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Embedding Innovation - Top Priority in 2016

In business, change is the one constant you can rely on, and 2016 is no exception. According to members of Australia's leading executive networking group, The CEO Institute, this year's path to success lies in embracing digital disruption and sustaining a culture of innovation.

Driving innovation is all about exploiting creative disruption to identify opportunities and develop new ideas that can significantly alter the way that an organisation does business today. This can lead to the types of changes that will impact on the core of an organisation's corporate DNA. Whilst business leaders recognise the importance of making it happen, they are certainly aware that they are more than likely going to encounter challenges when implementing, and at times, whole-of-company changes. Embedding Innovation

Evan Davies, Chief Executive - QLD and national spokesperson for The CEO Institute believes that The CEO Syndicate program can provide the conditions for brainstorming and workshop of innovation strategies. The regular interactions between chief executives and their (non-competitive) peers in an open forum creates a collegiate and confidential environment where they can hammer out the kinks or identify new ways to stimulate creative energy in their workplace.

There is one digital disruption epitome that all readers are likely to have heard of in 2015 - Uber. Uber's business model transcended the well-established taxi industry, and through the use of new technologies, generated opportunities for drivers and riders on a global scale. They exemplify the notion of harnessing disruptive technology to commercial advantage.

Based on their success in infiltrating the taxi market, Uber's model is quickly spreading into other markets. The beauty industry is next in line, with a new range of apps developed that allow you to place an order for a beautician or hairdresser to come directly to your home, with similar abilities to negotiate everything prior to the appointment1; all in the palm of your hand. With their seamless connection and highly-visible presence, it's no wonder these technologies are fast becoming the modern-day consumer's preferred way to interact with businesses.

With the inevitability of market disruption, re-engaging and driving innovation is crucial for survival. Essentially, there are two options. The first is to maintain the status quo and wait for disruption to come to you. However, this sort of reactive, knee-jerk response is likely to present a limited number of options or being forced to accept high-cost solutions. The second, pro-active option is for a business to 'disrupt themselves'. Syndicate members who have taken this approach reported that it enables well thought-out, planned and appropriately resourced strategies that aim to continuously support and maximise an organisation’s competitiveness despite disruptions.

In recent meetings of The CEO Institute, there have been considerable discussions around practical applications and approaches. Members have identified a number of challenges that arise when incorporating an innovative culture - especially when moving from a traditional model that has most likely already been superseded by newer thinking.

Overcoming challenges of embedding innovation

  • Long-established ladder of hierarchical management

    Old management structures with only a few at the top making all the decisions and the rest of the company made to go along (whether they like it or not!) are no longer favourable. They are being replaced with a flatter approach, allowing for the identification of ideas from any angle, affecting any level of the business. And these ideas are coming from literally anyone in the organisation - from the cleaner right through to the CEO.
  • The inadequacy of linear, prescribed (and often academic) methods for capturing, developing and assessing innovation

    The traditional ways of doing things don't cut it anymore. Businesses need to look at the capturing of innovations in a fresh light, and use out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Empowering every employee with the confidence to share ideas - one of Google's Principles of Innovation2

    To foster a comfortable environment for creative liberation, leaders must recognise the importance of eradicating fear and providing autonomy. This involves removing the stigma of failure and ensuring that employees are not afraid to speak up about a crazy idea. Don't allow authoritative leadership to stifle the creativity of those at the base level. Employees should be given the power to act on their innovations. The days of micro-management are limited.
  • The very real advantage of profound discussion is often underestimated

    An interactive forum where leaders can openly discuss issues and opportunities results in a close, supportive network of peers, that for many, give an edge to their ability to be competitive. The sound advice and fresh perspectives provided by peers can lead to entirely new insights that would not have been possible for one to come up with alone. Left-of-field is the new black.

The need to stay ahead, or even just to keep up, will see many organisations making innovation principles a key element of their corporate culture.

Interested in sharing and acquiring knowledge on innovation strategies with other like-minded business leaders? Enquire here about The CEO Institute programs.

The CEO Institute | Enquire Now


The CEO Institute was founded in 1992 and is Australia's leading membership organisation for CEOs and senior executives with over 1,000 members. For more information, visit our websites:

  The CEO Institute


Evan Davies, Chief Executive - QLD, National Spokesperson of The CEO Institute
P (07) 3368 5200 | M 0402 898 700 | E

Lisa Kasiaras, Global Manager - Franchising & Marketing, The CEO Institute
P (03) 8514 5041 | E

1Retrieved from Kirkova, D. (2016). Apps That Let You Order A Beautician or Hair Stylist To Your House Like An Uber.

2Retrieved from Tay, L. (2013). Google Has Updated Its 9 Principles Of Innovation: Here They Are And The Products They Have Enabled. Business Insider.

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