15 Innovation Tips: How Large Corporations Can Successfully Engage With Startups

Amidst the pressures of running gargantuan operations, innovation often takes a backseat amongst big firms. One of the ways to break this ennui is to constantly engage with startups as they possess certain vitality. There are some typical ways in which large firms have teamed up fruitfully with startups. One of the ways, though inorganic is through acquisitions. Then there are accelerator programmes where big firms adopt startups on term basis and provide them training and development platforms. Further there are third party collaborations with startups where certain verticals or projects are leased out to them. There is the concept ofhackathonswhere creative minds are put to test on business, technological or societal issues. Sometimes even competitions are specifically designed for startups to compete in. Conferences and networking meets have been all time favourites for such engagement practices. Beyond such forums, specific meetings are often organized at entrepreneurship hotspots like Bangalore or Silicon Valley. Some large firms have specific programmes aimed at attracting startups as their customers. Some media are specifically designed to organize thought leadership aimed at startups. Special interest groups where members have particular interest areas bring similar minds together. They often eventually merge or collaborate with entrepreneurship networks. There are even informal groups based around coffee clubs or weekend hobby societies. Company sponsored incubator programmes are increasing in span. There are certain universities dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and these universities get large firm grants especially for R & D purposes. The most unique initiative however is where entrepreneurs set up space within confines of the large firm’s office and develop their innovation. This culture rubs off on the employees who are encouraged to be more innovative.

Huawei’s Culture is the Key to its Success

Huawei is the mainland China based Forbes listed firm which earns more revenue from outside its domestic market. There are certain key characteristics which have been cited for Huawei’s astounding success. It has a customer centric attitude with a focus on delivering localized solutions. Huawei has ensured employee group remains motivated and they in turn go to extremes to attain success. The thinking is long term and strategic goals are given utmost importance rather than short term gains or losses. The decision making on operational issues is gradual and quick fire policy changes are exception rather than norm.

How People Skills are Crucial for the Digital Age

The digital age is often associated with being a movement veering away from human contact. However, the head of SEO at a prominent web hosting firm disagrees. He feels for SEO it is crucial to talk to product owners and formulate plans to enable higher product visibility. Executing ditto what the client wants yet cannot do oneself is the greatest challenge of digital marketing. Communication steps must involve face to face chats, telephonic conversations, emails and media like Skype. Results have shown that when firms try to inspire others, results are much better than those which resort to manipulation. Age old values of being helpful and developing relationships still hold true.

When Sales Incentives Should be Based on Profit not Revenue

In the world of incentives, debate rages on whether they must be provided on profits or revenues. There are cases when the former must hold precedence. Incentives must be provided on profits in cases where profitability is a strategy level objective. The same also holds true when it is controlled by the people executing the actual sales. Profits must also be the incentive factor when gross margin can be measured at regional scale. There may be cases where company does not want to share profitability data with sales people. In such cases, incentives must not be based on profits. In case salespeople influence price, then profits must be used as yardstick to measure incentives. The most crucial factor however is whether the target is to increase sales of high value goods. Then, profits must certainly be the deciding parameter.

Business Model Innovation

While innovation may not be an innovative concept, it is taking on a new avatar. The present one seeks to displace current markets and value chains by newer systems. 3 firms have successfully implemented their own model while displacing earlier ones. They are – Uber, Xiaomi and The Lending Club. Uber has transformed the taxi service industry so much that demand for traditional ones has reduced by two thirds. They do not have full time cab drivers, instead use private drivers who are crowd sourced through mobile and internet apps. The Lending Club emerged from the ashes of the Recession when public trust on banks was at an all-time low. Their model cut out the bankers as middle men while facilitating lenders and borrowers alike. Xiaomi is the newest of the lot and in only 3 years has outstripped many traditional big players. They are now diversifying into digital tracking devices and online video content.  

Difference between System & Process

For any business to succeed, system and process are essential. These two words are often used interchangeably yet significant differences separate them. Process is a series of steps used to seal a particular assignment. System on the other hand is the sum total of all these disparate parts. To describe practically, we can take the case of developing a social media marketing plan. The first step involves an analysis. This is followed by brainstorming. Then there is the system design. We cannot proceed further without testing. Finally the plan is implemented. This entire step by step methodology is the process, but the combination and resultant of these stages gives us the comprehensive system. 

7 of the Banking World’s Coolest Innovation Labs

Banks often give the impression of being remorseless institutions bound by complicated set of systems. However, some leading banks and financial institutions have innovated their processes which go long way in breaking this stereotype.This list of BFSI includes Standard Bank, Capital One, Citibank, Visa, Commonwealth Bank, Chase, BBVA and Wells Fargo. While specific developments range from one to another, the idea behind them all is to develop specific innovation areas at major office(s). These innovation labs are typically designed to be playful with bright colours. Also they often include real time data analysis centres, demarcations for brainstorming to occur, product testing with customers who provide instant feedback, work with digital ecosystem, seed new ideas and research emerging technology. A breed of professionals termed as creative experts are implementing these ideas. A somewhat detached-from-corporate setting works in these.        

How to Engage your Customers & Turn Likes to Leads

In the earlier days of digital marketing, firms would often consider getting substantial number of likes as success. Now the focus has shifted to companies wanting those likes to materialize as genuine leads. As per research, there are number of techniques to achieve so. Firstly, the brand must be built using the concept of story-telling. Customers must then be encouraged to write genuine yet positive testimonials. Similarly case studies may be built by the firm and circulated. The audience must be engaged constantly with events and offers, but these must be strictly for limited time only. Finally, the potential customers must never be pushed too hard with online promotion. Instead soft conversion methods must be applied.

Want Brand Engagement? Build your Community

Brand engagement is becoming increasingly important yet difficult to achieve. Research shows that engaged customers represent nearly one-fourth greater revenue levels. Some steps have been identified as being crucial to solving this conundrum. The first step involves developing creative ways of attracting people to your community. Sharing of community blogs is one of the best ways. Specific data and insights must be sourced and acted upon. This will prove to be a timely prediction model. The community page must be littered with customer experience stories. This gives a sense of authenticity to the entire experience. 

Is your Business Presentable? Try a Marketing Makeover

From the earliest memories of our lives, we are forever imbibed the importance of being presentable. At school, we get rapped on our knuckles if our shoes are not properly polished or finger nails not cut. This grounding extends well beyond school till working life. And indeed studies have shown how firms which are not presentable in their outlook need a complete marketing makeover. A marketing must-have list has now been developed but divided into 4 levels from bronze to platinum. All of these focus on digital presence and sophistication off it. Sponsored posts and event sponsorships are for those aspiring for platinum level while a basic LinkedIn page and professional website are essential at the beginner’s level. 

Digital Revolution is Cultural not Technological

When we think of the digital revolution, we generally consider it a product of rapid technological changes. However, more than mere technology, it is a change in culture and perspective. While hierarchies are not dead, they are evolving into parallel networks. Information used to be the preserve of the elite from where it would trickle down diluted to the lower reaches. Now the digital world has enabled real time information in the hands of people across the network. This has led to the democratization of societies. Information has meant power to act and take decisions accordingly.

Crowd Marketing: Innovation to Increase Sales

While crowd sourcing for information is a relatively older concept, crowd-marketing is a new form that has emerged whichensures marketing for your service/ product not by the firm but clients themselves. It is a two-step process. The first involves convincing a Key Influencer. The key influencer is one who has a substantial online following on his/ her own blog/ Facebook page/Twitter handle etc. On that forum, the key influencer describes the positives of the firm and directs follower traffic to the landing page. In the next step, a specialist will be hired who will publicize about the product across public forums and direct page visitors towards the firm’s service / product.

10 Behaviours of High Achievers

While there may not be a fixed formula for success, there exist certain character traits commonly found among high achievers. They are doers and do not obsess over reasons. Hierarchies are dead for them. People around get inspired by them. They do not rest on their laurels. Challenges bring out the best in them. Defeat does not exist in their dictionaries. Instead, they are literally desperate for success. They are usually thick-skinned and resistant to criticism. They do not politicize each and everything. Unfortunately though, they are not always virtuous in business dealings.

5 Requirements of a Truly Innovative Company

Innovation is one aspect businesses are struggling hardest to achieve. While progress in engineering, supply chain, quality and operations is fairly commonplace across industry, few companies can tap successful innovation. Industry trends however suggest there may be some principles, following which, organizations have reaped benefits of innovation. The entire firm must have a precise and common definition of innovation. Leaders must take up the initiative by becoming responsible and effective. The entire management process needs to be geared towards being innovation seeking. Metrics help innovations through accountability on inputs, results, processes, leadership, environment, balance, return on investment and competence. Most importantly, employees must feel the need for innovating themselves.

