Innovation amidst busyness: tips for prioritising technological innovation

By Abigail Stuart, Founding Partner at Day One

In today’s dynamic workplace environment, it’s easy to get bogged down with daily tasks and overlook the need for innovation, particularly when it comes to adopting new technologies. “Busyness” has become the norm for many professionals, but letting it overshadow the necessity of innovation can hinder progress and competitive advantage.

Last week I participated in an expert panel webinar hosted by Janice MacLennan titled ‘busyness culture – what’s stopping us make time for progress’. I was joined by, John Cogan and Kubair Shirazeeto share our experiences and explore any solutions to this challenge. Based on that discussion, here are some actionable tips to ensure that busyness doesn’t stifle the innovative spirit, especially when considering the adoption of new technologies:

1. Understand the Psychological Barriers to Innovation

Status Quo Bias: Often, we tend to favour the existing state of affairs. The familiar seems less risky than the new, even if the latter might offer greater rewards. Recognising this bias is the first step to combating it.

Present Bias: This is our inclination to prioritise the immediate over the long term. When considering new technologies, it’s crucial to evaluate their future potential and not just their immediate impact.

Negativity Bias: Humans are naturally more attuned to potential dangers or downsides. While it’s essential to consider potential pitfalls, don’t let this bias deter you from exploring innovative solutions.

2. Leadership’s Future-Oriented Approach

Leaders have the unique responsibility of steering the ship. By focusing on what’s on the horizon, they can guide their teams toward long-term success. Delegate day-to-day tasks and responsibilities to competent team members, allowing leadership to delve deep into futuristic perspectives and technology planning.

3. Ensure your Innovations Address Common Pain Points

Innovation for the sake of innovation can be counterproductive. Before implementing a new technology or tool, identify the primary pain points it addresses. Does it solve a critical business challenge? Does it streamline a process that’s currently cumbersome? The technology that offers solutions to real problems is worth pursuing.

4. Remove Barriers to Behaviour Change

For innovation to flourish, three things are vital: capability, opportunity, and motivation. Ensure that your team has the necessary skills to use new technologies. Create opportunities for them to experiment and provide them with the motivation — whether it’s through rewards, recognition, or the intrinsic value of the work itself.

5. Embrace Rapid Testing and Learning

Innovation involves risks. But instead of shying away from them, embrace a strategy of rapid testing. Build a portfolio of ideas and solutions, and then run pilot programs. These tests should prioritise learning and adaptation over immediate success. Failures aren’t setbacks; they’re opportunities to refine and improve.

In conclusion innovation, particularly in technology adoption, is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. While the whirlwind of day-to-day tasks can easily consume our attention, it’s imperative to carve out time and resources for forward-thinking strategies. By understanding our biases, setting priorities, addressing core challenges, fostering the right environment, and rapidly testing ideas, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and continue to thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Feel free to get in touch

Abigail Stuart