It’s not easy to book time against something that doesn’t, in the short term, return dividends. However, it is imperative for you and your team to spend time thinking creatively about what’s next on the horizon. You’re probably thinking, “Must be easy for you since your business is technology.” But I can assure you, it’s not. Just like you, I also get caught up in the daily activities of making clients happy and delivering solutions in a timely fashion. It may be my business to stay ahead of technology and innovative solutions, but it has to be yours as well.
Here are a few of my tips for carving the time and making that “mind shift.”
- Find time when it’s calm and quiet
I find it easiest to work on the creative process over the weekends and early in the morning. It is my time to be alone and really look at the big picture.
- Separate this creative time from the weekly grind
Taking time outside of a normal work week allows me to leave behind the daily demands and focus on the process of future corporate innovation.
- Achieve inner calm
Reaching a clear place of thought can be very hard in the midst of a week with customer and employee demands on your time. However, enabling this “mind shift” is mission critical in order to thrive and prosper.
Evidence of how important this is can be seen as we drive our highways past once thriving business parks that are now dormant. Polaroid, Blockbuster and Wang; we wonder where these companies might be now if they had spent more time looking towards the future and planning strategically. Once big captains of industry, they are now gone and mostly forgotten.
Our world is transforming at light speed. This is a fact that will not change. Carving time from the daily demands of your industry to achieve the “Innovative Mind Shift” is mission critical for your company’s long-term success.
We have to evolve. As human beings, as individuals, as a species, as a group, as the universe, we must evolve, become more than we are this minute so that we can become more than we are in the next and so on.
Nowhere is this forward momentum more necessary than in business and, more importantly, technology. Over the past 100 years, technology has experienced a massive growth spurt, taking it from an infant learning how to crawl to a full-blown young adult, who is probably gearing up for a quarter-life crisis. Without this growth, we would still be riding in horse-drawn buggies, sending messages via a telegraph and using encyclopedias to look things up.
Instead, we are experimenting with electric and solar-powered cars, using electronic messaging as our primary method of communication and carrying around pocket-sized computers (i.e. smartphones) so that the Internet, the modern-day encyclopedia, is never further away than our back pocket.
All of this can be credited to innovation. At DROSTE, we’ve been riding the wave of innovation, often being the first in our industry to create new technology or apply previously developed tech in a new way. As our software has evolved, we’ve reinvented the way our clients handle their business, migrating manual processes to automated ones and often increasing efficiency by removing a step or three of the process.
While some companies have embraced innovation whole-heartedly, it is actually consumers who have adopted it with a vengeance. We’ve seen more and more customers willing to learn and adapt to this new method of living, conducting business and interacting at a startling rate, often surpassing business’ adoption of these new processes or hardware. In many cases, consumer use has spurred companies into action, making it impossible for them to compete in the marketplace without adopting new technology.
A primary example of this is the iPhone. Designed and marketed as a personal device, upon its release, companies realized the iPhone and its operating platform had the power to transform the way they interacted with their consumers. The mobile application, now simply called an ‘app,’ became part of our vernacular and the organizations that learned how to harness this technology first were viewed not only as innovative and forward-thinking, but as invested in their customers and the customer experience. Two elements very important for success.
As we’ve done previously with software applications, we at DROSTE have developed a way for our clients to reach their consumers on their smartphones, further engaging with the customer and enhancing their footprint in the marketplace. Our first iPhone app, launched late last year, iOrder is DROSTE’S initial step into the client-consumer realm. Allowing consumers to place their deli or bakery orders before even arriving at the store and then simply swing by to pick them up, is yet another example of innovative technology making people’s lives easier. And DROSTE is helping to bridge the gap by offering cost-effective, innovative solutions that businesses of any size can take advantage of.
How innovative is your organization? Could you be more innovative? Unlike so many other things, innovation is a state of perpetual motion—moving forward so that others can move forward with us.
As I stood in the security line at the airport during my last business trip, I saw something that caught my attention. Considering how often I fly, this is no mean feat. A guy next to me handed the security guard his phone, the guard put the phone into a little device, looked at the ID and waved the guy through. Curious, I asked the security guard what had just happened. He told me you can upload your boarding pass to your phone, thus avoiding finding a printer when you’re traveling and having to print out your boarding pass. Unfortunately, not all airports have this technology yet, but to me, this is an even bigger indicator of how far we’ve come with both mobile technology and the software that powers it.
I know things like this shouldn’t surprise me, especially since I am a product of the computer/electronic age but it did get me thinking about what a quickly changing world we live in.
Ten years before I was born, the first working computer was introduced. It was so large it needed its own room. The Army financed the research for it during World War II. Punch cards were an integral part of the operation and I remember booby-trapping my sister’s car for her honeymoon with computer punch card “confetti.” (This was before the debacle of the ‘hanging chad.’) Twenty-four years later, HP introduced a basic, programmable computer that could fit on a desktop and in 1981 the Osborne Corporation and Epson released the first “portable” computers.
In 1981, IBM sold its first PC and this is when my fascination with computers began. After three years as an Accountant, I left that job for one at a computer store and not long after that exposure, I decided to start my own business writing software programs. The rest is history and the changes in our lives that have occurred since the first PC are phenomenal.
Today we have iPhones and smartphones, which offer us the capabilities of a computer, literally in the palms of our hands. In 62 years, we’ve graduated from a room-size computer to a handheld version. Now, depending on your age, you may think this evolution happened at a snail’s pace. Yet for many baby boomers, it has happened within their lifetimes. Think of all the words relating to computers that are now a part of our daily vocabulary – word processing, video conferencing, hyper text, thumb drive, email, net book, web browsing, Google, voicemail, Wi-Fi, bluetooth are only a few. Google was even declared the word of the decade (by the folks who declare these things) and is now part of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. This simply illustrates that while change happens at it’s own pace, we are constantly enjoying the benefits of these technological innovations. And I love it.
Until my next post, take care and prosper.