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5 Vital innovation developments and the way managers can profit from them in 2021

To create something new and permanent, you need to know what's changing in business.

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30, 2020

Read for 5 min

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

Innovation is a matter of course in today's market, but not all types of innovation are created equally. In recent decades, innovation has meant introducing new technologies, becoming more productive and expanding your reach than ever before. While all of these are still important parts of the business, future-oriented entrepreneurs are also starting to break new ground.

McKinsey & Company estimates that the minimum economic value that has been evaporated by the pandemic is in the region of $ 9 trillion. With such a number, it is no wonder that executives around the world are trying to permanently change their attitude to innovation.

If you want to drive the next transformation car, you need to know what the current discourse on innovation looks like. Here are a few good starting points.

1. Consumer interaction

The customer may always be right, but companies certainly didn't treat her the way she is. COVID-19 has shown how weak some customers' customer experiences are and how willing consumers are to fight back. American Express research has shown that a third of customers will switch brands after just a bad experience, which means it is high time that companies work together.

The first step is to simply pay more attention and resources to your customer's needs. Jeff Wong, one of the most innovative people I follow and EY's Global Chief Innovation Officer, encourages leaders to move from “eyes down” (if you only focus on what's in front of you) to “eyes up” go and look ahead to evaluate what needs to be done to meet changing demands? “An“ eye up ”attitude can be all you need to bring your company one step closer to the people it serves and thereby boost the business.

Related: Why You Should Accelerate Digital Transformation During the Crisis

More than ever, people want to have the opportunity to make a difference with their purchases. Almost 90 percent of customers want companies to be greener and more ethical, and these customers are more than willing to convert that desire into cash.

Acceptance of sustainability will look a lot different for every company, but with the right approach, consumer hype will always be triggered. Consider introducing Burger King's Impossible Whopper or feeding cattle with lemongrass to reduce methane emissions. None of these steps are important to a company, but they are tangible and expand the company's customer pool to include those who are concerned about their carbon footprint.

3. A focus on EQ

When we think of corporate innovations, it can be easy to delve into the idea of ​​a motivated, monomaniac entrepreneur who has something to prove. In some cases, this may be true, but it's an outdated picture of an increasingly diverse field that is beginning to appreciate EQ as much as IQ.

Innovation doesn't just mean creating a chic new product. This can equally well mean a new type of company restructuring, the implementation of new job guidelines or the refinement of recruitment tactics. Startup consultant Andrew Deen said it best when he wrote that high EQ entrepreneurs "are good at putting themselves in someone else's shoes and seeing challenges from different perspectives … that's what they do in the Rule of excellent, respected communicators. "

Consumers are tired of companies proclaiming social responsibility, but not spending their money where their mouth is. After hundreds of companies put up black squares on June 2 out of solidarity with nationwide protests against Black Lives Matter, a backlash soon followed, claiming that this was little more than performative activism. Companies willing to go the extra mile soon separated from the rest of the pack, and companies like Apple pledged $ 100 million for racist equity initiatives. Whatever comes next in the business, it has to make a real difference if it wants to survive.

Related: Cooperation is the new innovation

5. Virtual life

Even before the pandemic broke out, the average internet user spent almost 7 hours a day online – an already high number that has surely skyrocketed since the pandemic started. The digital world may be full of ways to entertain yourself, but as the internet becomes a prosthesis for other aspects of life, people are looking for new ways to replicate personal experiences online.

Wave, a digital concert streaming platform, recently raised $ 30 million during a fundraiser and later partnered with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label to pave the way for a new era of unattended concerts to be seen. Rockstar manager Scooter Braun perhaps summed it up best when he said that "the future of the industry depends on companies like Wave," and that goes for almost every other industry.

The business world is changing before your eyes. You just have to stick to the right changes at the right time. Innovation is a story that never ends, but if you get involved now, you can have a happy ending later.

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