JOS’s Steven Soo on Innovation: A Need To Show Returns

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JOS’s Steven Soo on Innovation: A Need To Show Returns

IT and service solutions provider JOS believes that it is time for organisations to get real on innovation to bust the hype and produce tangible business results.

There’s so much chatter and hype around innovation, particularly among business leaders, that its meaning often gets lost.

For Hong Kong-based IT and service solutions provider JOS, for all the talk around the topic, it says companies must move now beyond the ‘talk’ to do the ‘walk’, and produce tangible business results.

“Organisation must go back to its roots and focus on small, manageable chunks of innovation that deliver tangible results,” says Mark Lunt, JOS Group Managing Director.

But how exactly can companies do that?

Organisation must go back to its roots and focus on small, manageable chunks of innovation that deliver tangible results

The present reality is that many businesses often work with tighter budgets and impatient stakeholders and shareholders - limiting its innovation plans. Management also can easily tire of innovation if there is no clear Return of Investment (ROI) in sight.

And when organisations embarked on an innovation drive, problems often arise as a result from misallocation of resources and poorly directed technology investment too, says Lunt

“Stepping back is often important, as the bigger the aspiration, the more detached it may be from reality.” Hence, making ‘innovation real’, he says, begins by starting small, winning fast and the moving on the more ambitious goals.

Citing General Electric, as an example, Lunt says the company’s massive digitisation transformation brought a heavy debt load, causing its share price to plummet. Shareholders got impatient with innovation promises that failed to deliver.

“Real innovation should result in operational efficiency and tangible ROIs,” says the IT-veteran.

During its Make Innovation Real talk in Kuala Lumpur, the group emphasised its five technical pillars that makes up JOS’s real innovation model. They are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Cloud and Cybersecurity.

While technology enables innovation, it can only deliver effectively when combined with leadership and clear strategy. Innovation shouldn’t be just another corporate mantra.

Commenting on the Malaysian scenario, Managing Director of JOS Malaysia Steven Soo says the challenge to real innovation for local businesses is the shortage of talent.“This is especially important in light of the national Industry 4.0 agenda.”

The 2019 Budget will dedicate RM210 million to support the development of Industry 4.0, that aims to transform manufacturing process with automation.

Soo says there are talents in both IT and manufacturing sectors, but Malaysia lack talents to bridge both worlds. “Certainly, it takes time to build this talent pool and 2019 presents a timely opportunity to start.”

“Time is often required to nurture a new mindset for innovation in any corporation but things can get a little smoother when a visionary leader inspires and cultivates a culture of innovation,” he adds.

Watch the full interview with Soo below, where he talks about the key areas businesses should focus on to tangibly benefit from real innovation.