Anthony Letsoalo-Mphogo: The need for agility

The need for agility in building a sustainable culture of business innovation, writes Anthony Letsoalo-Mphogo, DaVinci’s Business Development Manager

Apart from its disastrous effects, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically influenced a number of organisations to recognise the importance of embracing agility. This being a crucial ingredient if organisations are to start developing a sustainable culture of innovation. For some organisations, innovation may have been a relatively daunting concept to tap into. While for others, it may have been mentioned in passing without being strategically and purposefully implemented or advanced to its fullest capacity. Yet, over the last two and a half years, organisations and people have had few options but to embrace the discovery of new ways of being, doing, and leading. Therefore, allowing for innovation to gain a foothold in more novel and creative ways that may have a greater impact on organisational growth, sustainability, and operational efficiency. Clearly by this, it is essential for organisations to strategically ensure that the lessons learnt from Covid-19, such as the need for continuous investment and the development of a culture of innovation, are taken into consideration and implemented.

Albeit Innovation is something that long began taking root in much earlier centuries and has been gradually growing in its relevance, it has become essential for the support of business strategy and the advancement thereof. The management of innovation, therefore, should be utilised as a tool for retrospection, an approach used in order that sustainability, growth, and impact on the overall organisation and the communities are served in a meaningful and insightful manner.

For organisations to become a bit more agile, aligned and engaged curators of innovation, there are many factors at play and to consider, which would potentially contribute to the eco-systemic management of innovation – such as how organisations manage their technology and innovation, as well as the management of the relationship between innovation and people. In the last two years, the organisations that have embraced such have continued to thrive even during the pandemic’s upheaval period and will hopefully continue to do so post-Covid. It is important to remember that if an organisation wants to engage its people in innovative practices, then they should consider honing competencies in its people and organisational culture such as engage creative networks, facilitate conversation, and look towards practices of cross-cultural engagement, making people aware of the importance of honing the practice of social and emotional intelligence and probe reflective practices.

Amidst the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, the business community saw the introduction of new roles or titles such as Innovation Specialist and Innovation Manager, with some businesses even creating such roles as Head or Manager of Experimentation. Nonetheless, moving towards having a thriving culture of innovation further requires organisations to fully encourage entrepreneurial mindsets throughout their organisational structures, to influence the much-needed birth and growth of new ideas, subsidiaries, and new ventures. To do so, understanding the organisation’s position on innovation matters. It matters also for the organisational leadership to examine their existing business strategy, to identify areas in which business innovation practices can be added as a part of the contribution of fuelling growth, sustainability, and operational efficiency, as well as ensuring that current and future leaders understand and continuously create and contribute to the business’s innovation life cycle.

With that being said, it is therefore crucial for business leaders to be agile in their abilities to identify, embrace and nurture original and disruptive ideas which would in turn possibly enhance their people’s competence in implementing high impact projects and initiatives with excellence. To achieve such distinction, this also requires leaders who possess within them innovation courage; the ability, capability, and bravery to embrace the spirit of experimentation and those who are driven to help them grow for the betterment of the organisation and the communities they serve.