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How to prepare for digital innovation

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How to prepare for digital innovation

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With exciting new technologies available to most businesses, the very idea of innovation is only hindered by how fast businesses are adopting it. However, not all companies are sure how to start or how to embed structures and practices in their businesses that will allow for digital transformation and the embracing of new ideas. In this blog, we outline clear steps that will help businesses lay the foundations to make the most of new digital technologies to drive their objectives.


Recruit people with experience

Employing people with previous experience in implementing digital transformation will really help to give you vital knowledge and a successful framework to work from. This person or people could act as role models and mentors for others in your organisation that are looking to get to grips with new software or exploring new ideas on how to use benefits of a new cloud-based infrastructure.

Also, if you’re bringing young talented graduates direct from university into your business, look for courses and experience that reflect new modern work environments and the latest thoughts and theories. Even though they might not have been involved in implementation, they may have the knowledge of the latest software and services – and be able to advise on where you should invest in the future.

Train and upskill people

The digital skills gap is upon us, and only by training and upskilling your existing staff to understand and embrace digital technologies will innovation truly happen. If you need support to understand your skills needs, you can gain external support to do this. Higher Level Skills Match is a local skills programme, part-funded by the European Skills Fund, that helps small business access the skills and support they need through a local university partnership.

Plan in time for experimentation

In small businesses especially, it is difficult to find the time, resource and headspace to plan ways to innovate and develop new ideas. William McKnight’s ’15 percent’ time rule operates on the idea that you should give your employees 15 percent of their time to experiment and develop innovative practices. Without allowing time to experiment and grow, your business is not encouraging or celebrating the search for new innovative ideas.

Encourage research and collaborations

Encouraging your employees to do their own research or collaborate with other experts to bring know-how into the business will not only expand your own knowledge set but allow you to become up-to-date in new thinking very quickly. Such services as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships help your business access academic thinking and funding to drive through your innovations.

Looking for more help?

For more advice and one-on-one support in driving through innovation in your business, check out the latest innovation workshops being run by Birmingham City University’s business growth experts – these provide direct support from Birmingham City University’s Business School academics in helping your small business innovate.


Ready to drive innovation in your business? Visit the Higher Level Skills Match page to find out more.

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