This week we catch up with Megan Fisher, an advisor for Industry Engagement to EnergyLab - Australia’s leading hub, connector and accelerator of new businesses and technological initiatives aiming to move Australia and the world toward 100% clean energy solutions. She is a product developer from way back and has loads of experience sponsoring and leading large innovations and digital transformations that are product, people, process and technology focused.
Megan has experienced a number of industries in the midst of transformation and disruption including print media being disrupted digital and the transition to digital and renewable technologies in the energy industry. She enjoys working with startups and has mentored and supported startups through the CSIRO ON Program, EnergyLab, Free Electrons, startupbootcamp and SheEO.
Q. What are the common mistakes businesses make when attempting to innovate?
A. There are many things that can go wrong when innovating - it’s not easy. But let’s start at the beginning - ensuring that the reason for innovation is tied to an organisations strategic goals is the very first step. This gives you a strong “why” and is essential to help break down any barriers that may arise during the process. Without a great “why" it can be easy to kill off an innovation the first time something doesn’t go to plan.
Q. What is the first thing a business needs to do if it wants to become innovative?
A. Understand that being innovative is not something that can be changed quickly - sustainable innovation is a capability made up of people, processes and systems it’s not a switch that can be turned on overnight. Start by understanding where you are with your innovation capability and where you need to be in the next 6 months, 1 year and 3 years to achieve your goals. There are a number of frameworks and questionnaires that can help you make this assessment and track your progress over time. I would also add to ensure you have the right people in place with the right sponsorship to help you on your innovation journey.
Q. What can small businesses learn from big businesses about innovation?
A. I think small businesses can learn some of the tools that big business use to help support innovation such as design thinking while big business can learn from small businesses how to do something on a tight budget and how to make decisions quickly. They can learn from each other.
Q. What should your number one goal be when tackling an innovation project?
A. It would be easy to rattle off things like to learn, to grow, to collaborate to create the next unicorn. However, there is no universal innovation goal each innovation project should have its very own goal and everyone in the team should be clear on the goal when the innovation project is started - otherwise how will you even know if you’ve been successful.
Q. What does the term innovation mean to you?
A. Innovation means lots of things to lots of different people for me innovation is at its best when it’s about tackling a large opportunity or a challenge that hasn’t been solved before. But I also think it’s really important to find innovation opportunities in the things that get done every day. Think about how you could change something small to make this process, system or product better - changing everyday things is a great way to get started on your innovation journey.