Although they’ve always affected supply chains, now disruptions are more sustained and severe. As a result, to survive, you need a way to diminish or outmaneuver those adverse conditions.
Done right, you can combine data analytics and innovation to neutralize those challenges. You can go a step further and set the conditions that will allow you to thrive compared to your competitors.
Innovation on its own is a powerful tool. Innovation, combined with data analytics, can increase value and competitiveness. You’ll be setting trends instead of following them.
When you embrace data analytics combined with innovation, you will lead your industry, while others lag, in times of instability.
At America Global Logistics, we work closely with our clients, ensuring we add value to their business. We help them look for ways to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. We do that by viewing their supply chains as profit centers rather than cost centers.
We can do the same for you and your business.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you create value that leads to a competitive edge.