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Discovering opportunity in the difficulty: Using data to uncover opportunities for innovation with Power BI

As the dark cloud of COVID-19 looks sure to loom over business activity for a long while yet, there is one silver lining that should give hope to every organisation – times of crisis breeds innovation. South Sydney microbrewery, One Drop, provides the perfect example – these guys represent the mindset needed to discover and capitalise on opportunity in our current difficulty.

Discovering opportunity in the difficulty: Using data to uncover opportunities for innovation with Power BI

Facing a shutdown of bars and restaurants in Australia, One Drop quickly capitalised on a rule change by Australia's medicines regulator, which allowed the small brewery to temporarily pivot away from the craft beer market, to produce hospital-grade hand sanitiser. By repurposing their brewing tanks and expertise, One Drop was not only able to generate a new source of income, but they have also created immense brand value by supporting rural hospitals and aged care homes in a time of need.

One Drop will presumably revert to brewing their award-winning beer at some point, but for now, they are creatively and profitably navigating the challenge in front of them.

Many businesses will not be presented with such opportune moments to reinvent themselves. But what is clear is that creativity loves constraints. There's no better time to get creative than when you're facing possible market meltdown – the mother of all constraints!

What's also heartening is that:

  1. in difficult times organisational behaviours adjust in a way that positively stimulates innovation; and
  2. we hold the cards to innovation – it's in our control and it stems from insights.

Creative problem-solving accelerates

Difficult times stimulate innovative thinking and doing by compelling organisations to focus their resources, re-examine their operating environment, and take fast, decisive action.

Specifically, we see four shifts in organisational behaviour during a crisis that result in more fertile conditions for innovation than would otherwise be the case:

  1. We unite around a common purpose – Crises help to focus group energy and inspire problem-solving at all levels of the organisation. Often with a renewed sense of motivation, collaboration and urgency.
  2. We view our situation differently – A crisis puts organisational vulnerabilities directly in the spotlight. In good times we tend to paper over the cracks. In tough times we're forced to confront our shortcomings.
  3. We cut the red tape – Business-as-usual operations centre around predictability, efficiency and stability, typically at the cost of speed and agility. Standard process and accompanying bureaucracy are commonly parked in a crisis to make room for fresh thinking and approaches.
  4. We favour action – Crisis demands movement and change – the pace of ideation, decision making, and implementation must all increase dramatically to capitalise on new opportunities presented by the evolving situation.

The result is a more fluid business environment that favours creative problem solving to get the job done – there is nothing better than an existential threat to focus energies!

Innovation stems from insights

While challenging times might stimulate our problem-solving juices and reduce bureaucratic barriers, it is no secret that there is no set or straightforward formula for innovation – it's complex, multifaceted, and unsettlingly ambiguous.

What is certain, however, is that innovation stems from having a deep understanding of your business and your customers – or more correctly, from the insights that you can gain into the unmet needs of every customer.

Innovation comes from acquiring a new understanding of something that you don't already know or do.

And the journey starts by having three foundational capabilities in place to enable insight discovery:

  1. Get the data – We all know it: data is the new oil. Discovery of differentiated insights is dependent on having complete and accurate data sets. Establish organisational capability to systematically gather accurate data and make it accessible.
  2. Add the context – Data is worthless without context. With context, it becomes information. Contextualise data by transforming it into relevant, connected, point-in-time information.
  3. Enable the insight – Information alone is not insight. Insights are revealed by mining information. Deploy the right tools and skills to effectively analyse information and draw conclusions from what is known and unknown.

Revealing a new understanding of a complicated problem or situation starts with data and is enabled by having the right tools, knowledge and experience at hand.

Insights start with Power BI

Having the right tools in place to empower team members to discover insights hidden in your data is vital. Organisations that have invested in scalable, highly secure cloud-based data insights platforms have a distinct advantage at this time.

Those attempting to work remotely with legacy on-premise reporting systems or spreadsheet chaos are severely compromised. Their inability to keep a finger on the pulse of their business and customers undermines their ability to innovate, and effectively navigate market threats.

Thankfully, we can help you quickly close the gap and begin finding opportunity in the difficulty. In just ten days, our rapid deployment Jumpstart Power BI programme will have your business up and running with Microsoft Power BI – the world's leading data insights platform.

What's more, we can do it all remotely, and we can do it today – get in touch to get started.


This blog is part of the #ReimagineWork series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download our datasheets, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download our datasheets, click the banner #datareimagine

Posted by: Travis Barker, General Manager Market Development, Data & AI | 29 April 2020

Tags: Data Analytics, Data Insights, Dynamics 365, Customer insights, #datareimagine, COVID-19, #ReimagineWork

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