The Ultimate CEO's Guide to Digital Innovation

Digital innovation is like playing pickleball – it may look similar to tennis, but significant differences require a new approach. In the digital space, experience with technology implementations can lead to assumptions that cost you the advantage and may determine the outcome before you even have a chance.

Our fast-paced world means that predicting what will happen in three to five years is practically impossible. Many businesses continue operating as if they are still in the 20th century, making it harder to analyze all possible options to develop a winning strategy. There are so many variables and relationships between those variables that are doing so thoroughly almost always means missing the window of opportunity for action. The scenario has changed entirely when you go to market with your carefully studied, best course of action. In other words, the future is not knowable anymore, no matter how hard you try or how big you are.

Acknowledging that we don’t know and being comfortable with being uncomfortable is crucial to becoming a relevant organization in the 21st century. Unfortunately, traditional businesses aren’t set up to accommodate this, and managing change and innovation can be slow and excruciating.

To drive digital innovation, businesses should focus less on their tools and more on building trust and creating customer-facing experiences. This means acknowledging that the landscape is unpredictable and uncertain and being open to taking chances that could lead to the next large-scale disruption. Businesses should also be willing to cut ties with retailers who can’t or won’t provide a differentiated experience to the customer and go directly to their consumers.

To be successful in digital innovation, businesses should embrace the unknown, take chances, and be open to change. By doing so, they can build a culture of innovation that will drive business transformation and success in the digital age. They should also avoid getting bogged down in office politics, alignment, and approvals that can slow down the innovation process.

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