Innovation is a driving factor for all businesses, this is the same for the cloud. However, what is the drivers of innovation? and how can it be developed and nurtured to benefit your organization?
This article will define what drives cloud innovation and how to help nurture this in your organization through the implementation of an “innovation lab”
What are the drivers for cloud innovation?
Innovation is constantly developing due to market fluctuation and the needs of the customers. The top 3 drivers we see are:
In the cloud space, technology is constantly being created and developed to optimize current innovative cloud processes. With the implementation of this new technology, organizations find ways to build it into their pre-established processes to make their workflow smoother and efficient.
Increased demand from customers:
As more organizations move to the cloud, new issues can occur for specific industries and clients. This increase in demand provides opportunities for cloud businesses to supply solutions to support their customers to maximize their move to the cloud. Organizations that carefully check the market to see these changes use this as a motivator for innovation within the cloud.
Major shifts in work and life situations:
Due to the nature of the cloud being de-centralized, it is a great driver for innovation regarding geographical implications
. due to the major shift in work and life situations around the world. For example, COVID-19 forced most businesses to operate remotely. This gave a large opportunity to take advantage of this workplace shift and develop cloud solutions that supplied effective online management of workflows etc.
Developing your Innovation lab
An innovation lab is as an area of the business which allows for the testing and development of fresh solutions both for internal and client-side use. This area should not have limitations to allow for freedom to truly be innovative if it aligns with the business’s longer-term goals.
Developing an innovation lab can be broken down into 5 steps:
The first step in this process is to identify opportunities in the market. This can be done by going into the mind of customers, understanding what their potential pain points are within their organization, and therefore have a basis for building out innovative ideas from this.
Taking these pain points, your lab team must identify opportunities and actively engage in them, establishing the key areas which can be changed within your area of expertise.
With key actionable areas established, your team must collaborate and brainstorm solutions. Once these ideas are created further refinement is needed to produce a robust solution.
Once a solution has been defined, a prototype can then be generated, this serves as a proof of concept that ensures that the solution works practically and can be used as a scalable monetary service.
If the proof of concept is viable, a service can be generated around it. Toolsets and processes can then be built within your organization to accommodate its development on a larger scale and prepare it for the market.
Benefits of an innovation lab
An innovation lab can be extremely valuable to a cloud business. It allows for a dedicated environment for your team to allow for freedom to test, explore and be creative with solutions, letting them use their passion for the cloud to develop new and exciting ideas to help the organization grow.
This can also increases staff satisfaction and gives them a deeper motivation to help the business as they will be able to channel their creativity into a positive source, helping the organization grow. As well as this, innovation labs can bring real client problems to the forefront of their operations and bring solutions to them. Potentially finding new opportunities in the market.
Tips for developing innovation.
Developing innovation can be a challenging task, it is something that must be accepted and onboarded throughout the whole organization. To aid in this, the development of a strong Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) is needed. This helps unify decision-making and strategy throughout the business, the innovation lab can be a central aspect of this to allow that the innovative solutions align with the business’s key goals.
When implementing the lab, senior leadership should be heavily involved in the support of the team members to give executive sponsorship and guide the team’s business objectives. Allowing them to know what the business’s goals are at that time.
When developing these goals, it is important to take a forward-thinking approach towards innovation. Giving priority to longer-term growth is more beneficial than a short-sighted approach, allowing for scalability of the solutions.
A change in perspective regarding the success of ideas is key to having a successful lab, as failure is not always a negative thing. Allowing ideas to fail can be a constructive way to not constrict creativity. Instead of measuring the lab based on success, have it been based around the number of ideas generated. This allows the team not to be worried about failure.
Finally allow your lab team time to develop their ideas, allocate the resources to developing new solutions. Setting an “innovation budget” which is again, not measured by success but gives resources to the testing and learning of ideas that can fuel innovative solutions. Without it, the innovation lab cannot be fully utilized if limited by regulations and internal processes.