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How Can Innovation Training Programs Help You Gain a Competitive Edge?

Source: Wikipedia Commons 

Several industries are vulnerable to digital disruption. Accenture reports that over 60% of companies face digital disruption. And about 40% of businesses were to be disrupted by 2020. 

The stakes are higher given that most companies rely on innovation as a lifeline. Tech and manufacturing companies are affected the most. Failure to innovate may make you bid goodbye to an industry like BlackBerry. 

And in innovation, timing the market and industry changes is critical. Nokia and Kodak failed to innovate fast enough and lost traction to their respective industry competitors. 

However, not all “innovative” products give competitive leverage. New product launches experience a 70%-90% failure rate. But, a close post-mortem on these failure rates shows plenty of mistakes, including longer development time. 

That said, it shows that however significant innovation is to your company, you can not gamble with it. You can not afford guesswork in your innovation process. That’s where innovation training programs come in. 

Importance of Innovation Training Programs 

Innovation training is part of corporate training that fills the skills gap within the innovation team. It also strives to foster and elevate the organization into an innovative culture. Innovations need new ways of thinking and organizational behavior. 

Most people are fearful of change, including business leaders. In fact, about 40% of leaders reject innovation because they do not want to change. And that’s a sure way of losing to competitors. An innovation training program can help you transform the organizational culture and reduce resistance. 

If done correctly, innovation training can reduce the time to market your innovative products. Hence, it gives ultimate leverage in your niche market. Here are ways innovation training can keep ahead of the rest. 

How to Gain Competitive Edge Using Innovation Training

Source: Pixabay 

1. Create an Innovative Culture and Mindset 

40% of leaders fear change in their business environment and that they would instead reject any innovation set to bring change. That resistance is not conducive to achieving the beneficial impact of an innovation process. 

Worst still, the resistance attitude comes from the executive. As a result, changing employees’ perspectives on innovation can be more daunting if their leaders have influenced them. If you face such resistance, you need a meaningful culture change. Innovation training can help transform your organization’s culture. 

It will help you train your entire organization’s workforce on an innovation mindset. Besides, the training program provides your workforce with appropriate methods for achieving optimum innovation. You’re set to drive value through innovation with the right innovation culture in place.

2. Drive Business Agility 

Surprises are only fanciable in romantic relationships but not in business. The moment you’re surprised by digital disruption then you may be bidding goodbye to the industry. Innovation training prevents such premature and surprising goodbyes from the industry. It helps you develop a thick skin called business agility amidst rapid changes.

Business agility refers to continuous but rapid and systematic adaptation and innovation to achieve competitive leverage. There are several elements that support enterprise agility to withstand and gain from digital disruption: 

  • Technical capability 
  • Leadership 
  • Business processes 
  • Innovative culture 

McKinsey condenses these key elements into two: dynamic capability and solid foundation. Where dynamic capability is your ability to respond to rapid changes. On the other hand, a solid foundation, your innovation strategy, is a platform that guides your response. 

An innovation strategy outlines how you search for problems and solutions. It also includes the  steps an idea takes as it evolves into a business concept or innovative product. So, R&D, external alliance, and rapid prototyping are part of the process. 

We have seen that innovation training programs can equip your innovation teams with relevant skills. So, it can fill the skills gap and enhance your technical capability, a key element in agility. Also, it transforms your organization’s culture, another vital part of business agility. 

It can also drive innovation coaching and consulting that directly impacts leadership and business processes (innovation strategy). Innovation coaching and consulting can help you manage your product ideation and fast-track your time to market. 

Remember, companies like Kodak failed to gain competitive leverage because of mistimed innovation. The same fate befell Blockbuster, a rental movie company that almost out-competed Netflix in the 2000s. Kodak lost its market share to companies like Canon and Blockbuster to Netflix. 

In fact, Blockbuster was to buy Netflix for $50 million but it laughed Netflix off. Who’s laughing now? Netflix embraced robust business agility making it enjoy the video streaming disruptive wave. Its recommendation system provides viewers with tailored content based on their preferences.

Netflix attracts and retains some of the best talents in the world to drive its core innovation culture. And the innovation training it undertakes has set it apart in the industry. You can also drive significant competitive leverage through business agility. Tap innovation coaching and consulting firms to:

  • Improve the skill set of your innovation team;
  • Lay solid innovation foundation; and 
  • Develop an innovative culture.

3. Accelerate Your Innovation Projects 

Source: Pix4free

You’ve seen how timely innovation is important. So, how do you fast-track and cut your innovative projects’ time to market? Innovation training is the answer. As part of the technical training of your innovation team, innovation training can help you develop an appropriate minimal viable product (MVP) template. 

With the MVP template, you can conduct rapid prototyping and run market research to further gauge the reception of the test products. As a result, you can quickly settle with the test product with overwhelming performance for market release. So, an innovation coaching program can conduct your experiments faster, pick the best product and get you to the market faster. 

4. Improve Business Performance and Efficiency 

Take a cue from Elon Musk’s Tesla. Despite the scorn and praise the CEO receives, Tesla has a compelling product innovation culture. In the first quarter of 2020, it was the best performing automaker based on three categories: 

  • Sale growth 
  • Total returns
  • Long-term shareholder. 

Other innovative companies that achieve better business performance due to innovation training are Netflix and Amazon. Both companies have an enduring innovation culture and their talent training is at the core of it. For example, 30% of Amazon (over $30 billion) comes from an AI-powered recommendation system. 

The same applies to Netflix. Yes, you read it right, the recommendation system is driving over 30% of these innovative chaps. 

Take Away

Innovation training gives you the wings to fly above digital disruption. It reinforces your innovation team’s technical ability and transforms the organization’s culture. As a result, it can help you develop an innovative culture, and agility, accelerate projects, and enhance your bottom line. 

Remember, timing in innovation is very critical. Innovation training and coaching can help you achieve the needed optimal timing of your innovative products to the market. Business agility and faster time to market products will give you a competitive edge. 

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