Building Innovation in Telecommunications Operator Groups

The world has seen a lot of changes in recent years thanks to latest development in technology and other reasons. The business or corporate sector has especially been affected by these and telecommunication industry is no different where old models are breaking quickly than new ones can be put in place. In fact, companies find it challenging to grow through innovation and try to resist the change instead of embracing it.

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Following is a brief summary of the webinar, “Building Innovation in Telecommunications Operator Groups” by Mr. David Tusa. In this webinar, David discusses characteristics of highly successful and innovative companies, what innovation strategies other companies can use to compete with them and what are the critical next steps.

Why it is Challenging for Companies to Grow through Innovation?
As discussed above, companies find it challenging to grow through innovation. In this regard, it is important to mention two entirely different growth models that are Incremental Growth and Growth through Innovation available to the companies. Each of these models offers different benefits and challenges to the companies who adopt them. Following illustration explains the differences between both models explicitly.


According to a recent study, there are actually four barriers which prevent organisations to be innovative and creative. These barriers are as under.

  • Traditional organisational structure and rigidity discourages innovation.
  • The focus of the organisations is usually divided among many lines of business and markets.
  • Performance measurement mechanisms focus on the current business and short- term results.
  • Typical reward process discourages employees to take risks.

As a result, many companies limit themselves to just having revolutionary ideas but never implement them. Subsequently, they fail to compete with the companies who are more innovative and lag behind in the market, Nokia being typical example.

Characteristics of Highly Innovative Companies:
Experts working in various industries have identified five major characteristics of highly innovative companies.

  • Leadership that is CEOs of such organisations play their active part in creating innovative culture and to formulate coherent strategy and alight it with organisation’s goals and objectives.
  • Many companies still focus on both technology pull and market push but innovative companies creates disruptive market-technology linkage.
  • Innovative companies focus on accessing knowledge through global networking.
  • These companies have access to boundless knowledge yet they partner with other innovative companies to create better products.
  • They spend money in the right areas as well.

Innovation Models and Strategies Available to Telecom Operators:
In the context of above discussion, telecom operators can choose from three distinctive innovation models or strategies.

  • Need Seekers:
    As the name suggests, these companies consistently strive to be first movers and proactively engage customers to determine needs and shape new innovations.
  • Market Readers:
    These companies adopt a 2nd mover strategy which focuses on driving value through incremental change.
  • Tech Drivers:
    Tech driver are the organisations which innovate via technological achievement while leveraging technology for both incremental and breakthrough change.
    It is also pertinent to note that each set of innovation models has distinct set of cultural attributes and innovation goals as explained by the following illustration.



Finally, experts are of the opinion that it is most suitable for telecom operators to adopt a Need Seeker innovation model. However, the most important step for them is to take action and a first step towards the right direction. For that matter, they have to refine their innovation strategy and expectations. The second step is to experiment with new strategy before actually implementing it. Lastly, they need to track the progress of innovation and measures its impacts on the organisation to ensure transition to a steady state of growth and success.


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