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By Angie Farrugia Strategy DirectorBravo
You can’t help but get buzzword fatigue in the always-on business world. Two of the current contenders are ‘collaboration’ and ‘disruptive innovation’. These two concepts are very important and related terms that warrant the hype.
Modern technology has put the power in the hands of the consumer and has made starting a business accessible to the masses. 20-somethings are creating multimillion and billion dollar businesses that would never have been imagined or achievable 20-30 years ago. ‘Disrupt or be disrupted’ is the catch-cry of the 2010s. We hear about successful start-up founders and their ‘aha moments’ that led to their booming business. But disruptive innovation takes much more than a moment.
Disruptive innovation demands that we look forward to the future and the unknown. We know that smart consumers with smart devices are expecting smart homes, smart businesses and smart cities. There’s rich data all around us, and so much we can learn from customer behaviour that is now tracked real-time using connected devices and technology. *Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than half of all business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things.
Innovators need to strike a balance between drawing on known customer behaviours and creating something brand new. The user-centred design process that we apply at Bravo merges real-world insights with creative problem-solving to realise a highly functional digital product and a great customer experience. This is best achieved when we genuinely collaborate with a client to solve a problem in a new way – to create new value within an existing market. With ROLLER, Bravo fully committed to the product’s success. We immersed ourselves in their vision, and maintained constant engagement throughout the design and development of their digital platform, sharing and exchanging insights and ideas to realise a world-class solution together.
This user-centred and collaborative process often prompts more questions than answers. How can your traditional processes and systems be linked to create new value? How can we take what we now know and link that to what we don’t know about the future?
The most important step is to have the right people in the room and for everyone to understand what it means to genuinely collaborate. There’s a distinct difference between cooperating and collaborating, especially in a buyer/supplier relationship. When you cooperate, you transact, and you manage tasks to meet each other’s goals. When you collaborate, you invest time and resource to achieve a shared vision and value. This is where the magic happens.
Collaboration can get tricky and uncomfortable especially when you’re navigating the buyer and seller relationship, but if it’s addressed up front with shared goals and intent, you’re much more likely to realise that glorious solution that you could not have created without each other. When the relationship is purely transactional, less value is delivered overall. The best clients or buyers are those that invest time, energy and support throughout the process. In the world of Bravo, this means up front and regular engagement with the client, honest feedback that’s addressed early and lots of time in rooms together with coffee and sticky notes.
Digital or otherwise, a great product is vital, but it won’t go anywhere without a community of users. There are a growing number of social tools and digital marketing platforms you can use to amplify your message and grow your user base. Many of the successful start-ups begin building and learning about their community before even releasing their product. This could be seen as an extension of ‘collaboration for disruptive innovation’ – engaging your future consumers early to inform the solution design itself.
Like these buzzwords with real buzz, the 2010s catch-cry ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ also has merit. Modern business leaders and entrepreneurs must make time to put the tools down, build a team of creative minds, jump into the collaborative time machine and leap forward to the future. The ride is sure to be turbulent!