We’re living in exciting times. Hard and uncertain times, too, to be sure, because the world economy is still stuttering back to life. But exciting times because a downturn has always been the crucible for innovation. It’s when the best ideas happen. Of course, innovation isn’t simply about generating new ideas. Anyone can do that. Innovation is the art of implementing a great idea successfully. When a business innovates, it doesn’t simply flourish. It trailblazes. “Innovation,” said the late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, “distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Innovation is all around us all the time, and we can either choose to be part of it or we can choose to ignore it. But we can’t stop it. For instance, we are now standing on the brink of a technical revolution. Cloud computing is poised to change the traditional business model and transform the way organizations operate—hopefully making them more flexible, agile, adaptable, cost-efficient and productive in the process. And when it comes—and it will come—the so-called ‘internet of things,’ or machine-to-machine communication, will enrich and empower our personal and corporate lives in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. Businesses can either get ready for this or they can bury their metaphorical heads in the sand. The savvy ones know that they will have to change and are already looking to the future, formulating strategies and dreaming big.
Open to Innovation
The truth is that companies have to be open to innovation if they want to expand, move forward and generally get better at what they do to allow them to compete in the future. Those that resist innovation, that don’t adapt their products and processes and constantly look backwards rather than forwards will become economic casualties of the very changes they try to ignore.
At DHL, we’ve always tried to recognize the value of innovation. That’s partly because our customers across the globe in every sector—from life sciences and healthcare to technology, consumer, engineering and manufacturing, energy and automotive—are some of the greatest and most inspiring innovators in business today. And, of course, as their logistics provider, we know we have to innovate, too, in order to meet their every day needs. That’s why we are always looking to sharpen and refine our current solutions and services and create dynamic new ones. Part of my role is to keep abreast of the trends that will shape our industry in the years ahead, and then drive innovation to meet those challenges by enhancing collaboration between all our business units in the interest of our customers.
Delivered, our relaunched customer magazine, is a small part of that bigger innovation picture—but it’s an important one. It presents the most up-to-date business insights, news, opinions and thought leadership, alongside DHL’s latest solutions and services innovation. It’s now more reader-friendly with shorter, easier-to-digest articles offering selected further reading links for detailed analysis. Innovation can come in any shape and size, after all.
Why doesn’t every business innovate? Well, no one said it was easy because, ultimately, innovators are also, invariably, risk-takers. The greatest entrepreneurs know that to reach for the stars, you have to take chances, operate without restrictions and be open to every possibility. The rewards if you do, however, can be illuminating. Indeed, Thomas Edison, the father of the electric light, said it best when he was asked what the rules of his laboratory were. “There ain’t any rules!” he replied. “We’re trying to ACCOMPLISH something here…”