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Making early adoption a competitive advantage: Solari

May 22, 2017

This post was originally published in the Reno Gazette Journal and can be found at this link.

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2017/05/20/making-early-adoption-competitive-advantage-solari/101948806/

 

Innovation is one of the most sought-after commodities in business. It powers rapid business growth, bolsters productivity and creates entirely new economic sectors.

 

But the way that companies, and the individuals that compose those companies, adopt and employ new innovations varies widely. A company’s attitude toward implementing new ideas can often be the key factor that determines whether it turns into a market-leading success or a struggling enterprise.

 

Deploying innovations before they become mainstream can be a delicate balance. Leap into too many innovations before they are market-ready, and you can waste resources and interrupt the company’s natural flow of work. But hold off on implementing new technologies and business practices too long and you risk becoming a dinosaur of business surpassed by nimbler competition.

 

To stay competitive over the long term, businesses must foster innovation within their ranks, and embrace an “early adoption” culture that doesn’t just chase the newest technology or ideas, but makes sure that the most effective and impactful innovations are adopted across the organization.

 

Here are three keys actions that can assure that the innovations you embrace make a difference for the bottom line.

 

Be proactive


One of the great advantages of early adoption is that it creates or affirms a culture of proactive innovation. Instead of waiting until you are forced to change, early adopters capitalize on an opportunity to be more efficient or to deliver more value to the customer. Early adopters make these changes before they get trapped into a reactive response to client demands or market trends. These new ideas can come from any place across the organization, but they must be supported by decision-makers within the company to truly evolve into a culture of proactive early adoption within an organization.

 

Make adoption universal


Any new technologies or business practices need to be adopted across the entire organization — or the division they apply to — for them to be successful. This can often be a high bar for a company staffed with employees of varying technological skill. Before adopting a new innovation, make sure it is chosen for both functionality and user-friendliness, and have a plan to get full buy-in from across the organization. Finally, have a well-thought-out training plan in place so that all employees are fully equipped to take advantage of the new system or technology.

 

Think of early adoption as broader than technology


The phrase “early adoption” is often used in the consumer technology sense, bringing to mind the technology-savvy consumer who is the first to buy the new iPhone or Smart Watch. But for companies, early adoption can be used in a broader sense to incorporate business practices or company culture.

 

Manufacturing companies like Toyota build market-leading businesses by unleashing dramatic innovations in manufacturing processes. And even some of the nation’s legacy businesses, like Procter and Gamble and 3M, have retained a culture of innovation and idea adoption fuel their continued domination of their industries.

 

Think of early adoption as an approach to all new business innovations, not just software and hardware.

 

John Solari is the managing partner of J.A. Solari & Partners. He has 25 years of accounting experience and is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants.