Don’t let the lack of an innovation strategy hold your great ideas back is part of the Free eBook: How to beat the digital disrupters at their own game

The ability to imagine

The lack of an innovation strategy is a fundamental problem for many large organizations. The ability to imagine where the organization needs to be in five or ten years’ time and put in place an innovation strategy that will transform the business in order to achieve these goals, is extremely rare.

More often, large organizations approach “innovation” in ways that fail to have a transformational impact. Some set up a dedicated “labs” team to experiment with new ideas, but these are kept separate from the main business and its standard operating model. Others spin off their brightest minds into a separate business entity, which is often killed off when it starts to threaten the main business.

“An innovation strategy is difficult for well-established companies. By and large, they are better executors than innovators, and most succeed less through game-changing creativity than by optimizing their existing businesses.” McKinsey & Co, The Eight Essentials of Innovation

How to fix it

For innovation to truly transform an established business, it has to tie into long-term business goals, and everyone must be aware of those goals and have bought into them.

It’s essential for a clear innovation strategy for change to be in place, and for senior management to fully embrace and evangelize it. Without that clear vision, documented strategy and senior buy-in, any innovation attempts will either run out of steam or be crushed by the weight of the organisation’s existing processes, entrenched attitudes and resistance to change.

“Unless the CEO makes innovation a priority, it won’t happen. Innovation requires a level of risk-taking and failure that’s impossible without executive air cover. The best growth companies create a culture of innovation.” Harvard Division of Continuing Education, Four Innovation Tactics of Growth Companies


Find out how let your great ideas loose in our free eBook: 
How to beat the digital disrupters at their own game


Innovation in action: Adur & Worthing Councils

Static to Adaptive

The merged district and borough councils of Adur & Worthing appointed a new chief executive in 2013. He set out to transform the councils from organizations that were viewed as “static, stagnant, solid, risk-averse, bureaucratic, slow to respond and frustrating to deal with” into “a Council that operates in a more adaptive way” to support citizens, businesses, partners and its own employees.

Part of what made the councils so slow to respond was their reliance on more than 400 legacy IT systems, which were expensive to maintain and slow to update. They also duplicated effort, were poorly integrated with each other and the website, and perpetuated inefficient paper-based processes.

The Citizen Platform: A complete digital reboot

The councils embarked on a complete digital reboot, taking service-delivery innovators like Airbnb as inspiration, and appointing digital strategy consultancy Methods Digital to guide the transformation.

With an ambition to drastically reduce the legacy IT estate, the team set about building a “Citizen Platform” for digital service delivery. It has just three core components: Google for Work to make employees more productive; to handle citizen interactions, and MATS to redesign service delivery processes and quickly build modern applications to automate them.

MATS was chosen for its Low-code approach and platform licensing. Not only can non-technical staff design and build new applications quickly in MATS, it’s also far more cost-effective than licensing a slew of SaaS applications. In an era of austerity cuts, considerations like these matter a lot.

A major impact on customer experience

Applications built in MATS are having a major impact, with new, efficient, digital processes transforming everything from waste management to on-boarding new recruits. Within 11 months, the councils reported a forecast annual saving of £200,000 in lower IT costs and other efficiencies.

Just as importantly, the councils are also improving the customer experience for citizens, and are increasingly able to support mobile and digital ways of engaging with citizens, employees and sub-contractors.

Today, council employees with ideas for service delivery improvements can model and test them instantly in MATS, without having to wait for a response from an external IT provider. The councils are in full control of application development and delivery; they have a new platform to deliver digital services; and are projecting savings into the millions. In recognition of their vision and achievements, the councils were awarded Socitm’s Digital Innovation Award for 2015.

“We’re no longer beholden to external IT suppliers and their timelines. We control application development and delivery in-house, and because it’s Low-code, we can do it fast and at low cost.” Paul Brewer, Director of Digital and Resources, Adur & Worthing Councils

Accelerate digital innovation with Low-code

One of the most fruitful things you can do to accelerate a digital innovation strategy in your organization, and to enable everyone to participate in it, is to invest in a Low-code development platform, one which is, is designed to enable technical and non-technical staff alike to quickly test out ideas for new applications or automated processes.

You can easily design new processes, quickly build a prototype, test it with a group of end users, then build a proper, working, enterprise-ready application based on their feedback. And all in just days, and without needing an army of digital programmers.

With MATS, as the Adur & Worthing Councils example above show, even the most traditional organizations can innovate fast – often faster than the start-ups nipping at their heels. You can see some of the tactics they used in our Free eBook; How to beat the digital disrupters at their own game.