Developing a culture of innovation in 4 steps

Consumers expect a unique, enhanced experience.

Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group

Is changing client behaviour shaking up your business model? It's the case in many sectors. Nowadays, consumers expect you to provide a unique, enhanced experience. 

But how? "By innovating!" says Mathieu Bélisle, who heads up the innovation team at Desjardins. He sums up how this can be done in 4 steps. 

1. Get people on board
Client expectations are changing fast and deeply rooted business models can slow innovation and leave some companies lagging behind the competition. It's important to understand this before taking action.

People feed innovation. So you must convince them from the get-go to embark on the journey of innovation, starting with those most eager for change. The first achievements and successes will set the example and trigger a snowball effect all around. 

According to Mathieu, a business can rely on the collective intelligence of its employees, officers, clients and suppliers. By getting everyone to work on an innovative project or initiative, you'll have a much better shot at achieving sustainable innovation.

2. Innovation in dialogue and actions
In order to instil a culture of innovation, you must adopt the right behaviours and give yourself the means to take action. By using successful businesses as an example and by allowing employees to express their innovative ideas, you're taking a step in the right direction. 

Mathieu specifies that the transition will be reflected in business leaders' speeches and actions and in how they recognize those who apply innovative behaviours. It can only be possible if businesses are inspired, open to new ideas and trust their people. An innovative business will be quick to try something new, even if adjustments come later to speed up innovation. Processes can always be adapted and adjusted later to reflect changes.  

3. Seize the right opportunities
When ideas coalesce into action, it's easier to identify opportunities for innovation. 

Mathieu believes that if a business alters its vision and the behaviours it adopted in the early stages to change its culture, it can take advantage of new cutting-edge tools, drivers and processes. It will then have everything it needs to seize opportunities to innovate. To set things in motion and ensure successful delivery, the questions you need to ask yourself are when do I start and how do I achieve it as a team.

4. Use technology smartly  
Technology plays a very important role in innovation, but you must select a realistic concept for your business sector and be able to meet client expectations and needs. Ultimately, this is the goal of innovation. 

"In the market, technology goes hand in hand with the client experience because it contributes a great deal to the development of products and services. But if we fail to meet the other two criteria, it won't work," says Mathieu.

He concludes that consumers are very clear on what they want: a better experience. So you must promote co-creation by working closely with your partners. The bright side of innovation is that it's an everyday effort. 

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