In today’s competitive business world, organizations that lack innovation become a part of history. Companies that constantly innovate dominate. You will have to keep coming up with new ideas and have the capabilities to convert those ideas into their physical equivalent to capture the market.
Bill Gates summed it up brilliantly when he said, “Software innovation is like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.” Digital innovation is no different.
All this will only be possible when your business leaders buy into the concept of driving digital innovation. Convincing them might not be easiest thing to do as they might ask you some hard questions and ask you to show some evidence to back up your claims. If you successfully answer their questions and show them that digital innovation can take their business to new heights, they will embrace digital innovation.
Here is a step by step guide that shows you how you can convince top leadership on driving digital innovation. Read on to find out more.
Choose Your Team
If you think you can convince the top management of your company alone then, you should change your mind. It requires a team effort to persuade top managers to buy into digital innovation. Build a team of individuals that shares the same vision and are passionate about digital innovation. Let the IT department take the lead but don’t leave everything to the IT department.
Make sure that every team member knows their role and responsibilities and fulfill them in an efficient manner. You can also choose some members from different departments and build a cross functional team. This allows you to take the holistic approach to digital innovation and its implementation.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Once you have picked your team, it is time to communicate with them. It can be in the form of a one to one interview or a group discussion. Irrespective which mode you opt for, the main focus should be on knowing the team members. The better you understand the personality of team members the better you can prepare.
Try to know their perspective on different things and it will give you a better idea about which strategy you should follow in front of your board members. You don’t want your team members to go in different direction as you in front of the board members. All members should be on the same page and work cohesively to achieve the common objective.
When you are presenting your case in front of board members, you might be asked some tough questions and if you are not well prepared, you might struggle to convince the top management about digital innovation. Think about the questions that the board members might ask you and prepare for that. Yes, there might be some new questions during the presentations but atleast you can answer the common ones easily.
Develop a thorough understanding of basic and advanced concepts related to digital innovation so you can explain it in front of your bosses. For example, you want to buy the best dedicated servers for your company. You should be able to justify that it is worth the money by highlighting the true value it delivers otherwise; top leadership might not allocate the budget for it.
Focus on ROI
In order to convince your top executives about digital transformation and innovation, you must focus on potential return on investment. In fact, it might be the first question they might ask you when you ask them to invest in digital innovation. You can only tell them the accurate return on investment when you have processes and governance mechanisms in place to measure the ROI. That is why it is important to establish these processes and governance mechanism before measuring the ROI.
Daniel Newman, founding partner of Futurum Research and Analysis advises, “In selling the concept of digitization to your board and executives, you should adopt the mindset of venture capitalist. Think of it as investing in a new company for the first time.” Next, you need to identify what venture capitalists look for before investing their money into a company. They focus on three important areas:
- Current market analysis
- Potential cost vs Benefits
- Impact of digital transformation on your industry
You should follow in their footsteps and prioritize these three areas over others to convince C-suite executives.
Give Them a Roadmap For Success
Once you have explained why digital innovation is important for your organization, now it is time to present your roadmap. Without a roadmap for success, it will be almost impossible for you to convince top leadership on digital innovation. Even if they are convinced, they will ask you about how you will drive digital innovation and if you don’t have the answer, they will change their mind.
Here are some of the key consideration you should keep in mind when creating a roadmap for digital innovation implementation.
- Operational processes
- Business models
- Customer experience
How digital innovation will impact these areas will play a critical role in board decision making.
One of the biggest mistakes most people make when they are trying to convince top management is they force the issue too much. You have to be patient and give board members time to make a decision. Don’t rush as it will irritate them and force them to fall out. Be ready to give as much information they need to make an informed decision even if it takes multiple presentations, meetings or sittings. Don’t expect top management to give you the green signal in first attempt.
What steps do you take to convince top management and drive digital innovation in your company? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.