A culture of innovation fuels business resilience and economic recovery

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –As Sri Lanka continues to deal with the recent surge of COVID-19 infections, 74% of organizations in Asia Pacific say that innovation is now a ‘must’ for them to respond quickly to market challenges and opportunities, and ensure business resilience.

Leveraging their ability to innovate, leaders proved to be more resilient and able to recover faster. Almost half of them believe that they will recover from the pandemic in six months or less. In fact, 50% more leaders, as compared with the rest of the organizations surveyed, expect an increase in their revenue, and one in three of them expect to increase their market share despite the crisis.

These findings were released by Microsoft in its latest study with IDC Asia Pacific, which surveyed 3,312 business decision-makers and 3,495 workers across 15 markets in Asia Pacific within a six-month period, before and since COVID-19. Titled “Culture of Innovation: Foundation for business resilience and economic recovery in Asia Pacific”, it uncovered how organizations can successfully fuel business resilience and performance through innovation.

The study also introduced the culture of innovation framework, which spans the dimensions of people, process, data, and technology, to assess organizations’ approach to innovation. It also provides guidance to help organizations progress to the mature stage and respond to challenges and recover faster, to improve their performance.

Assessing organizational maturity for culture of innovation

The culture of innovation maturity framework captures organizations’ approach to innovation. Through the research, organizations’ performance was mapped against four dimensions (people, processes, data, and technology), with organizations grouped in four stages – traditionalist (stage 1), novice (stage 2), adaptor (stage 3), and leaders (stage 4). Leaders comprise of organizations that are the most mature in building a culture of innovation.

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The study found that in the span of six months, organizations in Asia Pacific have matured in the culture of innovation by 11%, an indication that they have increased their ability to innovate. Since COVID-19, the study also found a drop in leaders (68% to 36%) and other organizations (74% to 54%) that find innovation to be hard.

The faster pace of digitization is also key to building stronger organizations. The study found that 87% of leaders will speed up digitization by launching initiatives including digital products, payments, and e-commerce, as compared to 67% of other organizations, in response to the new reality.

Leaders ahead of the curve; Azure’s capacity to drive innovation during the pandemic

Amidst the pandemic, ride-hailing company PickMe experienced a surge in business and app users which led to server downtime and extended passenger wait times. By tapping into Microsoft Azure, the company gained real-time intelligence across its operations allowing them to maximize driver benefits, minimize passenger wait times, and improve the PickMe experience for customers.
The Colombo Tea e-Auction platform developed by CICRA Solutions also leverages Microsoft Azure. The platform was built to safeguard a 150-year-old industry and protect the livelihoods of almost two million people. The platform was recently selected as Sri Lanka’s Best National Digital Solution for the World Summit Awards 2020 under Business and Commerce (Innovative Services) category.
Following the recent surge in positive COVID-19 infections in Sri Lanka, Arimac Digital and ZILLIONe developed contact-tracing apps for organizations to improve business resilience and economic recovery. Both apps leverage Microsoft Azure.
Azure is the cloud platform that underpins all of Microsoft’s cloud services, including Microsoft Teams. Before COVID-19, insurance company AIA Sri Lanka deployed Microsoft Teams to enable seamless engagement and operational efficiency. The company experienced little to no disruption during the pandemic because they had the systems in place to ensure business continuity and workplace preparedness. Microsoft Teams is also helping the governing body of the Maldives conduct virtual online parliamentary sessions thanks to Tech One Sanje as the country battles the COVID-19 outbreak.
These companies followed a process Microsoft calls tech intensity, where tools and technologies are utilized to invent unique digital solutions that would solve complex business and market issues. This would not only empower the business to be more agile in facing new market challenges but also move faster than their competitors.
Focus on people and technology

Of the culture of innovation dimensions, people and technology were revealed to be the two foremost priorities for organizations in the next 12 months.

Culture of innovation – formula for business resilience and faster economic recovery

Using the culture of innovation framework, the study revealed the best practices that organizations can adopt to progress across people, process, data, and technology. Specifically, organizations are encouraged to: (1) Fortify resilience with technology, (2) Invest in people’s capabilities and skills, (3) Leverage data to increase competitiveness, and (4) Redesign processes to empower people to continuously drive innovation.
“To succeed in the new normal and drive digital transformation, we not only need to have a robust digital foundation, we also need to ensure our people have the right skills and tools to work together to drive disruption,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Ultimately, we want to ensure a more resilient and inclusive future for all organizations. At Microsoft, we are committed to working with organizations in Sri Lanka to make this happen, together.”

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