Is it time to redefine ‘innovation’?

Is it time to redefine ‘innovation’?

For good reason, ‘innovation’ is the term du jour of the accountancy sector.

The industry is increasingly embracing innovation, driven by the benefits of improved efficiency and accuracy through advancements, such as cloud storage and automations.

By simplifying routine tasks, reducing the risk of human error, and gaining deeper insights through data analytics, firms can grow like never before at every stage – from onboarding to client exits.

Ultimately, innovation is making the sector more dynamic and responsive to changes in legislation and client circumstances.

We view our onboarding solutions and approach to cloud architecture as innovative, as do our clients, but what does innovation within industry mean and how does it benefit real people working within accountancy firms and beyond?

How do we think about innovation?

We all have a concept of innovation in our heads, perhaps accompanied by images of vast operations of aerospace, manufacturing or chemical laboratories.

More broadly, it has been defined over and over again by individuals and institutions which have consistently led the world in scientific discovery or linguistics:

  • The Cambridge Dictionary: “A new idea or method; the creating and use of new ideas of methods.”
  • Merriam-Webster: “A new idea, method or device; the introduction of something new.”
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “The process of taking an idea from inception to impact.”
  • Bessant and Tidd, 2011: ‘Innovation is the process of translating ideas into useful – and used – new products, processes or services” – this definition is employed by the Open University in its Sustainable Innovations and Enterprises

Interestingly, MIT explicitly rejects the idea that innovation can refer to the outcome, stating: “In this definition, innovation is exclusively a process and not a technology or solution.”

What is clear is that several existing – and trusted – definitions of innovation focus on two things:

  • The product or solution itself
  • The process of creation

However, we take the approach that any innovation primarily used in industry, to be truly innovative, must be personal and address a real, person-centred need.

The Summa Tech approach to innovation

We aren’t working across grand scales on the frontier of space exploration or a medical breakthrough, but we are still able to deliver meaningful change to the professional lives of our clients.

Take our onboarding solution as an example. We started developing it based on needs that we had observed within the industry, and that set our innovation on a specific path to meet those needs.

As a result of this person-centred approach, we were able to create a solution that addresses the key concerns of those who use it, including:

  • Time – Automated tasks and enhanced accuracy reduce the time it takes to onboard a client and gives accountants back time to focus on other areas.
  • Security – Secure and accurate data storage prevents confusion down the line and any data leaks.
  • Efficiency – Onboarding can be a complex process, so streamlining it enhances compliance and the overall time taken.

Ultimately, this helps our users to achieve a wider goal of enhancing client relationships by delivering a smooth onboarding experience from the very start.

This focus on people and their needs should be incorporated into other standard definitions of innovation in order for us all to know why we invest in and commit to innovative work.

We do it not only because we can, but because we should, to deliver a better experience to real people with tangible requirements and goals.

Want to learn more about our innovations? Contact us today.

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