Shift January 16, 2019

Incentives for innovation

Frederik De Bosschere

Lead Strategist

It’s frustrating, I know. You see Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk exploring brave new worlds practically every other day. Meanwhile, you’re stuck writing project sheets while running to your next meeting. How can you too experiment with new technologies and interfaces, or reinvent how you serve your customers and users, while keeping the plates spinning? In short: how can you combine innovation with business reality?

This is a personal opinion. A tale of how we at In The Pocket want to help our clients jump through the next digital frontier and of how we haven’t fully realised that ambition...at least not yet.

We believe successful organisations are “ambidextrous”, equally skilled in the use of the right hand and the left hand: they exploit and explore. ‘Exploit’ means becoming ever more efficient in what you know. ‘Explore’ refers to experimenting. Charting unknown territory. It’s setting out to disrupt yourself.

This exploration was what caused our founders to jump on the mobile bandwagon years before it went mainstream, giving us a tremendous edge. With big shifts like AR or AI happening around us, we want to take that leap again. So we put our best foot forward and went exploring.

It doesn't matter that it might take another x years to follow through on those first ideas. What matters is this: customers feel like cutting-edge innovation is happening for them, to make them happier and more successful.

This has not been straightforward. It proved difficult to marry day-to-day work with experimentation. Shipping products while exploring new oceans. To expand our current skill set, we learn continuously on the job. But these new things... they take time. In our case, time when we are not working for our customers. Luckily, we realised that if we do not stay relevant, there might not be customers in the future. So we put our skin in the game and now we have multiple internal start-ups, with divergent requirements in terms of process and profitability.

We don’t only want to apply the exploit-and-explore mindset to our own business. We want it to fuel our clients’ businesses as well. We’re very fortunate that they have confidence in us, so besides partnering with them to build today’s digital products and services, we will also tackle tomorrow’s challenges. We also want our clients to be successful the day after tomorrow. That means dedicating a small portion of our resources to trying out genuinely new stuff.

Boom, you just hit our 'paywall'. No stress, we won't ask your money, but if you'd like to continue reading, you can download Shift below. Our annual report on the next big trends in digital is read by more than 1,000 experts worldwide. Join the conversation and get your free copy today! The article on innovation continues on page 62.

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