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Last month while in Sydney, Australia I participated in an interesting session taught by my colleague Ajoy Mallik on how to organize a continuous innovation program in-house.  Our client had asked us to help them develop this program.  It was while participating in this workshop that I recognized the value.

Fast forward to today and I am in Denmark experiencing late summer rain and working with a large CPG company and sharing our latest research on Code Halos, enterprise mobility, SMAC strategies and digital transformation.  During the workshop one of the attendees asked the question, "How do you motivate executives to fund innovation?"  It was a great question!  That is a challenge for most companies. Someone needs to pay for it!

The first question might be,  "Can't we just replicate innovation when we find it?"  My answer is that your frontline employees are in the best position to recognize where innovation is needed and how it could most benefit your company.  That kind of specific innovation requires motivation, collaboration and organization, ie., funding!

Your company needs to recognize the importance of continuous innovation - not project based innovation, but systemic.  A system that is continuously asking questions like the following:
  • How are SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) developments and trends going to impact your markets, customers, partners, suppliers and your industry?  How are these developments going to change the future, and are your budgets aligned with those changes?
  • How is the process of digital transformation going to impact your products and services?
  • How are mobile technologies going to impact your brand, marketing, sales and business models?
  • How are social media channels changing your market and industry?
  • How can you deploy enterprise collaboration solutions to your advantage?
  • How can you become more agile as a business, when your ERP and technology vendors are constantly trying to lock you into their expensive and slow paced technology cycles?
  • What opportunities and risks are presented by the transformation from controlled PR, branding and messaging, to real-time social media feedback and swarming market behaviors?
  • What new risks are being presented to your business models and markets because of all these changes?
  • What changes need to happen within your ERPs and IT infrastructure to support a move to real-time information and updates?
  • How does your company's organizational chart need to change in order for managers to respond quicker to real-time problems and market opportunities?
All of these issues are here today.  Companies must be continuously addressing these changes and trying new ideas, innovations and processes.  This is at the least, self-preservation, and at the most an opportunity to capture market share and achieve competitive advantages.  The future, if a company is to have one, must be funded.

Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.