There is widespread panic across the world. A looming breakdown of global economy has made us all sit up in anxiety.

But don’t make a mistake by thinking it might be the end of the world. It probably is not.

But, again, don’t make a mistake by thinking it won’t be. It just doesn’t have to.

If the tough get going when the going gets tough, here is the situation that is going to be tough for the tough to get going.

Buyers are going to demand higher value and more delight and organizations are going to have to fight hard to provide even a crucially marginal, higher value and delight.

As we go into the next few quarters, organizations across the world will need to search harder and harder to find means to achieve that, and to be able to retain customers and resist competition.

And one thing is certainly going to be a definite help to all market players – the ability to innovate to find ways to deliver that extra delight and that extra value to the customer.

The kind that helps derive a crucial differentiation from competition.

From a recent research, Forrester reports that about 93% of senior business executives in a survey considered innovation as a top strategic priority. Forrester finds that there is a definite desire in making innovation a continuous need rather than a series of spurts addressing ad hoc demands. And if you need further substantiation to this, a growing market for Innovation management tools must say something.

So, no matter what kind of an organization you are – a manufacturer, a retailer, an insurance company, a bank, or even an IT company – innovation is going to be the most important aspect of the cast you lay today for your future.

IT service providers have it harder, especially those from India. Traditionally most India based IT service providers have been riding on the dual proposition of cost arbitrage and ability to deliver quality. And so while delivering that to the best of our ability, we gradually slipped into becoming what I’d like to call the Reactive-State Service Provider.

By Reactive-State Service Provider I do not mean selling efforts are reactive. What I mean is a state when the service provider tends to limit its vision to delivering what is being defined. It is a state where one tends to execute instructions. “Tell us what to do, and we’ll do it better and cheaper than the others”. This is something I had posted about earlier too (click)

And for all these years most of us have worn the hat with such earnest, that it now does not come off easily when you want to transform into a thinking-doing provider – to an Active-State Service Provider – one whose mind is actively and constantly connected to the pulse of the customer’s business, situations, environment, challenges, opportunities, thinking “how can we address that, what is the smartest way to deal with that? What can we do to give the customer value, benefit, saving, optimization….”

Let me emphasize again that this state is does not concern only the sales team. The entire customer engagement and delivery engine has to collectively achieve this state to make a radical difference in approach and sow the seeds of change and innovation.

For only with that will come the next level of transformation to a Proactive-State where you are continuously indulging in Possibility Thinking. All minds resonating with the same frequency of thinking, ‘What else can we do to make it better, smarter, quicker? What else? What else?’

And so, when the market demands a service provider that’s nimble and agile and is able to address business concerns of customers – who are facing challenges themselves – those service providers in the Active and Proactive states will be best in a position to respond effectively.

And so we are back to the question that I think is the most important of all.

Do you have innovation built into your blood? Will you be Passive, Active or Reactive?

It’s really a matter of choice. A crucial choice.

What kind of a service provider are you? Passive, Active or Proactive?


  1. vishal November 7, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I think its not easy to say that from today, the world needs innovation hence I am going to try to start innovating…doesnt happen, a company is what it is, if its go getter from the start, like google for instance, it will continue to be…if the service provider is reactive…just take things as it comes, dont make an extra effort, then nothing can change it overnite…the problem is that this financial crisis is so deep and the churn is so high that its going to eat up anybody whether its an innovating company or non, look at Lehman, Wachovia, AIG, Merril Lynch…Ford, AMEX, all cutting jobs…so there really is no easy solution to this problem…thats what i think

  2. Jaisundar November 23, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    @Vishal: Very true. True capability to be an innovative company is a DNA level ability. And I agree with you to an extent that it cannot happen overnight. To be sure, this transformation I am talking about is not something to be taken light. Tough markets demand tough measures and big changes. And this certainly requires DNA level change and the will and buy-in of Everyone that can make a differnece. Im not sure if you have heard of this company called Goldcorp – it is an incredible example of innovation led transformation. Take a look at this link (click)

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