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ACTE column: Prepare to innovate

Caroline Allen from ACTE

Many organisations are rethinking their structures to better embrace digital innovation

Is your company organised for innovation? As the 2020s fast approach, we may want to ask ourselves what sort of companies we want to work for.

Even some of the most conservative organisations recognise the need to build a digital focus into their core infrastructure. Yet being able to truly harness creativity is a challenge for traditional businesses.

Management consultancy BCG’s 2018 list of the world’s top 50 most innovative companies includes 11 digital organisations, but also several banks and firms from the insurance, pharma, manufacturing and retail sectors. Encouragingly, travel-related organisations are also featured: Uber, Alibaba, Airbnb,  Marriott, Expedia and Intercontinental Hotels Group.

As digital advances now enable previously unimaginable levels of personalisation across all types of industry, digital strategies may necessitate completely new organisational thinking.

The most progressive organisations are nimble and responsive – focusing on talent and team structure – and have a chief digital officer to oversee digital innovation and transformation.

They also operate on a set of firmly embedded principles to ensure they are: customer-centric; agile; experimental; operating standardised structures, units and processes; focused on operational excellence; champion efficiency, lean techniques and competitive cost structures; and able to easily share and act on ideas, expertise and data across business functions.

With big changes to strategy, operations and enterprise required, it’s no surprise that the digital innovation gap is widening. 

Many companies have not yet worked out how to embrace and harness new potential.

Only four types of innovation have grown in importance and are being pursued by more companies since 2014: big data analytics; fast adoption of new technologies; mobile products and capabilities; and digital design.

Yet companies across all sectors of industry are struggling with data analytics capabilities. Those that make it work use data analysis to identify new opportunities for exploration, reveal market trends, inform investment decisions and set business priorities.

New types of jobs will emerge as fundamental business priorities evolve. It’s important to identify the companies that embrace the principles that appeal to you to help you make the right decisions.

ACTE conferences and webinars offer advice on how corporations and travel suppliers can get ahead in the innovation arena.

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