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Mikel Barandiaran for Innobasque: 'Living outside the box'

30 / 04 / 2021

The Basque Innovation Agency publishes this article by Mikel Barandiaran, CEO of DOMINION

"Innovation" is probably one of the most hackneyed terms of our time. For decades we have heard companies speak of innovation as a mantra that would guarantee competitiveness, often accompanied by large investments in technology that, in most cases, do not return in measurable improvements, in business results or in process efficiency.

There is no single way to define innovation, just as there is no single formula to apply it successfully. The companies that have traditionally dominated the markets have mostly applied incremental innovation, through the gradual improvement of their products and services to increase their competitiveness, or evolutionary innovation, expanding their offer and evolving to enter new markets and customers.

Others have gone further. The big references we are looking at these days are companies that have applied disruptive innovation. They have changed the paradigm of their sector by introducing a new process, product or service that has revolutionized the market, not so much because of its technology, but because they either provide an innovative solution that anticipates the needs of companies and consumers, or offer a different answer to a known problem. Those are the cases of Apple, Uber or Amazon, among many others, which have changed the rules of the game and have overcome the sector leaders.

And this is precisely where one of the keys to innovation lies: business strength should not lead to immobility. It is necessary to maintain a flexible, courageous and creative structure, capable of anticipating new opportunities even if this means leaving our traditional business behind and surveying an unknown landscape.

At DOMINION we were born closely linked to the telecommunications sector. A competitive and deflationary market that forced us to innovate in order to continue being profitable. After this we decided to transfer all our knowledge to other sectors, such as industrial or energy, providing a differential value in more traditional markets. And we didn't stop there. Our transversal vision of business made us position ourselves in the B2C environment applying the same principles of our B2B business. There will be those who consider that this decision is a somersault.

And so we come to another of the keys to innovation: having a team bold enough to undertake major changes. And we are not talking so much about the intrinsic capacities of each person, but about the breeding ground that we must create in the organization so that our teams feel capable of taking risks without fear of failure. A culture and an environment conducive to making mistakes, as long as we do so within the exploration of new opportunities and turn setbacks into learning.

For all this, if I had to define what innovation is for DOMINION, I would say that it is part of our culture, it is doing things differently without forgetting that technology is just a tool to achieve our goals. It is difficult to predict what activities we will carry out in the coming years. What is certain is that we will continue to bet on our differential vision based on our ability to innovate. Because, as the world advances, innovation is no longer based on thinking “outside the box”, but on living outside of it.

You can read the original article here

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