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Sustaining Long-Term Innovation: Why Thought Leadership is More Important Than Ever

No matter what vertical we cater to or what role we hold, how we answer disruption has become an all-consuming business imperative. 

Consumer behavior has forever changed. Landscapes across industry verticals have drastically shifted. The events and experience industry - along with the workplace structure of the future - are being reshaped and rebuilt before our eyes. 

It can be overwhelming to keep pace with the seismic business changes continuing to take place in real-time. Thought leadership can become your lighthouse in the storm of disruption, by both grounding your innovation efforts in long-term goals, and also helping you strategically embrace change. 

Finding stability in the 'Era of Hyper-Innovation’ 

Innovation - or at least, the allure of innovation - has flourished from ongoing marketplace disruption. 

A Citrix Systems study reported that 80% of business leaders surveyed expect their organizations to enter a ‘hyper-innovation; period, generating more ideas than ever before. These leaders also attributed nearly half of their recent growth to innovation, with 49% pouring increased investments into innovation.  

However, adopting new technologies, integrating new ways of working, and offering new products, services, or experiences alone won’t ensure lasting innovation. 

For sustained impact, innovation requires the guiding light of thought leadership to ensure that you’re innovating with a purpose, instead of grabbing onto the trend du jour.  

Aisling Curtis, director of strategy and sustainability for Microsoft Ireland, said, “Great innovation is never in the technology itself, but in what that innovation enables people to achieve and to overcome. … We must ask ourselves not just what technology can do, but what it should do.”

Thought leadership reveals overarching societal and human behaviors and shifts that are both currently shaping and will affect your business in the future. Then, it provides insights, frameworks and new ways of thinking that you can use to strategically innovate solutions to meet these challenges. 

Strategically embracing change - and everything that comes with it

Along with grounding innovative ideas in long-term goals and results, thought leadership can help you evaluate new technologies, digital transformation, and other business changes through a strategic lens that is relevant to your business, industry vertical, and most importantly, your consumers. 

McKinsey & Company underlined the focus on innovation when it reported that 90% of business leaders said ‘innovative ideas about their issues’ was the most important factor in their choice of partner for strategic initiatives - beating out a disruptive product or service, which 76% said was the most important factor. 

Though ‘innovation’ was the keyword leading the study - and many headlines to follow - the subtext cries out for business leaders to strategically embrace change, instead of resisting it. It begs us to ask questions and seek new solutions to existing problems. It invites us to take risks grounded in insights obtained from thought leadership initiatives.

Strategically embracing change requires us to truly learn who our customers are today - what motivates them, delights them, concerns them, and even what turns them off. It also requires us to understand not only what change is happening to our landscape, but the why behind it. 

Finally, strategic change-embracing begs for more than just a short-term digital transformation. It requires a cross-organizational business transformation, in which a culture of innovation and change is encouraged and rewarded. It needs long-term goals, objectives, and plans to implement the change impacting your industry. 

Ultimately, it means that you’re agile and open to new ideas, but that your eyes are trained on your business vision, which keeps you from getting swept up in the latest technology or trend (such as NFTs or the latest metaverse development) without the business case that will answer your goals, objectives, and consumers. 

Sound familiar? The keys to effectively embracing change that’s more than just a flash in the plan, and the secret to long-term innovation, are shared through savvy thought leadership initiatives. 

At Spiro, we call this type of thought leadership - what our n•Spiro™ program offers - that which gives a competitive edge through pan-industrial intelligence. You can get a leg up on the competition now, but also obtain a future-edge through grounded innovation and strategic change embracing. 

Check out how you can take the first step to achieving both by registering for 'The Seven Change Waves Impacting the Event Industry: Why You Should Care About Them.'

Original article published by Little Black Book.

About the Author

Beki Winchel, Director, Thought Leadership & Innovation, comes to Spiro with years of experience creating, executing, and advising marketing, PR and content strategies for organizations of all sizes to deliver high-value returns. Beki’s background sets her up to show the world how Spiro is tapping into macro-trends and changing human needs to create cutting-edge experiences and lead the way forward in the NEW NOW™.

Profile Photo of Beki Winchel