Why do companies fail to do the basics well?

Quando a inovação está no simples


by Lucas Alves, Content Strategist at Questtonó Manyone

In the business world, just “being in the hype” doesn’t mean thriving – in fact, it’s never been more important to strive for simplicity and relevance. When everyone wants to be innovative, it’s time to rethink what defines success and ensure we’re meeting consumer expectations.

How about diving into the culture and customer experience to understand what delivers value and makes sense for consumers at all points of contact with the brand?

Can your business deliver the “basics done right” or are there loose ends that need to be fixed?

In this interview with our CCO Leo Massarelli, we seek to understand why companies have failed so much to do the basics while prioritizing other brand-related issues that do not necessarily translate into customer satisfaction.

We also took the opportunity to point out how a hybrid approach to design and strategy can ensure that this deliverable is met.

Arts: Nicole Rauen

1 – Within the context of innovation through design, what does it mean to do “the basics well?” 

Leo: This is a relatively antagonistic concept, because we are involved in the context of innovation, we are a company convinced that the world needs to move forward. However, we are also committed to impact and business, to making things happen and getting to the end in a consistent way.

Today we live in an accelerated context and it is difficult to decide what should be done. I realize that the innovation agenda for companies came in very truthfully, everyone is interested, but somehow people lose their grip a little. People try to innovate because they have to, but the business is so nebulous that they innovate everywhere.

Sometimes it is a telecom company that innovates in a festival experience, a bank that innovates for your pet, and in fact there is a day to day of dissatisfied customers, talking bad about the company on social media and leaving. For me, this is incompatible.

We do not say that innovation is not important, but there must be maturity in companies. They need to ask themselves, what am I doing today, my core, is it done right? If it is, I can move on. If not, wouldn’t it be better to try to solve this problem and then think about other questions?

2 – What does doing the basics well have to do with incremental innovation, which is linked to gradual improvements in existing products and processes?

That’s what it’s all about. Within the innovation universe, there is a lot of talk about disruptive innovation and people tend to look at incremental innovation with a sad face. My philosophy is that when you develop a series of incremental innovations, that set can become a big disruptive innovation down the road. A number of these innovations create an efficient and delightful experience, and that is disruptive.

So, what is it to be disruptive today? Often, being disruptive is doing the basics well. To be a company that promises and actually delivers. Disruptive is doing something well that delivers value to people, that they are passionate about your business. When everyone else goes to a place where you need to be full of sparkle, going back to the essence of getting it right is disruptive.

3 – And why do companies fail to do the basics well? What hinders them, or gets them lost along the way?

I think that, in a way, every business culture is driven to have news and be ahead. So the culture could very well value things that are meaningful and exciting. I have the impression that people are governed by the need for novelty at any cost, that it is necessary to be ahead of others. When I have this mindset, I cannot reflect on this novelty, its meaning and relevance, what it does or does not deliver, and how it is connected to my brand and my business in a broader way.

For example, there was a time when several companies thought “we must now do chatbots”. They tried to do it, launched it and many of them didn’t work. Wouldn’t it be better to calmly understand more the people you are serving?

Today we talk about the metaverse (which many people don’t even know exactly what it is) and everyone wants to be there, without knowing what it means or what it represents. At the same time, the core service, the company’s app doesn’t work, the support doesn’t work. As if being in the metaverse was the certificate that will make this feat remembered for posterity. I don’t think that works.

Doing the basics well is this antagonistic relationship between where we want to go and what we really deliver. When we talk about innovation, it has to bring relevance and meaning to people, otherwise it’s just fireworks.

4 – Just doing the “basics well” does not mean denying innovation and a vision of the future. How do you guarantee one without compromising the other?

We constantly deal with the future, the different and the new. It is no wonder that we work with companies that are global giants of what is now understood to be the metaverse, such as Magic Leap and Niantic. But we are thinking about the future not to launch the “next diner in the metaverse”. We are thinking ahead to build experiences that are meaningful and relevant.

Our commitment as an innovation company is not to do the most hype thing, or “anything that is new”. When we talk about customer experience, our banner is people and businesses, and how we deliver value to them. To get to that, we often have to look at the basics.

You can’t just have the flag of the future, you have to have the flag of reality. There is a lot in reality that needs to be improved and done well, and the small incremental innovations that we talked about make sense in this context.