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Innovation through culture


3g2a8865-1 Josh O’Riordan of mobile apps development leaders Brightec describes how the Brighton based business has the ability to innovate for CIOs

We have a simple theory at Brightec: ‘Innovation has more to do with the people involved than the techniques used’.  We value innovation and we consider it to be an attribute we’ve honed and developed well into our company culture. So it’s satisfying when others, particularly our clients, recognise this about us too.We often find our clients commenting on the high level of innovation brought to projects. They often compare us favourably against other agencies they’ve worked alongside, both in the app industry and beyond.

I found these observations surprising because when we observe industry peers, other agencies and developer communities they seem equally innovative. What makes our innovative approach stand out?

My research confirmed what I already had anticipated – most other agencies are following a similar set of processes and completed similar (in some cases identical) activities. For instance, most undertook hackathons, workshops, away days, R+D teams and other types of incubation. Not only were their methods near exact, they were also completing this to a very high standard.

People & innovation

I started to explore whether it was actually the people involved, not any certain processes, that was chiefly contributing to our innovative reputation. Once again, when I spoke to other agencies it seemed as if we had similar people involved. The same numbers of developers, designers, BA’s, end users etc. Our respective agencies all had similar roles, filled by similar people with similar qualifications and experience.

It wasn’t until we started to look at Strength Finders that any kind of unique pattern began to emerge. Strength Finders is a business orientated method of personality testing that defines 34 separate strengths. The aim of the test is to help you discover your top five strenghts. If you undertake the exercise as a team together you can get a fairly accurate measure of how the sum of the parts makes the whole – your company’s strengths.

For Brightec our Top five were:

  • Futuristic (33.3%) People exceptionally talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be.
  • Learner (33.3%) People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve.
  • Strategic (42%) People exceptionally talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed.
  • Connectedness (42%) People exceptionally talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links among all things.
  • Ideation (66.6%) People exceptionally talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

Innovation is about people not processes

Reviewing these company strengths leads to a simple theory. The innovative edge our clients were referring to, wasn’t the processes or activities we had, but is down to the individuals we are asking to be part of that process. Innovation is about people. Innovation is driven by team.

Do you want your organisation to be innovative? Then focus on your team not your processes. The tactics you employ aren’t irrelevant but without the right players on the pitch innovation won’t flourish.

Innovation Leadership Summit
Brightec’s Josh O’Riordan with CTO Francesco de Marchis at the 2016 Innovation Leadership Summit; Picture by Vicky Mathers, Icon Photomedia, part of Icon Business Media
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