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MGMT20132 Innovation and Sustainable Business Development, Central Queensland University, Australia

Innovation Strategies

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Executive summary: Innovation strategy is an indispensible part of any organization's general business strategies. It is important to give insight conditions prevailing in the organization along with their strategies of innovation to modify and improvise its business outcomes. Usually, the first step towards any innovation by any business organization is the results of some innovation strategy. Different organizations have come up with different innovation strategies. In this report, the organizational environment and its factors have been briefed. Further, innovation trend, innovation strategies, and innovation capabilities have been described. An attempt has been made to understand the correlation between the innovation strategy of an organization and its impact in the advancement of the business organization in context of Amazon, the largest portal for online shopping. The concept of ‘Design-thinking' as a tool of innovation has been discussed. Some ideas to improvise the innovations have been proposed. The study concludes with some strategies the business organizations can further implement to organize its innovation activities and modify their innovation initiatives as well so that it creates and captures more value.

Introduction: The term Innovation may be defined as the act of introducing something new resulting from extensive study and experimentation.

‘Design-Thinking' is an innovation strategy that is incorporated by a large fraction of business organizations today. It is a system of methods followed to give solvent-based actions and ideas to problem solving.

Founded in 1995 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon is a very familiar name today. Making it mark in the world of online shopping portals, Amazon is the one of the chief hubs renowned for its huge and versatile range of commodities. Starting from books, Amazon has expanded its sale to fashion and apparel, home and furniture, electronics and many more. This report gives a critical review on the impact of the advancement of ‘Design-Thinking' in context of Amazon.

1. Select a business impacted by the advances of 'design thinking' movement as described in the paper by Liedtka (2018) or impacted by the advances of 'lean startup' movement as described in the paper by Blank (2013).

2. Succinctly introduce the selected organisation and selected innovation trend.

3. Succinctly define the following concepts and their relationships: the organisational environment, innovation trend, innovation strategy, innovation capabilities, innovation value creation and capture.

Answer: Discussion

Organizational Environment: An organizational environment has several key constituents that are dominating around the organization. These constituents have direct impact on the productivity, workers' performance, management operations, and usage of resources (Theodosiou, et al.2018) It is very important for the manager of an organization to understand its environment because:

• It facilitates the manager to detect the direction of their progress and help determining their further actions.

• It helps the managers to anticipate about crisis.

• It helps in determining organizational goals.

There are two different types of organizational environment, namely,

The external organizational environment- This focuses on extrinsic factors like- threats from competitors, satisfaction of the clients, socio-economic and political aspects etc.

The internal organizational environment- This takes into consideration several intrinsic factors of the organization like- the organizational culture, board of trustees, reputation of the organization etc.

Amazon has an organizational environment that helps them to render positive response in the huge market of e-commerce. It has managed to maintain its reputation in the market that has given it many recurring customers. Encouraging innovations and brand coactions has paved its way to success.

Innovation Trend: Innovation trend is one of the indispensible parts of any organization's business strategy. The success of any organization largely depends upon the innovation trends it adheres to (Gassmann, Frankenberger, and Csik 2016). Some innovation trends that is becoming increasingly popular in the business world are-

• Looking for the answers to complicated problems in unrelated business platforms.

• Taking inspiration from non-parallel business industries.

• Encouraging customer feedback for taking business decisions.

Innovation is one of the chief determining factors for economic profit and position of the organization in the cutthroat world of competition. Innovation trends will attract more customers and thus will secure the position of the organization and stabilize its reputation in the market. The threat from competitors will also diminish as the organizations keep coming up with innovations frequently.

Amazon came up with extra ordinary innovation trends to win the hearts of its customers. Individualized experience for customers, speedy delivery within two days and hassle-free ordering of products and services in a click are some of their best innovation trends that took over their global market.

Innovation Strategy: Innovation strategy is another indispensible part of any organization's general business strategies. Usually, the first step towards any innovation by any business organization is the results of some innovation strategy (Vanhaverbeke, Roijakkers, and Chesbrough, 2017). It is important to give insight conditions prevailing in the organization along with their strategies of innovation to modify and improvise its business outcomes. 

Undoubtedly, Amazon has brought a revolution in the way customers look for or buy a product. Creating a perfect blend of science, technology, and service, it has given birth to a fresh new outlook to the consumer culture. Changing the panorama of e-commerce while improvising the experience of online shopping for customers, the innovation strategies of Amazon has certainly come up a long way.

• Introduction to voice search - Letting go of input devices while adapting to the era of unbound devices was pioneered with the introduction of Alexa, Amazon's voice search tool.

• Introduction to digital reading - Reading became a fascinating experience for readers as Amazon-Kindle came into the market (Prajogo, 2016). Digitalization of the written format of books made reading an easy and convenient experience.

• Online Product review - Encouraging customers to share their experience on their purchased items and reviewing them brought a significant difference in the decision making process of the customers. This strategy by Amazon made them the most frequent visited site for searching of products.

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Innovation Capability: The capability of a business organization that is related to production of new services and products is known as innovation capability (Whang et al 2017). It is the non-stop capability to convert ideas, concepts, and knowledge into procedures and systems, which would be beneficial for the business organization and its shareholders. It is not starting up a new business or managing an existing business. It is more about bringing these two parameters closer. Here are some of the innovations capabilities that Amazon made use of in order to ensure its sustainability in the global market-

• Introducing a seamless and streamlined shopping experience to the consumers.

• Customizable product options attracted a huge fraction of new customers while the existing customers enjoyed the new feature as well.

• Stepping into other industries by Amazon offers its customers a myriad range of products and services. Amazon is pretty much the one-step destination of everything for its customers.

