Where can I find opportunities to innovate in a post-pandemic world?

One of the many things that are constant in today’s business environment is the threat of an impending crisis and disruption.

From the oil crisis of the 1970s to the global supply chain disruptions in 2022, businesses around the world have been grappling left right, and center with crises that seem to pop up out of nowhere. The common knee-jerk reaction for any business in response to these threats is to focus solely on surviving these threats.

And who could blame them?

Threats like high inflation rates and rising energy prices paint a picture of a bleak economy, one that looks hostile to growth, success, and innovation. It makes it seem that there’s no room for organizations to grow and that the only logical step is to hunker down and prepare for the worst.

But the world’s most successful companies see things differently. They see times of crisis and disruption as opportunities for them to outpace competitors and invest in innovation. During times of crisis, companies should be looking for opportunities not just to survive the crisis, but also to thrive post-crisis.

That begs the question, how exactly do these companies find opportunities to innovate during a crisis and post-crisis?

Innovation Is The Creation And Capture Of New Value

Where can I find opportunities to innovate?
Photo by lil artsy

Before any business can find quality opportunities to innovate, its management innovators must first understand what innovation is

It is a common misunderstanding that innovation is just the creation of new technology. Innovation actually covers much more than creation, as creating something new would just be invention.

Innovation is the creation and capture of new value, according to Masaki Mitsuhashi, Managing Director of the Embiggen Innovation Institute. 

While this may come in the form of creating new products, implementing new ideas, improving internal processes, and developing a better value proposition may all be considered innovations. Other examples include fostering a better workplace culture and enhancing customer service.

All of these innovations have the end goal of kickstarting, restarting, or sustaining the growth of an organization. Thus, for something new to be considered an innovation, it must create new value for an organization in terms of revenue, efficiency, or any other metric being measured.

This definition of innovation may complicate the way you look for opportunities to innovate because, as we now know, innovation goes beyond just creating new technology or inventing a new product.

Spotting opportunities to innovate successfully beyond developing a new product may be difficult for the untrained eye. Luckily, there are some tried-and-tested tools that organizations can use.

Using Tools To Find Opportunities To Innovate

Where can I find opportunities to innovate?
Photo by Lucas Pezeta

To scan for opportunities in today’s post-pandemic world, organizations need to sift through relevant and irrelevant factors and make connections between them.

One way organizations can do this is by using a Business Opportunity Map.

Companies plot factors affecting the company, its competitors, the future, the company’s value chain, and other unrelated companies onto a table with the goal of finding connections between them. These factors may include trends, locations, market conditions, products, and services.

Once the map is complete and the connections are made, the organization now has a full picture of the opportunities they can take advantage of. Opportunities may come in the form of technologies an organization can leverage, trends they can take advantage of, processes they can make more efficient, and many more.  

However, not all of these opportunities should be pursued. Mitsuhashi stressed that innovations need to be centered on solving a problem and fulfilling a need.

Organizations need to do further research and evaluate all possible options to find the most attractive opportunities with high chances of returns.

Businesses can also use other practices, tools, and methodologies like artificial intelligence and strategic foresight to find more opportunities to innovate.

By combining the outcome of the Business Opportunity Map with other tools and concepts such as Environmental Analysis, Design Thinking, Business Model Canvas, and Lean Startup Methodology, organizations can successfully build these opportunities into innovations.

With the right knowledge and tools, anyone can innovate.

Level Up Your Innovation Skills With EII And GIMI

Learn how to successfully use these fundamental innovation tools and concepts by enrolling in the Global Innovation Management Institute’s (GIMI) innovation certification program.  GIMI is the worldwide standard certification body for innovation and innovation management.

GIMI has certified over 10,000 innovators from corporations around the world, including Pfizer, HSBC, and the Ayala Corporation.

Embiggen is the exclusive certified training partner of GIMI in the Philippines.

Learn more about the innovation certification program here.