No matter how successful an association, these questions will always reveal performance gaps. Innovators find solutions to answer them, while traditionalists find reasons not to. The mindset that says there is always room to improve, creates a cycle for success.
No individual organisation can control every threat, but each association can prepare its own ‘response-ability’ to tackle disruption and manage the inherent risk in innovation. There are no guarantees. However the downside risk of not innovating is far greater. Asking stakeholders what they need, investing a manageable amount of resources, and knowing when to pull the plug make innovation a little less scary for traditionalists. The idea is to consult widely, begin small and fail fast if necessary.
Ranked by The Wall Street Journal as the world’s most influential business thinker, Gary Hamel has this to say about innovation: ‘It’s the only insurance against irrelevance. It’s the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. It’s the only strategy for out-performing a dismal economy’.
Business as usual is over. Associations must innovate to deliver the contemporary products and services that the market now demands. They must innovate to tackle disruption, to create and communicate clarity in purpose, to optimise board governance structure, to grow members and revenue, to streamline internal systems and to accelerate future progress.
Tradition acknowledges the achievements of the past, while innovation creates new successes for the future.