For decades, the business consulting industry has revolved around the fundamental concept of sending smart people into client organisations, to solve their challenges and problems. Whether it involved the cost-cutting program, the introduction of a new strategy, or the implementation of new technology, the business consulting industry always had the right recipe for their clients. Though this industry saw high double-digit growth rate before; now, the consulting companies are worried about declining revenue growth, fierce competition and market consolidation.
The factors that led to these disruptive changes in the business consulting industry are wide-ranging. The growing sophistication of the businesses and their increasing savviness about products and competition has triggered the requirement for more and more sophisticated consulting services.
Where did Business Consulting go Wrong?
Client organisations have become less dependent on consultants as they do not want to just go for the traditional management consulting services delivered by a bunch of consultants, and based on opaque solution development processes. In most of the cases, these solutions do not even weigh the variety of factors in deciding whether that expensive solution made sense. Also, after decades of engaging with same business consultants to conduct efficiency and cost improvement programs, the use of identical methodologies and tools have limited the potentials of improvement.
But the fast pace of business and changing consumer demands has put innovation on the top of every business’s list. This struggle for the ever-increasing push for an organisation to be innovative has led to the genesis of change consulting. Many organisations today that partner with innovation consulting firms is approaching the challenge from a different angle. They are better able to understand their customer’s transformation journey and are thus able to promote a culture of innovation to survive in a constantly changing business climate.
The New Beginning: Innovation Consulting
Since constant innovation has become the need of the hour, the innovation consulting firms, have started creating an innovation framework for an organisation. This framework helps achieve the organisation’s vision by having robust strategies, the right structure, policy, and processes in place. In addition, it also provides an actionable plan that prepares organisations to meet their future challenges.
Here’s how innovation consulting is helping businesses:
Setting up innovation strategy:
These innovation consulting firms work alongside senior leaders and explore the forces of change that can potentially impact the enterprise and industry. Also, within the seemingly chaotic business landscape, they help identify the opportunities. Based on this, an “innovation ambition” is set to diagnose and address internal breakdowns. Finally, the senior management is provided with a plan on its responsibilities for championing innovation.
To build and launch innovations:
These innovative service providers are known to use generative research methods that unearth new insights about consumers. These insights are then translated into business concepts that incorporate multiple types of innovation. Help is also provided by facilitating prototyping and testing to refine new offers and accelerate scaling. Not only this, a strategy based marketing and enterprise analytics approach is used to refine, pilot, and launch the new business.
Help become better innovators:
With innovative consultants, organisations can develop their own signature innovation capabilities, systems, and structures that are specific to them. This includes implementation of learning programs to teach innovation practices, development of networks and governance structures, the establishment of incentives and metrics, and the integration of innovation across the business.
Reminding businesses of the future:
Having a “future orientation” is vital because organisations need to identify the needs and wants of customers and address them before others do. Otherwise, they are simply a fast follower at best. Many organisations are more worried about the next quarter, but very few are concerned about a 3 to 5-year horizon. But this is the time horizon that can make or break the company. This is the area where innovation consulting stresses on, be it the products, services, customers and markets. They help create new products and services that allow organisations to take advantage of the unfolding future.
Areas of influence by Innovation Consulting Service Providers
Maintaining a business-centric culture:
An organisation that is plagued down by grape-vine politics or old-school methods has little chance of embarking a path towards innovation. To curb this silo, innovation consultants give a better cultural perspective to organisations to help identify the problem areas and apply their expertise to help eliminate those areas.
Emphasis on research:
Often, silos and bureaucracy prevent R&D departments from truly innovating by ignoring ideas from being heard and acted upon. Innovating consultants help organisations create channels that make it easy for new ideas to be heard and adopted for better collaboration around those ideas.
Identifying new market opportunities:
To stay in the competitive industry, organisations often make the mistake of chasing the same target markets as their competitors. Innovation consultants help organisations identify new markets that are being underserved and target those by creating an innovative product or service for a new customer base.
Apart from the above areas, innovation consulting can also help identify and hire right kind of talent pool, and construct a business plan that realigns goals around innovation.
Businesses that recognise the limitations of their existing business model and explore opportunities that tap into emerging technologies will have the best chance of thriving in the disruptive future. More and more organisations are now moving towards innovation consulting in their efforts to strengthen their future.
In synthesising all of this, innovation consultants who can re-imagine their client’s processes, teams, structures, and output will emerge on the winning side. Looking at all the benefits of innovation consulting, it here to give business consulting a run for its money.