Silvia Pencak is the President of Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada) which bridges the gap between Canadian women-owned businesses and large corporate and government supply chains. Her passion for sustainable innovation and people improvement led to many successful initiatives across 4 continents. You can connect with Silvia on LinkedIn or Twitter – @SilviaPencak.
What is your definition of “innovation”?
Innovation is action. It’s a new idea transformed into product, service or delivery. I believe that innovation knows no boundaries and can impact any industry or organization.
Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?
Innovation is crucial for business growth. We have all seen companies that failed to innovate to move from being industry leaders to lose their relevance and position in the marketplace. Great leaders don’t dwell on their past success but relentlessly press for the next opportunity and win.
What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation
There are many ways to leverage innovation, but here are a couple of surefire ways to ensure that your solution is relevant and sustainable.
Get to know your customer – Best innovations will improve your customer’s life. In order for your solution to ease their pain or improve their lifestyle, you need to understand their challenges, lifestyles, what makes them happy, etc. There are no shortcuts around understanding your customer. The better you know them the better your solutions will become.
Partner with suppliers for new ideas – Collaboration is the key to innovative solutions. Partnering with your suppliers can open up previously unseen opportunities to improve your products, services, operations, customer experiences, etc. Seek innovation, be open to new ideas and innovative solutions. Never become complacent.
Reward innovation – One of my favourite leadership principles is – you get what you reward. Innovation is complicated. Its best friends are hard work, failure and cost. Chances are, many of your team members will enjoy the status quo. And when you take your idea to market, it will be very similar – you might need to “sell” the benefits of your innovation to your customers. To develop a culture where people are seeking innovative solutions and continually improving, you need to put incentives behind what you want to see. How can you reward your team, suppliers and customers for supporting a culture of innovation and encourage adoption of your new solution?