Innovation Slump? Use These Three Tips to Bring the Magic Back

“The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.” – Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company

Companies of all sizes, from microbusiness to global corporations, must continuously look for innovative ways to grow, meet customer needs, and capture top talent. In fact, a survey by PWC found that “93% of business executives believe that organic growth through innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth.”

To be truly innovative, companies need to remove the busy work that can get in the way of their employees’ inspiration. Financial visibility and spend management are two areas that if managed well, can support the time for innovation. Does your organization have what it takes?


1. Let technology clear the way

How can your staff be innovative with a stack of expense reports, receipts, and paper invoices to slog through?  While cloud computing and mobile technology is on the rise, 55% of small business owners feel their current technology solutions are actually “a hindrance to incorporating or adopting new technologies.”

Don’t let bad technology or manual processes get in the way of your mission critical efforts. Oftentimes, making the leap from manual to automated processes is where many businesses struggle. Take expense reports as an example. The current way (manual) of doing things may seem to be working. But, as the company grows and more employees are hired, using spreadsheets and paper receipts gets out of control quickly. Not only does the review and approval process slow your team down, but also reporting on spending becomes too cumbersome to consider.

Implementing automation programs now will make a smoother transition when your growth trajectory spirals upwards. Choosing the right system starts with understanding the long-term goals of your organization. Implementing the latest trend or quickest fix often will not stand the test of time. Take the initiative now to find solutions from a technology partner who is innovative and offers products that will grow with your organization. And your creative thinkers will be able to get back to what they do best.


2. Know your financials

Getting insight into your full financial picture provides much needed information for making strategic decisions. When was the last time you had a 360-degree view of your budget that includes both spending before and after it happens? Do you have a good handle on financial leaks (fraud and compliance)? Knowing your big picture financials will make you feel comfortable taking those leaps toward what could be the next big opportunity.

According to a recent Forbes article, 5 Strategies Big Businesses Use To Build A Culture of Innovation, companies fail their employees by “investing in innovation programs to bring in new ideas, but not giving individuals the tools or frameworks to show why those ideas are worthwhile.” Financial reporting comes to play here, being able to look at the full spend view – employee expenses, travel costs, and vendor costs – to understand the viability and impact of an idea. Full financial visibility means quicker, better decisions so you can jump on that next opportunity before it’s gone.


3. Check your environment (it’s about more than foosball)

We like a good game of foosball as much as the next person, but innovation is not built on pool tables, free snacks, and cool office designs. While those are nice perks to have, they aren’t what creates a truly innovative environment. Employees need to feel safe and empowered to take risks, try new things, and to fail, as best explained by Entrepreneur author, Johan Hanekom:


Employees need to feel independent enough to own their innovative thinking and to pursue the ideas they are passionate about. In fact, if management effectively fosters a creative and open environment, innovation will happen naturally. 


Ensure your working environment is giving employees the freedom they need to be creative and forward thinking. The last thing they need to think about is filling out an expense report, managing paper invoices, or searching the internet for the cheapest plane ticket.


Learn more about the future of spend management

Take advantage of the present to prepare your business for the future. At SAP Concur, we are constantly improving upon our current solutions to provide our clients with the best possible technology for today and tomorrow.

Ready to learn more? Join our on-demand webinar, Future-proof spend management tools for your business. Get a sneak peek of the future of travel, expense, and accounts payable management and find out about our latest innovations: Concur Hipmunk, Concur Budget, Concur Drive, and Concur Detect.

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