Recap: 10 Key Ideas from Innovation in Professional Services

This is a summary of the key take-outs from beaton's Innovation Conference on 14 March 2018, Investment Centre Victoria

  1. Collaboration and sharing ideas, risks and rewards between professional services firms and their clients, lead to the most valuable innovations. Firm-led innovation is more hit and miss. Inevitably most transformational innovation will occur in supply chains – so consider your clients’ clients.

  2. Communication with the stakeholders in innovation, both internal and external, is vital for successful change management. Measurement is a key to grounding this communication.

  3. An iterative minimum viable product approach (MVP) is vastly preferable to the perfectionistic instincts of most professionals – don’t keep your ideas secret and build something expensive and beautiful that no one wants.

  4. Innovation is doing business differently – it is not just ‘tech’.

  5. It’s important to distinguish sustaining innovation, i.e. continuous improvement, from transformational innovation.

  6. Traditional incentive systems, including the ‘billable hour’, are barriers to transformational innovation. Top management needs a mandate to address this obstacle to foster a culture of innovation.

  7. Internal disruption is better than waiting for inevitable external disruption. Needs which are currently not economically viable to service with humans are the best candidates for automation – digital solutions for these needs create additional revenue and expand a firm’s pipeline of prospective clients for higher-end work.

  8. Different work appetites of young employees must be addressed if they are to be motivated to stay in incumbent firms.

  9. Pricing is a significant challenge. Clients don’t want to pay an organisation to create something new unless it has ongoing utility for them. Subscription models seem to be the best means of sharing value.

  10. Ethical considerations cannot be sidelined in the pursuit of innovation.