• Prioritizing the customers before anything. They regularly conduct survey and ask feedback of the customers to make their experiences better.

• Continuous urge to improve and emerge.

Innovation value creation and capture:

Value creation is the result of the constant innovation strategies that is implemented by a business organization. The creation of value can have several types, which are in turn related to the values of the consumers on a particular product. However, the business organizations do not solely focus on value creation. Rather, proper implementation of the value is their major concern. The created value captured can be divided into five different classes:

• Technological

• Organizational

• Rational

• Trade

• Branding rents

Amazon does not think ideas as mere ideas. They think it to be an asset. It also takes into account customer approved methods for taking decisions regarding business matters.

From the above discussion, it is clear that the innovation trend, strategies, and capabilities are closely related with each other. In order to create successful value and generate revenue business organizations must study and analyze the markets with incorporation of innovation strategies. None of the above -mentioned concepts could do the job alone. It should be homogeneously blended in a practical and logical way to create a positive and effective relationship. This will help the organizations to reach their desired goal and reputation in the market.

4. Succinctly describe how the creation of an innovation strategy ensures strategic alignment within organisations and why it is important.

5. Analyse the impact of the selected innovation trend on the selected organisation. You should apply at least one strategy tool to analyse the impact, opportunities and threats to the organisation. Use the business model canvas by Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010) to support your analysis and argumentation.

6. Recommend how the organisation's innovation strategy best responds to the innovation trend by answering the following questions.

• How should the organisation organise its innovation activities?

• What additional innovation capabilities should the organisation develop?

• What innovation initiatives should it pursue?

• How should the organisation ensure that it creates and captures value from the innovation?

7. Recommend how the organisation best ensures strategic alignment to address the innovation trend.

Answer: In simple words, strategic alignment is the coordination of innovation strategy with the overall business strategy, goals, objectives, and resources. A business organization with an organized strategic alignment has an immense positive effect on performance of the individual employees of the organization. It is quite evident that, workers can perform better when they have good coordination with each other, understand what and why they are working for and accept and appreciate the goal that the organization is striving for (Levick and Hanson,2015). They are motivated to enhance their performance when they can personally align themselves to the goal.

On the contrary, a poor strategic alignment is one of the primary reasons for the breakdown of the organization. It happens when the organizations lose their focus from their desired goals and the reason to strive harder. It might be due o the reason of myriad diversification within the workers or lose of motivation within the workers. This results in breakdown in the performance of the firm, leading to lose of trust from the clients.

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Design Thinking: Design thinking is a humankind-based tool used for problem solving. This tool is very beneficial when it comes to handling complicated problems faced by any business organization (Osborne, et al.2018). It considers the humanitarian grounds involving the issue, re-shapes the situation, and gives birth to new ideas( Dyck, and Silvestre 2018). It allows expansion of knowledge largely. This concept focuses on the root cause of the problem and tries to find the solution within.

There are five-stages of design thinking:

• The first stage involves an emphasized insight to the crisis that is to be considered. Observation and involvement with the target issue is utmost important here in order to develop an intimate connection.

• The second stage is to gather and study all the collected information in order to define and understand the core of the issue. However, the humanitarian grounds should be taken into consideration. In addition, new opportunities of innovation are also rediscovered here (Huq and Gilbert, 2017).

• The third stage involves the generation of ideas. The demand of the users is understood and solution-approaches are suggested as per the previous analysis. All concepts and ideas are encouraged at this phase. No restrictions are put here (Geissdoerfer, Bocken and. Hultink, 2016).

• The proposed solution is outlined with a suitable prototype.

• Testing of the solution is done.

The principle mindset that drives ‘Design thinking' is listed below:

• The vision for future is important for coming up with new innovative ideas.

• Obtaining inspiration from wherever possible.

• Encouraging feedbacks and positive acceptance of criticism.

• Practical visualization of the concept that is running in the head.

• Accepting failures.

Amazon, being the largest online shopping portal, undoubtedly implemented several innovations strategies and tools in order to flourish their business. The source of Amazon's strength lies on the meticulous strategies to manage cost, differentiation, and focus. A wide variety of products and merchandises with a price tag that is affordable to all, with a seamless and hassle-free shopping experience has helped Amazon to retain its existing customers (Tantalo and Priem, 2016). Moreover, Amazon's venture into other industries popularized them further and added a huge number of new customers in the recent years. Their speedy two -day delivery policy and brilliant logistics facilities show that they understand the need of their customers. This helped them to maintain their reputation in the global market. However, there are some weaknesses of their business policies as well (Aziz, and Curlee,2017). Amazon offers zero shipping charge to its customers. While this might sound lucrative and attract a lot of customers, it might lose its share of profit in this policy. This business policy of almost zero margins can cause severe hindrance in the profitability of the organization in the end ( Luchs,2015). Coming to the threats in the success story of Amazon -the increasing panic and wide spread concern over online shopping that is primarily due to identity theft and hacking (Liedtka, 2015). In such cases, the consumer data is often exposed. This is a matter of serious concern as hacking and other cyber crimes are increasing at an alarming rate today. Therefore, Amazon has to ensure that online privacy of the customers and security is guarded. Amazon might suffer threat from local retailers as well (Contu,2017). Amazon must take into account local market conditions as well and not just into global market strategy.

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Conclusion: Innovation strategy is an indispensible part of any organization's general business strategies. Usually, the first step towards any innovation by any business organization is the results of some innovation strategy. Different organizations have come up with different innovation strategies. Proper implementation of innovation tools and innovation strategies can help business organizations grow and earn more profits. The ‘design-Thinking' technique is one of the new tools in the market. If it is used properly, it can be very beneficial for the industry.

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