The most successful digital transformation and innovation initiatives SwitchPitch has managed all have one thing in common: CEO buy-in. SwitchPitch has worked with many startups and big businesses, with the goal of matching large corporate needs with startup solutions. It’s clear to us that digital transformation, or any transformation for that matter, is impossible without the implementation of new or more developed tools. As CEO, you have the authority to select and sign off on your company’s digital vision with appropriate technical tools.
In our experience, when we are presented with a client initiative, it is obvious when a CEO has set the vision and mandated innovation for the company. Does that mean you need to be involved in every step of the process? Thankfully, no, it doesn’t. That’s what your innovation team is for. That being said, our work has proven that there are best practices and specific ways a CEO should be involved to track and facilitate the success of these transformations.
As the leader of the team, establishing your goals and target return on investment are your first steps. In order to structure these initiatives for the future, you should work with the team to create a road map with allocated resources and timelines. Ensure you clearly communicate these goals and targets with your innovation team to guarantee their strategy aligns with your ultimate vision.
SwitchPitch has performed multiple case studies for clients that help determine areas that need improvement in their processes, allowing them to establish a well defined roadmap with goals. As an example, SwitchPitch worked with one of the world’s leading companies in climate control and took a deep dive into the way their innovation team operates and what needed to be done to get them to where they aspired to be. Two problems were identified: the burden of keeping track of emerging technologies, trends, and startups was falling on too few people and the fact that their search radius for these startups was severely restricted. Since this corporation’s leadership was ready to buy into an innovation plan, SwitchPitch was more easily able to assess problem areas and ensure our tools would match their ultimate goals and vision.
Employees need to be empowered to take risks. Continued momentum and positive risk taking happens when the CEO creates a climate that encourages creativity, experimentation, and new ways to get things done.
Once your team understands what hurdles it will need to overcome to achieve the mission, how do you incentivize that team in a way that fosters the momentum and longevity of your digital transformation and innovation plan? Employees need to be empowered to take risks. Continued momentum and positive risk taking happens when the CEO creates a climate that encourages creativity, experimentation, and new ways to get things done. Once again, it’s no surprise that our most successful client initiatives have leadership that fosters such climates.
Let’s unpack this one step further. As CEO, how can you really tell if the initiative is working? One of the most effective KPIs is the return on your digital investments. Is the difference in what you’re spending on new technology and what said technology is helping you make, enough to make it worth it? Keeping an eye on productivity metrics is also helpful. Do the tools you’ve selected allow employees to complete more in the same amount of time? Tracking return on investment and productivity are key to consider and track as CEO. Directional changes and big calls are for you to decide, while maintenance can be left to your team.
In the previously mentioned case study, the profit and increase in productivity was well worth the cost of our service. Specifically recognizing that a CEO-backed digital transformation would allow the company to take some of the burden off of a handful of people, the client employed SwitchPitch’s comprehensive database to post reverse pitches to startups that would have solutions.
Since SwitchPitch takes on the work of finding the best possible matches, each startup goes through a screening process before the partnership is finalized and progress continues to be monitored by the team.
The outcome of this case study provided this corporation’s product team with the appropriate technology to address its pain points and the ability to effectively monitor emerging trends and startups. The progress did not end there – our multifaceted dashboard, available to clients, is customizable and continues to allow this company the ability to observe the progress of startups.
Similarly, our recent work with a large biopharmaceutical company illustrates how CEO-supported direction leads to cost-effective business solutions. This company was spending inordinate time determining the startups that would provide them the best platforms and tools to meet their requirements. With direction from their CEO, the innovation team was able to identify SwitchPitch as the optimal business partner to assist them in meeting their business needs.
The team clearly articulated their budgets and vision, allowing SwitchPitch to understand exactly what the company needed and to propose an effective solution using our CRM database. The team quickly organized multiple complicated applications into a digestible format and made informed decisions. As a result, this company also increased productivity and profitability substantially.
Our team at SwitchPitch has learned through ample experience that involved CEO leadership with a vision for innovation, risk-taking, and incentives, and future-focused initiatives can ultimately lead to breakthroughs and solutions that will drive growth and success for our company and our partners.
Megan Orbach is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at SwitchPitch.