Written by Arthur Liberian, Senior Innovation Advisor at Planbox


The shifting competitive landscapes can create ongoing hurdles for anybody’s business, this is something that constantly keeping leaders at companies up at night. Companies and brands around the world have fear from getting disrupted by a startup that creates a new business model, service or product that completely slashes industries and pulverizes the competition. This article will outline 4 elements your company can do to diminish these unforeseen risks.

Connect with your customers and engage with them

Listening to customers is critical, we all know this, but are you really listening to them and engaging with them in a meaningful way. Any company competing for customer loyalty has to ensure that they are listening and engaging with their own customers or even with prospective customers. Customer-centric philosophy is critical for growth and developing that critical level of brand loyalty can be the difference of a new company entering your market and taking your place. Continuously engaging with your customers and providing feedback by demonstrating you are actually listening to them is critical. Customers are active participants in your companies journey, their buying habits have changed with the convergence of social, mobile, and cloud technology and how we engage with them must be done in a way that is convenient and effective. History shows collaborating with your customers and innovating with them will make your business thrive.

Adapt to the new speed of business: The Speed of Sound

In today’s extremely competitive business environment, the ability to constantly adapt to dynamic market requirements is indispensable to survive and excel. Companies need to respond quickly, make timely and precise business decisions, streamline processes, optimize existing resources, and control operating costs. This essentially means total engagement of business users and real agility of people, processes, and systems. We live in a period of ongoing risk and instability. Globalization, new technologies, and greater transparency have combined to topple the business environment and give many executive leaders a deep sense of restlessness. With that companies must engage and face these challenges by focusing on the voice of the employee, engaging with them with focus, and timely fashion. Executives must then pose real questions and tap into the collective wisdom of their people to help surface new solutions to these problems. Framing the problem is 1 part of the equation, the 2nd part is finding the right people to develop and work on the solution, this is how innovation carries through and makes the change you are looking for.

Listen to your customers

Business today is personal: consumers and businesses buy based on relationships and their connection with your brand. This connection can be built by simply showing the human/customer centric side of your brand – by sharing what happens behind the scenes, creating captivating content and opportunities to co-create with them. This insight also applies to any of your innovation efforts: when you ask for feedback, customers want to know what happened to it, they expect that transparency and feedback to create the change they are looking for. Co-creating with your customers lead to new opportunities and is a great way to empathize with your customers and one that leads to a purposeful outcome. It allows you to uncover unmet needs and puts yourself in the customer’s shoes to develop new features or products that could have completed been developed by your competitors.   

Create alignment by removing silos

As an innovator, we know that we should be partnering with different teams within the enterprise from sales, to R&D, IT, Finance, Strategy and other people in the organization. Opportunities exist all around us and we have to seize the day. Interacting with other teams can lead to new solutions and way to create further alignment within the organization. Most importantly, collaboration needs to happen while everyone has the same goal in mind, creating alignment on this is critical. Many fast-moving organizations use the voice of the customer as a starting point to identify the gaps that these engagements need to address. Having a forum that allows

Closing thoughts

In conclusion, companies that thrive are quick to read and act on signals of change, they know that it’s the lifeblood to growth and sustainability. They continuously adapt and work out how to innovate consistently and experiment cost effectively. Doing this frequently, and economically—not only with products and services but with business models, processes, and strategies, having this focus leads to a proactive approach to managing your innovation process and one that is more strategically aligned with the companies imperatives. Being flexible and efficient is critical to their success and one where you create that foundation for change and evolution. Companies that focus on these elements have built up skills in managing complex multi-stakeholder systems in an increasingly interconnected world. Most importantly, these companies have learned to unlock their greatest resources—their employees; the people who think strategically and execute critical tasks every day to create value.