Comment: Innovation is not a choice, it’s what you need to do

Comment: Innovation is not a choice, it’s what you need to do

Jonathan Greensted, business development director at software design company Zolv, stresses the importance of innovation

On the face of it, innovation is about coming up with new ideas. That makes it sound like innovation is a choice.

In reality, innovation is occurring all around us, all the time. It’s ordinary people who are the innovators.

Customers are creating new demands and opportunities by changing their behaviour, expectations and standards.

When companies innovate, they are responding to these changes. Take devices, for example. Customers now have a growing range of ways they can interact with travel companies, the media and each other, with smartphones, tablets like the iPad, connected TVs and games consoles.

Interacting with the web is no longer a matter of sitting at a PC, it is woven into our lifestyles. This is driving travel companies to become more interactive.

Content needs to be refreshed more often and be more topical. It has to be tailored for the accessing device. Users have to be recognised across different channels and given a warm welcome.

Commercial innovation needs to focus on appropriate methods for progressing sales opportunities across these different touchpoints. It’s not about developing whizzy websites for their own sake; the aim is to grasp new ways to interact and profit from them.

Just as new devices are changing the way messages are consumed, so new technologies are changing the way we can deliver messages.

There are many sound business reasons for using cloud computing platforms but one of the strongest is the cloud’s flexibility. Cloud gives you the power to scale IT up and down at will, without further investment, and guarantees a seamless customer experience on the busiest days.

Companies should no longer feel inhibited by the need to stimulate or dampen demand in line with their technical capacity. Instead they can focus on business drivers, secure in the knowledge that IT will be available on a utility basis.

The rise of social media marks a shift in how people relate to each other. It is also a new means of developing relationships and growing value. Companies need to be involved. Transactions are the goal, but relationships are the game.

The big message of these changes is that travel players need to get better at creating timely, meaningful propositions. Yes, product quality and brand values are important. But direct connection with individuals is the way to boost profit.

At Zolv we’re innovating because our clients recognise the huge opportunities generated by behavioural change. And we’re listening closely to what clients tell us about their ambitions, and using technology to meet those needs. This is innovation – and that’s what we do.

Zolv is a specialist website developer working across multiple technologies. Innovation in travel is covered in depth in the Travolution Innovation Report, out this month.

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