Innovation is something that every business should strive for – not a destination or state to be achieved but a journey to be continuously progressed. And as with any journey into unknown territory, you need a guide. The right innovation consultant can help you map the road ahead faster and in more detail, than you’d ever be able to, allowing you to accelerate growth plans and more rapidly transform your business into a market leader.
But how to find the right one? Many business consulting firms brand themselves as innovation specialists, so how do you determine which one has the ability and the expertise to help your business better face the challenges of the next five years? Fundamentally, what separates top innovation consulting firms from the pack comes down to a commitment to the partnership, a depth of understanding and flexibility in tactics. Read on and make a more informed choice for your business.
All too often, the consultant who pitches to your business and the consultant who works on it are two very different people. It’s common from many consultants to send the firm principal, the managing director or a senior consultant to shake hands and sign the contract before handballing it off to a more junior or inexperienced team member.
Not only does this mean that you’re not working with the best on their team, it also represents a break in continuity. No matter how well briefed the junior member is, they’re always going to be playing catch-up from the first moment they walk through your door. Your expectations of the service have already been set by the senior – the junior then has to discover what they are, determine how to meet them and execute on that strategy.
More successful firms keep it consistent – the person who signs the contract is the person you’ll be dealing with.
Consistency across onboarding and delivery feeds into another virtue of top innovation consulting firms – a complete and nuanced understanding of your organisation. As convenient as it would be for every business to operate identically, the fact of the matter is that each organisation is as unique as the people in it. Simply put, a cookie-cutter approach is not going to work.
A truly tailored response to a business’ needs requires constant assessment and analysis of the material facts of the organisation. Measuring and re-measuring, checking and re-checking, testing and testing and testing again are all required to ensure complete and perfect alignment between any efforts undertaken by a consultant and the facts on the ground. The right solution delivered at the wrong time or in the wrong place can be just as useless as the wrong solution all together, so ensure that you’re working with a consultant who truly understands your situation.
There’s a saying that when all you have is a hammer, it’s easy to treat everything as a nail. A consultant’s job is to give a business the benefit of outside information and experience. If that information or experience is limited, you’ll likely see them reach for a familiar and limited set of tools, responses and strategies: Workshops for vastly different departments that impose the same concepts and values, seminars and strategy development sessions that assume the same dynamics and the same goals within every team, project plans that are very much off-the-rack.
Broad experience on the consultant’s part – across different industries, roles and market conditions – will not only allow them to better recognise what needs to be done in individual circumstances, it will give them a curiosity about your business in general. What makes it tick? What makes it a success? What stops it from growing further? If they’ve had enough experience in their line of work, they’ll have a natural desire to create a response that better meets your individual needs, rather than lazily tossing off a half-complete strategy.
Orange Squid is a firm with a difference. We’re legitimately driven to create, deliver and execute the best possible strategies and solutions for businesses of every size. Our innovation workshops and training programs are targeted specifically at your business, your challenges and your goals, helping you craft a clear, actionable and direct path to further success.
Start a conversation with one of the Orange Squid team today to learn how we could help your business grow.