The recent National Outsourcing Association’s Inaugural Innovation Day attracted over 60 attendees representing both outsourcing buyers and service providers.
The session’s objective was to understand the opportunities and challenges of innovation in outsourcing from an end-user’s perspective.
There was a real desire, put succinctly by one of the attendees to, “talk less about what innovation is and focus more on how we embrace innovation.”
Key behaviours of end-user organisations and service providers which have enjoyed success with innovation which were identified at the event included:
For end-user organisations:
1. Bringing strategic suppliers together in one room to discuss innovation
2. Managing innovation as part of governance activities
3. Being prepared to take risks to achieve innovation
For service providers:
1. Service provider account teams working on a client’s innovation agenda with their wider organisation
2. Being willing to engage other competencies outside of the account team to develop innovation
3. Innovation shouldn’t be seen as just another sales opportunity
Joint behaviours of end-users and service providers:
1. Making innovation a habit
2. Sharing your strategic vision
3. Holding scheduled idea sessions to identify new ideas
Have you identified further behaviours which really help to drive innovation?
The Innovation Day also provided interesting insights into the fact that while many end-user organisations would say with confidence that they wanted innovation, when we dig a little deeper the issue is less clear.
The culture at some end-user organisations means that they are naturally averse to innovating and taking risks, preferring to follow the competition rather than lead.
Some end-user organisations don’t want innovation from all of their suppliers and need to identify where they wish to develop strategic rather than transactional relationships and while end-user organisations may hope to be able to purchase innovation off the shelf, have to accept that innovation takes a sustained commitment.
And some organisations think they want innovation, but actually just want cheaper!