Dependable Innovation Reduces Time to ROI

Rapid Digital Transformation for Cost Reduction and Fast ROI

As the world struggles with the new realities around Covid19, there are many adjustments that Innovation  and Digital Transformation programs are going to face.

“…help us do more with less RIGHT NOW!

The Keys to Innovation

At Elephant, we have long reported that Innovation requires 3 things, time, budget and political air support. You have a limited amount of time to get into a market or take advantage of an adjacently possible opportunity, you have a limited amount of budget to apply, and you have a limited amount of air support from your organization’s management team and political structures to prove out the capture of business value. We see corporate priorities shifting away from optimism and toward hunkering down for a longer recession and ultimately to the pragmatism of cost cutting. That is working to reduce the amount of political support you have to spend in order to help your Innovation projects see the light of day. We also see budgets shifting away from riskier and further out time-horizon-to-ROI Innovations and we see reduced strategic capital expenditures, which is robbing many Innovation programs of precious budget and also time to deliver meaningful business value back to their organizations. We definitely see the current recessive environment putting extreme and immediate pressure on businesses to do more with less. Reductions in Force / furloughs and overall cost cutting are the mandate of the day. This is putting pressure on Innovators to focus on the tools of transformation and use our Innovation practices and methods to execute Digital Transformation on Steroids at Ridiculous Speed (DTSRS).

Digital Transformation on Steroids at Ridiculous Speed (DTSRS)

We have always divided our Innovation projects into two categories, ‘Disruptive’ Innovation, and then ‘Incremental’ Innovation. Disruptive Innovations are the ones that seize new markets, invent new businesses and kill off old ones. They leverage emerging technology to fundamentally change the landscape of a product, business, or service offering. Incremental Innovations are more about acquiring focus and then rapidly applying emerging technology toward iterative and typically agile delivery workstreams. Incremental Innovations target historical technical debt and organizational process complexity. Incremental Innovations can cost effectively and very rapidly replace those systems with better solutions that unlock previously unavailable value.

At Elephant we are being asked to surgically retool critical organizational workflows, systems, and key business infrastructure, do it in 90-120 days and do it in value capture descending order. In short, our observation is that the market needs far more Incremental Innovation right now than it does loonshots. You may be thinking that this feels very similar to traditional digital transformation and you wouldn’t be very far off. Traditional digital transformations can move on the timescale of years and that’s just too long to be acceptable for us at Elephant, and the current market seems to feel the same way. The cry we are hearing is simply ‘help us do more with less RIGHT NOW‘. The time and patience for traditional transformation timelines has evaporated and DTSRS is being requested in all of our current conversations. We see that our laser focus on lean product delivery, agile practices and our maniacal focus on and pursuit of business value delivery in our Dependable Innovation framework is critical to helping organizations rapidly respond to the current climate and rapidly get to realized cost reductions and implemented force multipliers from our deployed systems.

How to get started last week

STEP 1: Build a time machine. STEP 2: go back to last week and conduct a design sprint. The faster you are trying to move the more sure you need to be of the direction you are heading. As companies try to move decisively to transform, they are also trying to move very rapidly, at what some might call ridiculous speed. You can imagine that in that environment, it might be easy to launch off in an unproductive direction based on small miscalculations at the outset of an initiative. In the present climate of survival level cuts, and limited options for investment in transformation and retooling, you have to be right. The decisions you are making about what to prioritize, and how to help your organization adjust to the new reality are 10x more important to do rapidly and with high confidence. Your ability to course correct later is going to be very small if you initial decisions aren’t correct and don’t yield ROI quickly. But you are in luck! The disciplines around lean product development and design thinking, particularly our design sprint practices can help you harvest the best ideas from your team, help your team obtain laser focus, and vet your priorities to instruct you what to tackle first, all in just one week. We can’t stress enough how important it is, when you are about to launch off at ridiculous speed, that taking the time to properly think through the right path and direction to move, is essential!

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