1. What does innovation mean to you?
Disruption? Transformation? Digitalization? Invention? Novelty? Each CEO may have a different perspective on what innovation is and what drives it. One CEO could see innovation as a reaction to external forces, such as technology advancements and emerging use cases from VCs, startups, think tanks, and other industries. Another CEO may have more of an inside-out philosophy, investing in organic growth and building an environment that cultivates bold ideas from all corners of the organization. A third may believe that impactful innovation consists of a confluence of inside-out and outside-in efforts.
Why ask the question? If your team’s definition of innovation differs from your CEO’s, the opportunity to create tangible value or impact will be limited.
2. Why do you want to innovate?
Most CEOs say they want to innovate: to drive efficiency and profitability; make a difference; meet customers where they are; gain competitive advantage; and capitalize on disruption created by new technologies, among other factors. Tying innovation to strategic priorities is critical. However, it isn’t always easy to do, since most corporate innovation programs are decentralized in individual business units. This barrier is supported by recent research from KPMG: Thirty-seven percent of innovators we recently surveyed say innovation comes from skunkworks, and 69 percent say that functional silos cause operational dysfunction that stands in the way of innovation.2
Podcast: See things differently and think differeftly: Listen to conversations with people from the edge of culture with the Extreme Perspectives Podcast.
Ebook: If you’te not using cognitive diversity to innovate, you’ re doing it wrong. Read The crazy Ones ebook.
Join The Sense Network: Meet people from worlds unlike your own: Join a community of outliers, misfits, rebels, and crazy ones on The Sense Network.
Why ask the question? If you pursue innovation initiatives that are closely tied to strategic imperatives, it will help accelerate your organization’s progress toward its larger objectives, driving greater value sooner.
3. What do your customers expect and demand?
Understanding trends in your customers’ behavior and needs is essential for creating an innovation strategy and action plan that drive toward a better future. This insight is like a guiding light toward the best opportunities for innovation. The 2022 KPMG Global Customer Experience Excellence Report3 shows that leading brands invest considerable time and effort in anticipating customers’ future concerns, needs, and pain points and seeking to be present in their customers’ lives when these changes occur.
Why ask the question? The most successful and impactful products, services, and experience are based on unmet customer desires and requirements.