Zensiblo Consulting

Why Most Business Still Don’t Get Innovation


It is a common belief that businesses today need more innovation than ever before. But how accurate is this claim?

Yes, the topic of innovation is often seen as exciting and alluring. From my first consulting client in the 90s to most clients today, everyone views innovation as key to the future. However, for most businesses, it is the constant evolution of their operational models that keeps them thriving. It’s not about getting it right just once – you need to consistently operate your business productively.

Even if you’re in a decades- or centuries-old organization with well-established products or services, to lead or survive in the market, you must find and implement new ways of operating. Contextual factors like an aging workforce, hiring challenges, new technologies, and changing customer demands may all necessitate changes.

For most organizations, business or non-profit, the real challenge is building a self-improving engine that can continuously enhance productivity (both effectiveness and efficiency), much like adjusting the speed and direction of a car based on traffic conditions and your ultimate destination.

But how do you build this engine? This is where the concept of “innovation” comes into play. However, when people discuss innovation these days, they often focus on customer experience and pain points, which are important. The real bottlenecks, however, may be internal, stemming from issues like errors, delays, rework, duplicated work, and unnecessary authorizations – areas not commonly covered in the “innovation” canvas, yet offering significant opportunities for rapid business improvement.

Experts may suggest various solutions, such as building a talent pipeline, training employees, adopting new technologies or management approaches, or cultivating the right corporate culture. While these are all important factors, they are not usually the most effective starting points.

From my experience, the key to transforming an organization into a self-improving engine is through real projects that change current work practices and processes. This requires people to develop the habit of constantly evaluating and rethinking the “why” and “how” of their work, which cannot be achieved solely through mindset training. The mind needs concrete examples to build new neurological pathways and habits.

It’s important to note that by “productivity enhancement”, I mean rethinking and changing the way things work, primarily by reexamining underlying assumptions, rather than simply implementing new technologies. While technologies are great enablers, if the core operational processes don’t change, the gains can be easily offset.

By building these habits and creating tangible results, the related values and culture will become embedded, leading to truly sustainable and thriving businesses.

Therefore, making “innovation” part of your organization’s DNA is not just creating new products or features, but building a habit of continuous renewal!

How are you going to take your organization to become self-renewing and proactive?

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