To gain – and retain – competitive advantage, enterprises are increasingly tapping their Global Business Services (GBS) centers to build innovative, future-ready capabilities.
But what are the characteristics of truly innovative GBS organizations? What sets a small handful of GBS groups – those that we call Pinnacle organizations – apart from the rest? How have they succeeded in generating innovation-oriented business outcomes? To find out, we analyzed 51 GBS centers across diverse industries and geographies.
In this blog, we share a few of these world-class GBS organizations’ distinguishing characteristics. You can find the complete analysis in the full report, Innovation in GBS | Pinnacle Model™ Analysis.
Recalibrated talent strategy with a special emphasis on developing a culture of innovation
As part of their talent management strategies, Pinnacle GBS centers:
- Invest significantly in upskilling/reskilling programs for their teams
- Strongly emphasize education and awareness of innovation’s capabilities and benefits
- Leverage multiple levers to foster an innovation culture and mindset among their employees
- Recognize highly innovative employees/teams with non-financial rewards
- Promote a spirit of intrapreneurship to give employees ownership of their innovation ideas
- Conduct innovation talks, ideathons, and hackathons to help embed an innovation culture throughout the group
One example we found in the course of our research was a leading electronics, hi-tech, and technology GBS center that has trained about 40 of its employees to work as in-house intrapreneurs responsible for driving and owning their own innovation ideas. This approach not only sends a strong message about the important role innovation plays in the center, but also helps institute a start-up culture and make the workforce more agile and lean.
Proactive proofs of concept and solutions
Pinnacle GBS organizations have recognized that proactively creating their own proofs of concept (POCs) and innovation solutions is one of the vital ways they can evolve from cost enablers to strategic partners, and gain buy-in from their parent companies to drive and support their innovation agendas. For example, one Pinnacle GBS center proactively initiated an innovation-themed accelerator program focused on social entrepreneurs as a part of its parent’s corporate social responsibility initiative. It leveraged this program to showcase its capability and gain buy-in from stakeholders within the parent organization to take a high degree of ownership over the corporate innovation program and drive the organization-wide innovation agenda. Today, the GBS center has significant ownership in the entire innovation journey – from ideation and concept testing to detailed design and development.
A dedicated innovation fund
Pinnacle GBS organizations have realized that a formal and dedicated innovation budget – rather than an ad-hoc or informal one – is essential to drive innovation and achieve long-term success. A dedicated fund introduces more structure to innovation initiatives and ensures that innovative ideas don’t get stuck in the pipeline but instead receive timely and necessary funding. For example, a leading financial services GBS center extensively leverages its centralized GBS innovation budget to drive innovation-focused upskilling and reskilling programs for its innovation workforce. Additionally, it utilizes this fund to drive innovation initiatives at the ideation stage. Then, as the idea progresses to the pilot and development stages, the business unit within the GBS center that owns the idea must generate the requisite funding from its BU-specific innovation fund to drive the idea further.
We’ll be taking a deep dive into our analysis on how Pinnacle GBS centers are building out their innovation capabilities in our May 7, 2020, webinar, How GBS Can Leverage Innovation to Prepare for the Economic Downturn. In it, we’ll discuss:
- The characteristics of Pinnacle GBS centers
- Why what they’ve achieved to date is just the tip of the innovation iceberg
- How they’re likely to build on their current foundation and penetrate deeper into their organizations with ever more complex and value-generating innovative solutions
- Popular myths – and debunking insights – surrounding innovation delivery from GBS centers
Please reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected] if you’d like insights on how your GBS organization’s innovation capabilities stack up against the competition, or want more information on the webinar. Click to register for the webinar.