EAE On Session: The role of business innovation in the new normal
30 de November de 2020
30 de November de 2020
Innovation has been one of the business sector’s most important assets for withstanding the impact of the pandemic. The capacity to create new approaches, strategies and products has been the great distinguishing factor between companies that have managed to keep moving forward and those that have fallen by the wayside.
So, what is the role of innovation in this new stage and how has it been implemented? To find out, EAE Business School recently ran another edition of the EAE On Sessions, with the participation of four Latin American experts: Hernando Rubio, the CEO of Movii; Juan David Correa, the Founder and CTO of EatCloud; Javier Salinas, the Founder and Director of B89; and Joel Coila, the Co-Founder and General Manager of Bigoo.
In the session, they posed a number of different questions and discussed the topic of innovation from various perspectives, including the business and personal viewpoints. Moreover, they examined issues such as the causes of innovation, and its importance and development in Latin America.
Each of the speakers, all of whom are experts with extensive experience, used their own respective companies and projects as the starting point to give a complete and useful overview of the whole Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Uncertainty, digital transformation, the need to resolve problems and courage were some of the key topics on which the conversation focused. Let’s find out what they had to say!
In your opinion, what should the role of innovation be in the company?
¿Cuál creéis que debe ser el papel de la innovación dentro de la empresa?
Digitization has made one thing clear: the only thing that is certain in life is change. We always have to keep innovation at the forefront and we have to be able to change quickly unless we want to die. Breaking out of your comfort zone is not easy, but innovation encourages us to change. Innovation should not focus on a particular area, but rather be a cultural matter.
Innovation must address the difficult issues within the company. How can we operate as a company if we cannot go to the office? This is the kind of issue to which we must apply innovation.
Entrepreneurship and innovation are two sides of the same coin. A leading company has to embrace these tricky questions that come from the market. Innovation is a matter of taking specific solutions to the market and getting paid for them.
We have to think outside the box because the market is increasingly competitive all the time. It is crucial to stay at the cutting edge and Covid-19 has triggered lots of changes. Therefore, we have to innovate by optimizing services, offering new products and covering any new gaps that need covering.
What opportunities still exist in the world of innovation?
There are opportunities around now and there always will be. But, when we speak about innovation, it may involve creating new products, adding new features to products, or reformulating our activities. Innovation continues, for example, when we bring out new product lines. There is also innovation in marketing, in terms of the way we communicate with our customers.
The world has changed and new challenges and opportunities have emerged. In the case of Peru, it is clear that anybody whose mission does not take into account the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of sustainability will have less support. There will always be opportunities and even more so if we know how to view our problems.
One of the biggest opportunities in terms of innovation is changing the way people think. What innovation gives us is a range of different attitudes in response to change. If we do not learn to deal with uncertainty, we will not be able to operate in these environments. Therefore, our big opportunity is inside people’s heads.
Some people see the glass half full and others see it half empty. Some of us dare to dream and, rather than seeing a glass half empty, we see opportunities. In this case, I really like it when people talk about innovation as a sort of suicide, as it involves letting a business die so that it can be reborn as a phoenix. The most crucial skill nowadays is learning to learn and using our imagination to dare to think of a different world, without worrying about the ROI. Failure cannot define us.
People ask me what it means to be a digital entrepreneur digital. I tell them that it is a matter of training your eyesight to see a problem that affects millions of people and then, with the help of technology, focusing on resolving this problem in an effective and usable way to achieve exponential growth. As such, we are in an age in which anybody can build an enormous industry. We need more people like us that drive people to do things different and dream of a better world.
What has driven the implementation of innovate business models during Covid-19?
Right now, there is an insurmountable degree of uncertainty and that is the great driving force behind innovation. In fact, one definition of a startup is a company that operates in highly uncertain environments. Many traditional companies were forced to adapt and that made them innovate.
Entrepreneurship brings innovation to the market. In Peru, for instance, we have grown a great deal in terms of digital trust. We have learned to believe in each other. Investment angels, who invest far more than the state, have changed and diversified to several sectors. E-Commerce has grown by over 300%, which, to a large extent, is due to digital trust.
The fact is that we have made between 3 and 5 years’ progress in terms of digitization and this has generated changes with respect to the consumer. After the start of the pandemic, lot of micro-businesspeople who previously sold their products or services directly suddenly had to deal with big problems in terms of delivery. This is partly how our company Bigoo originated, as we became a platform for connecting micro-businesspeople and consumers using a secure, effective channel.
I have always believed that everybody runs as fast as the goal that they are chasing. What has happened in our case is that the goal that we are chasing now moves faster than we could ever have imagined. As a result, a scenario has developed in which some companies have adapted, while others have fallen by the wayside. In our case, we offered an effective digital solution that enabled us to grow quickly. Therefore, the moral of the story is that, if you keep still, that is where you are going to stay. We always have to imagine that we are responding to an emergency. We have to put this pressure on ourselves so that, when a real emergency comes along, like the pandemic, it does not catch us by surprise.