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Caution holding back Kiwi SMBs

Caution seems to be holding back New Zealand businesses from innovating, according to business consulting firm Grant Thornton, who says the biggest inhibiting factors facing Kiwi businesses is the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ and the subsequent risks and costs. 

In response, the company has launched an innovation service designed specifically to help mid-sized New Zealand organisations to grow.

The service, Ignite, was created using human-centred design methods and is being led by Melissa Jenner, head of design and innovation at Grant Thornton New Zealand.

Jenner says that in her previous role as director of Better by Design for NZTE, she witnessed first-hand the difficulty business owners have incorporating good design and innovation methods into their organisation.

“Innovation is hard because you are taking your organisation into the unknown,” she explains. “Ignite has been created to help organisations learn more about design, de-risk the innovation process and enable companies to gain valuable skills that are repeatable.”

Jenner adds, “With so much choice available to customers in an ever-changing global marketplace, in order to grow, companies must ensure their products and services are meaningful and relevant.”

Tim Downes, national managing partner at Grant Thornton expects this new service - which he says is the first innovation service offering from Grant Thornton globally – will greatly assist many mid-sized businesses in New Zealand.

“For many CEOs, investing in design and innovation can sometimes be perceived as high risk,” he says.

“True design unlocks better thinking, better insights, better products and services and better customer experiences.

“To quote the late Steve Jobs, ‘Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works’ ”.

Ignite is implemented through a series of creative, collaborative and fast paced workshops.

“Working as a team, ideas are first validated using a desirability, viability and feasibility lens,” Jenner says. “We then design the execution plan using a combination of human-centred design and strategic planning techniques”.

Jenner says the company believes Ignite is a unique offering for mid-sized businesses in New Zealand.

“It brings together global best-practice design methodologies with strong business analytics,” she explains. “The tools we have created can be applied to a specific growth opportunity our clients are facing, bringing both immediate and lasting value.”