Our next Virgin Disruptors event will see Emergent CEO, Holly Ransom, preside over proceedings, as we convene some of the world’s most disruptive thinkers in London.
"Life is a participation sport; you get out of it what you put in. You should come ready to actively engage and immerse yourself in the day," says Holly of the upcoming Disruptors outing. "These events are not designed for passive absorption of content, they’re built on great interactions that lead to great opportunities."
With a wealth of experience in helping organisations become more disruptive and find innovative solutions to the problems they face, we asked Holly for her top tips on creating an environment that encourages genuine innovation.
"If you want to encourage innovation there are a couple core components you need to adopt," explains Holly. "Firstly you need a clear sense of direction, there’s got to be a clear objective you’re trying to reach or an area you’re trying to create change in. It can be as simple as a change in your bottom line or improving engagement."
"Secondly you need to take a look at motivation, getting the people in your team connected into why you’re actually doing it. Everyone needs to be motivated as we know that the journey will be fraught with cycles of failure, you’re not going to succeed on your first go so the motivation to stay the course and keep believing is crucial."
"Lastly you need to have a roadmap. Quite often what we see when we talk about innovation is paralysis by virtue of how dramatic the shift something is deemed to be or the thought of how big things need to be in order to be meaningful," note Holly.
"The organisations who have developed a reputation for being truly innovative believe in the idea of starting small and learning fast. It’s about iterating, developing and scaling – not saying we can’t innovate until we’ve hired a Chief Innovation Officer or invested $200k into an innovation lab."
It seems as though every company is currently striving to be more innovative and disruptive, but they can’t all be achieving it. So what are the most common mistakes that businesses make when trying to implement change? Holly let us know her take, as well as a word of warning for any leaders out there waiting for calmer waters to appear.
"People approach the idea of disruption with the best of intentions, but quite often innovation is viewed as the low-hanging fruit. So a company will digitise an area of their business and think they’re being disruptive, rather than looking at things on a larger scale and seeing how they can fundamentally change how they operate," explains Holly.
"There’s a lot of risk aversion and the dramatic pace of change can scare some people, lots of leaders go down the route of waiting to things stabilise before making a big decision. The problem we all face, in 2016 and beyond, is that we’re not ever going to get that luxury again – things will not be stabilising anymore like they once did. We’re going to be working in a constant state of change and uncertainty."
If you want to hear more from Holly make sure you tune in to Virgin.com on October 3rd. Or better yet, grab yourself a ticket, head down to London and join us in person. You can get 10 per cent off the cost of your ticket with the promo code Disruptors2016.