We are living in a speedy pace of an innovative and competitive environment, where every enterprise would like to become digital-first and closer to their customers as well as their employees.
When it became actually to what can work and feasible to implement or not, most of those enterprises are not willing to take any risk to try something new thing, instead of becoming the first mover, the first attempt to implement new ideas and innovation, they want to follow what other did.
These companies have a due diligence process which is a bit traditional of getting references, case studies, and collecting information of which vendor did what to which customer in which country. Best chance if this solution has been implemented in a similar context to their situation, industry, and culture.
Unfortunately, These companies are mainly not leading the market but following others and they will almost not take any risk with an innovative solution that may resolve many issues for them if not implemented somewhere else before.
Almost, if you are mastering the digital transformation, you will see that most of the companies’ needs are almost similar and can be full filled by repetitive solutions, and here come the ideas of the products that can fulfill and achieve those needs brilliantly. Only a few niche requirements brought innovation to the business. And here become the toughest question, why not be the first?
So, in this article, I’m listing a few reasons why you should consider being the first. Before I start, I would like also to mention that some solutions that tackle specific needs and resolve some challenges that are widely adopted may not be always the best to use. This will depend on your current situation and the collective capabilities that you already have. And this is the way that new opportunity-based changes are introduced due to the existing capabilities that the organization had which create new technological and innovative changes that were not possible before. Remember that the early bird gets the worm!
7 reasons for being the first
The thought leadership
In the innovation adoption curve below, only 2.5% of the organizations worldwide are actually in the specific invention are the leaders. Becoming a leader gives you the chance to put the vision and be the reference for others to follow. This will require risk-takers who are thinking out of the box. It is great to learn from other mistakes but what if you did not find anyone who did that attempt before, why not be the first one who did that first mistake and learn from it and improve to reach the top.
Consider the electric cars, a company like Tesla if the company waited for others to bring the first fully electric car, would Tesla be in the current market position?
Putting the standard
This will enable you to define what are the standards and put the qualities and recipes behind your innovation that will make your business profitable besides attracting interest from many organizations to invest in your company as well or at least be part of this new thing.
If you are old enough to remember when the mobile phones started and how the innovation landscape changed so fast from black and gray screens with keyboards and very limited functionality until having the touch screen mobiles that becoming dominant. Now, the companies are competing on features and marketplace apps. This made the leaders put their experience standards and created an entry barrier for new players to enter the market. Think also about the electric car market and how the leaders put the standards for batteries, charging experience, …etc.
Tesla is known for its leadership in electrical cars which exceeds most of the other cars in reputation in a few years. And when people mention electrical cars, the first thought in mind is Tesla, similar to Microsoft when people think about operating systems and productivity tools like office apps. This was not easy for those companies to reach that state without taking the risk and investing in R&D until having this reputation.
And this doesn’t apply only to companies, it applies to countries, nations, and governments as well. For example, the Estonia government is known for its advancement in governmental services. Germany is known for its robust automotive industry, …etc.
Free brand marketing
With your press releases and new announcements, innovation savvies will blog about your products, you will get early reviews about this innovative idea that you announced.
This will increase your brand, customer loyalty, employee belonging, and investment opportunities. This also will let the market have many things to talk about and tell your story.
The ability to innovate is attractive for talents in the market, especially with the new generation, who want to try new things. This will impact your image as an employer and facilitate talent acquisition from the market as well as a leader in your industry.
Becoming the first will give you the chance as well to acquire resources from other supporting partners, suppliers, and materials. This will enable you to have superior agreements with these resources exclusively for some time which will make it harder for others to imitate your innovation.
Do you remember when Apple announced the first fully touch mobile phone, it was a game-changer for Apple and it brought not only customer attention but the whole market as well? This will make you connected more with your customer because you are analyzing their feedback and investing in the research and development of new ideas. It will redefine customer loyalty and experience and they will follow and wait for your announcement which will increase the switching cost for your products and services.
Although the mentioned benefits, being the first move is not easy and expensive and needs time. But always remember the cost of staying the same is higher than investing to change, being the same can let you stay in your comfort zone for a while until others took your place. There are dozens of examples of companies who were leaders and vanished because they missed the opportunity to change and understand the market dynamics and demand after the tipping point in time.
Nowadays, there are lots of things to experiment with, like data usage innovation, artificial intelligence, robotics, process optimization, product lifecycle management, and others that could bring your organization to the next level. Think about your needs and the fitting solutions more than what others did and imitate them or transfer their experience, why not be the first?
Also published on Medium.