Developing an innovation mindset

By Dr Imran Zawwar
We live in an increasingly complex world. It is always moving, always uncertain, always unpredictable, and frequently ambiguous.

In this environment, it is impossible to predict the future. Planning becomes of less importance, and it is instead the skills of agility and adaptability that are most valued in the workplace.

In academia, we talk about ‘entrepreneurial bricolage’. ‘Bricolage’ is a French term meaning to construct or create from a diverse range of available things. In the entrepreneurial sense, it refers to working in the moment, taking action with the resources that are available to you right now.

As we move into the post-COVID era, achieving global success will require acting more and more in this manner.

Businesses must seek to develop an innovation mindset in their people. Now, more than ever, it is time to look at things differently, to force yourself to make new things, develop new processes and pursue those different business models, unlocking new value propositions along the way. We’re not talking about incremental innovation here – only radical innovation will deliver what’s needed.

The pandemic has created new entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly in the digital sphere, but also entrepreneurship borne of necessity – out of job losses – which often only seeks to increase competition within already crowded marketplaces, rather than driving innovation.

Experience shows us that radical innovation often happens in the start up space and in younger companies driven by an entrepreneurial mindset. Big businesses are often myopic in vision, becoming fixed on serving a particular customer class and ignoring others who may benefit from their products and services. Smaller businesses begin serving this lower end of the market. Their ability to flex, to adapt, and to manoeuvre, allows them to grow very quickly, until these disruptors are directly competing against those big businesses for dominance in the marketplace.

For many organisations, developing an innovation mindset may be as much about surviving as it is about thriving.


Adapted from the full article in Economic Focus.



Dr Imran Zawwar joined Cranfield in 2013, he is an executive development strategist with experience in Asia, Middle East, Europe, and Australia. He looks after Cranfield Executive Development Programmes with a special focus on Innovation, Strategic Management and Strategising in the Digital landscape. Imran is part of the Strategy Group at Cranfield School of Management and the Regional Director Middle East for Cranfield Executive Development Programmes. View full profile.


Tags: strategy, article, CEO Summit 2021

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