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How Do We Innovate for the Enterprise? Hint: Be Purposeful

Kevin Glass By Kevin Glass
March 15, 2016

When we speak of innovation in software we often think of new technologies or tools that give us brand new options and processes in technology. From Twitter to face swapping, we see innovation as crazy new ideas that we're hoping to find business use cases for.

However, when we consider innovation for the large enterprise this style doesn't really take hold quickly. The issue is that most enterprises already know what and how they do what they do. They have processes, they have been acting on them for a long time and, what’s more, they've been making money using them. Trying to make epic changes to the way enterprises work is very difficult and often leads to confusion and in some cases a lack of productivity.

So, how do we innovate for the enterprise? Here's the way we think about it:

  • Don't innovate for "the sake of it". No lab experiments here. If you're innovating it should be for a reason that has been identified to have a tangible, positive impact on the enterprise.
  • Focus on a process that the business already has and work out how to innovate around it to make it faster/smooth/better.
  • Don't forget enterprise policies! There is a lot of security and personal information protection to think about. Innovation is great, but if it’s impossible to implement against the policy then it's not going anywhere.
  • Logistics, Logistics, Logistics! In order to implement a wonderful idea, consider how it can be applied at scale, such as at 10,000, at 100,000 or even more users. Enterprise means scale.

Innovation comes in lots of flavours, and it is important to work out who you're trying to help and what their constraints are.