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The Difficult Discipline of Newness

Devendra Deshmukh Oct 19, 2021

Digital Transformation Digital Innovation Business Continuity COVID-19 Pandemic Business Metrics

We are now in the third quarter of 2021, and if we look back at all that has transpired this year or the year before, we can safely say that change is now the new constant. Since the pandemic hit us, enterprises have shifted to a more digital and modern approach, which meant many traditional organizations took a complete 360-degree turn to embrace changes to their processes. These innovations and technological advances have completely changed how we interact and paved the way for a future full of 'newness'.

Newness, or the ability to keep innovating in order to improve existing processes, is now vital for survival, and we find that every business strategy is now focused on incorporating this newness in some form or the other. But while organizations are preparing or adapting to the new changes, there is still uncertainty about what the future holds for us. Businesses now understand that the time to prepare for change is not when the situation demands but before any COVID-19-like situation hits us. This proactive approach to change is always the best path ahead, but it can also lead to unnecessary risk and myriad difficulties due to the uncertainties involved. Here is where I feel it is difficult to maintain a certain degree of discipline / consistent thinking in the new environment. It is up to or leadership at various levels to maintain balance – the following 3 ways have been known to help:

Define the key metrics for your transformation initiatives

Defining innovation is a herculean task, but setting the right goals enables leaders to develop the digital transformation roadmap that can steer the organization on the right path. This ensures that the growth trajectory is in the right direction despite the disruptions and changes that you face along the way. Hence, the ideal step is to identify digital transformation objectives and goals that align with your organization's overall strategy. Defining the metrics will enable organizations to chart their digital transformation roadmap and allow early identification of whether the changes are on the right path and whether the objectives and goals were achieved, using those compared against costs to determine ROI at various points.

Realign responsibilities in your organizational hierarchy

In many organizations, a new role is being established, that of the Chief Innovation Officer. While having a dedicated leader for creating new opportunities and leading the path of innovation is ideal, often it can lead to several clashes. Depending on the size of the organization, the best way forward is to ensure innovation is not the responsibility of one department but one that every function, project and team needs to be a part of. Having each leader and their team responsible for change ensures that while the organization is adopting newness, these new initiatives provide the right value for the organization.

Inculcate the value of openness to newness

The biggest resistance to change usually comes from the place you least expect, and it is often the internal team. Any change can lead the team members to feel anxious and stressed, for it comes with restructuring, process updates and even setbacks. As newness and constant change become the organizations, leaders need to meaningfully approach this change by ensuring that the team is on board and ready for short-term and long-term changes that you have planned.

To create a culture that is open to newness, the leadership should initiate several activities like:

  • Rewarding departments for adopting newness and allowing room for failure as innovation often comes with setbacks
  • Initiating opportunities to brainstorm and identify avenues for innovation through brainstorming sessions, hackathons, and other avenues
  • Value newness as an essential driver for success. This gives more responsibility to employees who can lean into uncertainty, trust what it can teach them, and guide others toward key insights
  • Drive initiatives to upskill the workforce to learn about new technologies and updates that are taking place in the industry

As technology continues to evolve and reshape our world, these steps will merely act as guiding points to help organizations succeed even in an era of constant change. While we may never be able to predict precisely how fast and how different our future will be, it is inevitable that organizations of the future will incorporate newness and an innovative attitude. Be it established businesses or budding enterprises, newness will be the core theme that will propel digital transformation initiatives now and in the future.

e-Zest is a leading digital innovation partner for enterprises and technology companies that utilizes emerging technologies for creating engaging customers experiences. Being a customer-focused and technology-driven company, it always helps clients in crafting holistic business value for their software development efforts. It offers software development and consulting services for cloud computing, enterprise mobility, big data and analytics, user experience and digital commerce.