6 Secrets of Business Leaders Who Built Hugely Successful Companies

It is said that leadership is an art and cannot be inculcated in someone. Yet studies suggest, certain characteristics business leaders possess which go a long way in developing successful organizations. Communication by leader must always flow from inside to the outside world while frequently questioning himself/ herself. The group of employees who constantly bicker and bring down the group performance must be eliminated early. These leaders put equal focus on the body and mind as they know that performance will be poorer if physical fitness is lacking. Dealings within and outside the firm are done with honesty. Employees are constantly induced to demonstrate their innovativeness.Final execution at each level is encouraged to be performed by lean teams.

6 Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Use Online Marketing to Reach New Customers

There are some simple yet inexpensive ways for firms to maximize customer reach using digital marketing. One of them is to ensure one’s social media updates get shared by own clients/ users. Another is to enable customers to contribute to the company blog. A photo contest with goodies attached always works. Some freebies attached with referring other customers via e-mails always helps. Online surveys are essential. Also, existing and potential customers alike must be induced to share online critique on product or service.

4 Ways Big Data Can Improve Customer Surveys

Big data has proved to be an excellent addition to the armoury ofbusiness research. It can help improve customer surveys in several ways. Goals can now be clearly defined in precise analytic terms. It is now possible to execute tailor-made reporting depending upon clients’ requirements. The analytics derived are not just numeric and in figures but indeed also involve textual analysis. The survey thus designed must include pointers to demarcate real loyalty against perceived one.  

Skyline is the leading specialist from India, offering busines analytics & big data courses.

12 Lessons from Business Leaders’ Moms

Our respective mothers are our first teachers in life. Even great business leaders possess traits handed down to them from infancy by their mothers and some of these traits proved central to their business successes. Some such lessons must be noted. An entrepreneur mentioned about his mother’s teachings on not looking back with ‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’. Another learnt complete honesty. One other inculcated his mother’s philosophy of servicing people right on top. Another focused on the art of listening. Similarly, an entrepreneur developed resistance to criticism because of his mom’s teachings. Someone focused onvaluing core principles rather than peripherals. An entrepreneur got to things by always posing interesting queries. Another practiced the experimentation trait handed down by his mother. One entrepreneur credits his quest for the true purpose to his mother. Another forever puts his best shot. There is one entrepreneur who will always stick to her beliefs and values. Finally there is an entrepreneur who is less obsessed with power but more interested in developing business relationships.  

12 Things Successful People Never Reveal About Themselves at Work

While honesty is a very important trait for successful people, too much of it can lead one to trouble at the workplace. There are certain aspects one must never disclose about oneself in order to succeed at work. In case one is not happy with the work, it must never be admitted. Perception about others’ incompetence must never be openly revealed. Salaries must remain personal. Beliefs on religion or politics must never enter office discourse. Activities on Facebook must never involve office colleagues or clients. Sex life must remain strictly personal. In fact there must never be discussions on colleagues’ sexual habits or interests. One must never give the impression of coveting someone else’s work profile. It might add a tinge of glamour to harp about the wild side to their lives during college days, but this piece of news can do no favours at work space. Alcohol or other intoxications must be strictly outside work and not be discussed within office. Politically incorrect jokes may be commonplace among a peer group but can lead to major troubles at work. Finally if they wish to climb up the ladder of the firm, they must never ever give the impression of job hunting.

Top 5 Things to Consider When Outsourcing

Outsourcing is an often derided term associated with causing irrevocable harm when done at inopportune moments. If properly strategized though, it increases productivity by enabling managers to focus on more creative aspects. There are some aspects all firms must consider thoroughly before engaging in outsourcing. One has to study the return on investment and never outsource core operations. There are some aspects, outsourcing of which may lead to reduction in business reputation. These must obviously be avoided. Innovative processes must never be outsourced. There must be regular communication between the central firm and the outsourced activity locations. Finally, one has to realize that outsourcing is a calculated risk and there is no guarantee of success. Once these steps are followed, rewards are usually not far off.

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