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The competitive advantage of geospatial innovation

Geospatial innovation can be crucial to survival in a changing market. As technology and markets change rapidly, you need to innovate regularly to compete, grow, and remain relevant for your customers.

You might have to make some hard choices about where and how to spend your time for maximum impact. You might have to decide which work is business-critical and which work can wait until business operations return to ‘normal’. So, where does geospatial innovation fit?

One common challenge driving geospatial innovation is a lack of expertise. Or perhaps you have the experts, but their attention is on more pressing business priorities. You are left with the difficult decision of whether to build or buy the custom software required for a geospatial innovation solution. 

Signs you’re ready to innovate

An innovation strategy is vital for facing future challenges.

Today’s uncertain environment, more than ever, tests the effectiveness of an organization’s geospatial operations and capabilities. From remote work becoming the norm (for now) – to how your company sells its offerings, geospatial information and data play a huge role. Why? Because being able to take location-based details and provide data and insights is vital to enable growth. Whether your company is struggling or doing great, the ability to innovate and change as the business climate does is critical. Every company has the opportunity to identify and implement change to create something new with a geospatial foundation. A quick example: A large mining company wanted to enhance efficiency and safety for their diggers. They analyzed historical geospatial data to identify hazardous mining operations. They then updated systems and training to ensure efficiency without sacrificing safety.

Do you have a business problem or question that needs solving?

Raise your hand if you have worked for a business where you were not satisfied with the existing location-based information.  If you are facing this challenge, there are myriad ways to address the problem. If you could boost productivity and ultimately increase revenue through better location-based information, would you? It is often said that where there are issues, there are also opportunities. Clearly identify and isolate the problems with an open mind, and then brainstorm and examine potential solutions with smart internal and external resources.

Do you recognize the value of enlisting partners?

Successful geospatial innovation involves reaching beyond current company abilities. For many, that means knowing when to engage with partners and which ones to engage with. Geospatial innovation is most likely to succeed with a partner that offers technical expertise, works comfortably in your environment, and brings creativity and flexibility. 

Ways to innovate

If your company is too slow to drive geospatial innovation, get creative with your approach and try the following:

Foster a culture of innovation – Encourage employee participation and trust, as you try new things. Your team must see that company leaders value, support, and reward ideas. It can’t just be talk; action is needed, with follow-through, to back it up. People will quickly tell if their input is really wanted—or if the innovation conversation is all talk.

Collect ideas and collaborate – Start by holding a company-wide (or even a division-wide) meeting. Ask for thoughts, or have everyone think of and report on a geospatial challenge they are facing. It could be outdated technology, unanswered client needs, logistical bottlenecks, service issues, or pricing—then brainstorm and identify ideas for potential solutions.

Research – Once you have a broad list of different ideas for geospatial innovation, explore those that are most likely a fit for your business. Prioritization is critical. Which are best and why? Develop criteria for deciding what to work on now and what to wait on. For example, if the idea is a new way to track GPS data points to gather feedback for better decision-making, you can identify the ultimate goal, look at costs and validate what resources you would need. Then, discuss with team members the overall potential of the solution including development and design possibilities.

Ask experts – Reach out to experts in the geospatial field. Set up a time to see what they have to say. They may be able to offer advice to perfect the solution. The best part about reaching out to geospatial professionals is learning creative ways to approach solving location-based problems. Then, take that innovation expert feedback and develop and deploy the solution.

Review what your company offers. Can you expand?

Start with identifying your strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace and look for ways to enhance and improve. Within geospatial capabilities, are there ways to track, get real-time alerts, map, and predict future outcomes based on various locations? As digital and location-based tools and capabilities expand, viewing innovation from a geospatial stance can bring immediate, yet long-lasting value. Overall, the more useful geospatial insights you obtain, the stronger your position in decision-making and innovation. So, start innovating and bringing additional value to your organization today.

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