How to Win the Race to Reinvent

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“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.” – Roger Bannister (first person to run a sub-four-minute mile)

As the world’s greatest athletes know, success starts with the end in sight. At a time when new digital technologies are enabling the rapid reimagination of whole industries, that’s equally true for business as well.

The digital era has opened new opportunities for corporate efficiency and transparency. But it’s also created something even more powerful: the chance for organizations to completely reinvent how they work, who they work with, what they do and even why they do it. It’s generated a make-or-break moment that has provided companies the potential to cross industries and leapfrog longstanding leaders.

At this critical juncture, digital transformation isn’t enough. The savviest companies are embracing digital reinvention, or the process of examining their digital assets to consider new ways of working, partnering and producing. Companies winning this race to reinvention know that the first step is identifying a transformational customer experience – no matter how much of a departure it may be from the past. And once they push off from the starting line, they relentlessly create new ways to level up.  The Atlanta Falcons, for example, continue to use IT to transform the stadium experience for fans.

“They say ‘this may be good but I’m going to make it much better,’” says Peter Korsten, Global Leader of Thought Leadership & Eminence, Vice President and Partner at IBM Global Business Services. “There’s a permanent drive for pushing the edge much further.”

Here are three prerequisites for winning the race to reinvention:


Mastering the Power of Partnership

That drive is especially critical, Korsten says, when it comes to striking new partnerships and orchestrating evolving ecosystems. Given the quick pace of innovation and knowledge creation, the best path to success is to identify partners who can serve as a pipeline of new ideas and fill in capability gaps. But the winners remember that the spoils almost always go to the first-movers.

According to a recent IBM study, companies that act within an ever-expanding network of partners who share resources and assets are more likely to report revenue growth and profitability that outpace industry peers.

By staying in constant conversation with emerging startups and evolving legacy businesses, companies can move more quickly when they spot an opportunity for engagement.


Nailing the Business Model

It goes without saying that new business strategies invite new business models. But too many companies don’t figure out how to monetize their new ideas early enough. Once an organization has zeroed in on a new experience and focus, it must determine which business model will provide the most sustainability, whether it’s micro-payments, subscriptions, third-party income or another approach.

Beyond that, it must figure out how its new business model fits into the ecosystem it’s building with its new partners.  As the world becomes increasingly interdependent, it’s more important than ever that monetization strategies work in concert with the new environment.

Even more, once an organization believes it’s landed on a good approach, it’s imperative to start testing it and getting it to market as soon as possible.


Innovation Through Discipline

Equally crucial is practicing discipline up and down the corporate ladder and across functions to create structural innovation. Setting vision isn’t one and done. The most successful companies encourage their boards to hold “vision sessions” once every three or four months so that they can continuously refine the experience they’re working toward and reassess the landscape.

Establishing processes that push the entire company to continuously innovate ensures that reinvention doesn’t become the purview of just one person or just one team.


Staying the Course With the Right Coach

But while successful reinvention may mean prioritizing iteration and the embrace of new partners and approaches, it also means recognizing the value of constancy. Just as a runner wouldn’t change gear mid-race or swap out key team members mid-season, the most successful organizations look to one consulting partner that can provide both strategy and technology.

“Working with two firms means re-doing much of the work from round one with partner number two. And that means costs and, more important, time. And, as we know, there is not much time,” says Korsten. “At IBM, we have the concepts and the technology to help clients move as fast as the world demands.”

For companies just approaching the starting line, the race to reinvention can seem like a daunting pursuit. But with the right insights, tools and partners, it’s a race within your power to win.

Learn more about digital reinvention and how we can help you win the race to reinvent.

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