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The sun is shining abundantly, children are playing cheerfully after yet another year of educational stress and terraces are filled with casual conversations, only to be interrupted by laughter or the pleasant sound of bottles being opened. Thank God for summertime. To many of us, finding the right holiday destination was no trouble at all. However, determining the right course for our business is a different story. It takes things like ambition, creativity, determination and last but not least: time. The latter being scarce, why not exchange the umpteenth boat trip or dive in the pool for some serious contemplation?

New places to anchor

Talking about boats, we recently came across a booklet entitled ‘Dare’ which contained the following quote by American theologian William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for”. In fact, they are built to sail, broaden horizons and discover virgin territories. Using a ship as a metaphor for your company, we wonder what your ‘safe harbour’ is. In other words: what particular markets, products and/or processes are worth continuing without adjustments and what new places should you anchor in the years to come? This can be done from a business point of view only but why not consider it from a personal perspective while you’re at it? This could, and maybe should, include a certain degree of innovation. In this context, always bear in mind that your idea of innovation is not necessarily shared by others.

Here are some useful tips that may serve as practical guidelines for your ‘summer homework’:

  • Start with asking yourself: can we do this differently?
  • Establish connections
  • Choose a structural approach in innovating
  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Build company-wide support and involvement
  • Involve the right people, also from outside your company
  • Evaluate
  • Why reinvent the wheel if you can apply innovations from other industries?
  • Look through a business, market and technology lens at the same time.
  • Innovation is not limited to products/processes but may include your earnings model
  • Accept occasional failure!
  • Do not forget to laugh!
Don’t get us wrong: we don’t intend to interfere with the quality time you wish to spend with your family, quite the contrary. Knowing most of us ponder about work even during our holiday anyway, we simply suggest doing just that but this time in a positive and proactive way for years to come. In doing so, you will probably enjoy your next holiday even more.
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