Choose Your Path to Innovation

I think that in order for something to be innovative, it must be transformational. It must also create value by solving a meaningful problem in a unique way. The way I see it, there are two different paths to innovation: The first is automation, which is when technology is used to convert an analog process to a digital one. Then there’s the second, more exciting level of innovation, which is disruption. Below, I will break down both paths to innovation and explain how they are essential to business success.

Typically, the First Path to Innovation is Through Automation

The first form of innovative thinking is automation. This is when you take an existing analog process and automate it in order to increase efficiency and business performance. Throughout the last decade, we’ve seen a huge increase in digital automation. Businesses are realizing that in order to stay relevant, they must continually adapt as technology advances. Innovations of this kind are often the result of digital transformation initiatives and can include things such as the creation of a custom mobile experience, cloud migration, or even entirely new business models based on new technology.  

Disruptive Innovations Reinvent the Way We Do Things

Then there’s the game-changing side of innovation – disruption. These types of innovations use technology to completely transform the way services are delivered. Innovations such as these are often brought to market by start-ups because they approach problems from a new perspective, as opposed to existing companies that are more focused on maintaining than disrupting.

Both types of innovation require you to take a step back and look at unconventional ways of solving a problem. This often gets dampened because people tend to look at things incrementally, building on processes that already exist rather than reimagining them altogether. Instead, we need to look at the big picture and start thinking creatively. That’s why, at Haneke Design, we encourage our clients to adopt methodologies in order to facilitate that start-up mindset within their existing organizations.

Innovation is more than just having a great idea; it requires making bold plans. Most likely, you won’t be able to make that big leap in a day, but my advice to you is to build a roadmap that includes scheduled reflection points to reassess the plan and pivot when required. Use this time to look at your analytics, budget, and the changing market. At Haneke Design, we have taken great care to refine this process in order to facilitate creative thinking and innovation. The key is to continually take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Keep referring back to the problem you are trying to solve and allow yourself the flexibility to change your plan as new solutions arise.

I feel very lucky to be part of a community that prioritizes innovation. Tampa’s innovative culture has a lot of momentum right now, which is continuing to attract creatives, technologists and thought leaders to the area. I have seen firsthand how a culture of innovation can inspire others to get out of their comfort zones and begin to think more creatively, and it is something I am truly excited to be a part of.

About the author / Jody Haneke

Jody Haneke is President and Founder of Haneke Design, a digital product design and development agency in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Haneke was part of the emerging field of user experience design from the day he graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a degree in Graphic Design in 1995. Haneke Design has become the go-to resource for companies such as NYSE, Paramount Pictures, Target, and the One World Observatory to launch digital products that amaze and delight end-users.


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