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on January 22, 2018 Internal Communications Future of work Employee Engagement

Innovate or Die: 7 Ways to Add Innovation to a Legacy Corporation

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Let’s face it. Not everyone will get rich by inventing the next, “hot” social media app.

As technology continues to emerge, every company is now becoming a technology company. And the industries trending slightly behind the curve are facing an impasse: innovate or die.

This one is for the seemingly  “boring,” the “unsexy,” the “established,” and the “legacy” industries. (No, it’s not too late for you.)

Here are seven innovation tips that you can use to upgrade your business.

Align the company around a shared vision

Millennials are vision focused. Although all stereotypes must be taken with a grain of salt, they often hint at a larger truth. There is a lot you can glean about the future by taking a look at what the young people value.

To retain top talent, a well communicated, shared vision amongst employees is crucial. This vision is the glue that will hold your company together during the uncertain times to come. Maintaining a company vision is the difference between being a winner of the past and a winner of the future.

Embrace collaboration

To stay competitive long term, companies ought to embrace a culture of collaboration.

According to Gallup’s State of the Workplace 2017, collaboration is one of the key ingredients for employee engagement. Millennial and Generation Z employees also expect collaboration from their employers.

Collaboration facilitates the innovation process, as it encourages the exchange of ideas amongst diverse viewpoints.

Oh yeah — and remember that shared vision we talked about earlier? Collaboration is needed for that, too. Without it, your company vision will feel fragmented and divided.

Foster adaptability

The business landscape is changing, so tomorrow’s winners are going to need to implement an adaptable, agile approach. As it’s unclear where technology will go and which industries will die out, businesses must be prepared for anything.

You can’t control the world — but, you can control how you respond to the world. The ability, or lack thereof, to adapt to change can make or break you. Adaptable companies listen to their employees and their customers and are quick to shift their focus when needed.

Upgrade your communication and engagement strategy

Soon, most businesses will have five generations of workers employed side by side. Offering both an opportunity and a challenge to modern companies, it’s time to upgrade your communication practice.

How do your employees like to communicate? Via social media, chat and instant messenger tools like Slack, email, intranet systems, an employee app, company bulletin board or face to face? Innovative companies need to adopt multiple communication channels that will fit every worker’s needs.

Companies can do this with applications like backstitch, technology that offers customizable, dynamic communication solutions for corporations.

Audit your media presence

One of the first steps you can take is to take a look at your existing social media channels. First of all, are you even present on social media?

If not, do it. It’s 2018 and customers expect to be able to find their favorite brands, and the organizations they do business with, on social media. In fact, social media is one of the first places customers look when they’re in the deliberation stage — moments before they’re ready to purchase. Not only does social media help customers with buying decisions, it also helps connect companies to their consumers in a more personal way, building trust between the two. 

If you already have a presence, decide which social channels you would like to make a priority. Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Then, take note of what company information is in need of an update.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you are authentically sharing from the voice of the company, you can establish yourself as an innovative, industry player.

Monitor industry trends

For legacy corporations, just because your firm has been No. 1 in the past, that fact isn’t an inevitable future.

To maintain your spot at the top, you’ll need to monitor industry trends. Sectors such as health, transportation, education, construction and more are ripe for disruption, so you’ll want to be the first to know when a startup enters your space.

Industry trends graph

Perhaps make a Twitter list that follows your competition, so you can receive updates. You can also choose to monitor industry and competitor blogs via an RSS feed. Software as a service companies, like backstitch, offer media monitoring technology that can scrape relevant information from all over the world to your hands.

Future-proof your strategy

Lastly, you’ll need a forward-thinking strategy. After you have taken some time to audit your social media, culture and competition, you should have a good idea by now what technology trends are directly impacting your space.

Ask yourself: Are there any startups developing new technology that we ought to be aware of, or even acquire? How does this new technology directly affect the business? How can we use adaptability and collaboration to stay ahead of the game?

After asking yourself these hard questions, develop a long term strategy that will help you maintain awareness of trends as they come up.

Most importantly — stay humble and stay hungry.

Meghan LeVota

Content Strategist at backstitch