Evading the comfort zone

Evading the comfort zone

There are many ways to spark innovation. Management experience has taught us to value conflicting views, to ask "Why, Why Not, and What If".

But besides corporate recipes for fostering innovation, there is a deeper level of understanding and action when looking for success-generating ideas. New, brilliant ideas emerge all the time, up to a point where innovating becomes a steady, ongoing process that fuels marketing and at some point it actually becomes marketing. Beyond that, the one thing that really makes a difference is disruptive innovation. It has the ability to change the course of the market, and those who can develop such game changing technologies become the market drivers, at least for a while. Of course, it takes a special mind frame to recognize disruptive innovation and see it as a driving power, and it certainly takes a lot of courage to go for it. But more and more often, this is what makes the difference on today’s crowded and hyper-dynamic IT market. 


Lenovo has grown to be the largest PC maker in the world by fostering an implementing innovation policies throughout the years. Lenovo’s R&D teams have introduced many industry firsts supported by a track record of innovation— including more than 6,500 globally recognized patents. Probably the most important thing is that many of the innovative concepts that added high performance features to Lenovo products have also been implemented by competitors afterwards.


One of the most recent and important lessons learned in a global company is that globalization, the opening of new markets makes it possible for groundbreaking ideas to emerge from anywhere, regardless of the region’s level of development. This is especially true for an IT company like Lenovo, a global Fortune 500. It is not by accident that it has major research centers in Yamato - Japan, in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen – China, and Raleigh, North Carolina – US. They are different in geographic culture, but are very much alike in technological expertise and an innovation culture that is deeply ingrained in the company’s values and expectations. Lenovo specialists, designers, tech experts are scattered all over the world, and for a good reason: differences and a multicultural environment create the best environment for creativity.


Personal development which boosts the development of personal abilities and knowledge is also important in stimulating employees, and so is the avoidance of comfort zones. Technology moves fast, it changes around us and forces us to adapt at rates that were unimaginable only 15 years ago. Never before has „comfort zone” been so dangerous.  Managers need to not only be alert when comfort zone are created, but to also take action and warn everyone around about the stagnation it threatens to induce. Setting new challenges is therefore important for the beneficial motivation of both parties.


But what are the most important drivers of innovation ? There are several pillars, a mixture of exuberant creativity, technological expertise and consumer insight. We are constantly monitoring market trends so as to anticipate their potential, their viability and lifecycle. We  are deeply connected to the behavior and needs of our customers. That goes for  commercial and business users alike.  As a personal technology company and the largest PC company in the world serving customers in more than 160 countries, we are talking about a lot of customers, cultures and behaviors. And this is where technology expertise comes in, as a driver of innovation. Lenovo is rich in talent, employing more than 3,200 engineers, researchers and scientists. Innovation is the key for Lenovo’s success, and an essential differentiator. The company was voted among 30 most innovative companies on BusinessWeek's survey, over 100 worldwide renowned design awards obtained. Innovation is primarily a strategic advantage which proves the company’s commitment to offering  new, state of the art, reliable products, that meet and exceed the expectations of users in all business segments.