The formula for innovating doesn’t look hard. First, find a friction point. Next, make it go away.
If only it were that simple.
Trying to reimagine ways to solve common pain points and bridge gaps takes imaginative thinking. It also takes a willingness to invest time, brainpower, and money into reinvention. Those can be in short demand, particularly in today’s fast-moving economy. Fortunately, plenty of entrepreneurs and organizations have the desire to be change agents. And their results keep shaking up business and society in evolutionary ways.
Consider drones. Today, more than 850,000 drones have been registered with the FAA. They’re being used for everything from meteorology and mapping to disaster relief and deliveries. In fact, Gartner predicted that drone-based shipments would explode nearly tenfold between 2019 and 2023. Yet only a decade or so ago, drone technology seemed relegated to military and hobbyist pursuits. So what happened? Innovators saw beyond the drone’s obvious capabilities. As a result, drones have become normal tools for many individuals, businesses, and governments.
Other innovations are equally as exciting, revolutionary, and sometimes even life-changing. Below are three that are shaking up their respective industries—and that may inspire your next business moves.
Healthcare Innovation: Improved accessibility to patient data.
Research and development is an everyday practice in medicine and life sciences. However, it can be an excruciatingly slow process to bring something like a new pharmaceutical to market. Typically, it takes about $1.4 billion and up to 20 years before a drug is introduced to the public. In the meantime, physicians and patients must wait.
So what’s part of the holdup? Access to clean, annotated data can play a major part. Without the ability to utilize and understand data rapidly, research and development professionals can’t accelerate their decision-making. Accordingly, they’re unable to forge ahead because they’re bogged down by dated data parsing and processing.
Thomas Swalla, CEO of Dotmatics, is one of the innovators who set out to solve this issue. The ARR cloud software company’s digital, AI-fueled platform has been engineered to reduce scientists’ data integration time by 70% and cut documentation time in half. Dotmatics is tapping into the life sciences research and development market and is working with well-known companies like Novartis, as well as top research universities like MIT. And according to their client René van den Bersselaar, Global Head IT and CIO at Debiopharm, their partnership is getting new therapies to patients faster.
Business leaders have to be able to trust their data’s validity. Additionally, they must be able to collect and store it in ways that make it simple and convenient to utilize. Putting a data management plan in place helps limit data inaccuracies and inefficiencies. Data management can serve as the foundation for internally driven innovations. It can even be a brand differentiator since most companies haven’t mastered the data governance process.
If you’re interested in managing your data, start by understanding the data you gather. Once you have a better handle on the data flowing into your organization, you can design how it’s cleaned, kept, and used. Remember that error-free data can be the answer to eliminating time-consuming manual duties.
Construction Innovation: A “no silos” approach to architectural design and construction.
In the world of architecture and construction, designing and building spaces have been historically siloed processes. A designer focuses on developing the overall framework and aesthetics. The blueprint is then passed to a builder to bring the vision to life. Yet the movement between these two components tends to be clunky for all parties, including the customer.
This lack of a bridge between architectural design and construction felt unnatural and unnecessary to Amanda Gunawan. Her solution was to bring together all the pieces through the design firm where she’s a partner, OWIU. There, building projects don’t just transfer from hand to hand. OWIU maps and oversees the journey.
This isn’t unlike what happens in other industries, such as full-service financial advising. Concierge financial advisors often handle all the wealth management needs for high net-worth clientele. This creates a complete end-to-end experience. Bringing the same principle to the architectural projects world could be groundbreaking.
What’s a key takeaway of this innovation? It’s a reminder to identify and remove siloed processes. Whether silos run vertically or horizontally, they can become obstacles to healthy collaboration and productivity. By fostering open information exchanges across teams, executives and managers can avoid silo pitfalls like change resistance and duplication of efforts.
Think about the silos in your business. Are they adding or taking value from your operations? Work with your team to break down silos by pinpointing and eradicating their sources.
Education Innovation: Fast-tracked education opportunities are helping overcome labor shortages.
More than one million new nurses will be needed by the end of 2022, according to U.S. News and World Reports. Regrettably, nurses are in high demand but in low supply. Along with other healthcare workers, countless nurses have opted to move out of the medical field. This has put the healthcare market into an employment crisis situation.
Carrus, a health-related education provider, is actively working with companies like Walgreens and CVS to fast-track some medical career pathways. Take the technician role, for instance. Many people want to become technicians but don’t want to wait to jumpstart their careers. The power of online training, virtual certification programs, and other learning vehicles help to connect job seekers with healthcare employers.
The sooner medical personnel can become comfortable with the skills they need to succeed, the more quickly they can move into field positions. Accelerated education requires oversight and preparation, to be sure. Nevertheless, it could be the perfect answer to upskill workers and expeditiously place them in medical jobs.
Currently, more than half of all small company leaders say they’re having difficulty filling open roles. Could they possibly attract more talent by setting up educational pathways for people who lack skills but have potential? By investing in the creation of a proprietary curriculum, organizations could position their brands as places to train, work, and evolve.
Even small businesses can offer terrific training for the right job candidates. Don’t worry: You won’t have to break the bank to create everything from the ground up. Consider leveraging a cloud-based edtech training platform to become the framework for an outstanding employee training experience.
Innovation will never stop happening because new pain points will always pop up. Just don’t forget that there’s nothing wrong with using big innovations to inform and refresh your everyday practices.