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    SGS D&I Innovation Pilots


    SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing & certification company that spans nearly all industries. We are trialling a new way of delivering Innovation in this traditional environment by creating Pilots to run with the business.

    What objectives did you set out to achieve?

    In a highly complex diversified physical industry, how do you create new or incremental value with technology? These are the types of questions we’re exploring, and we have created a new way to quickly test potential Innovation opportunities that’s grounded in real data.

    Our objectives are to explore & assess the strength of these opportunities not through months of desk research but by running a series of Experiments, Tests & Pilots within real business environments.

    What was your single biggest challenge in achieving them?

    Business buy-in – getting a traditional mind-set to come on the journey with us.

    In an industry that’s relatively healthy, businesses can be reluctant to change. This makes it even more important to bring people in the business with us, educating & testing with them, co-developing Experiments and running Pilots together in real business context.

    What did you do differently to overcome that challenge?

    In this last Pilot, we took the lead in defining the opportunity and approach, leveraging expertise from external resources with experience breaking the mould in other relevant industries. But we also recognised that we couldn’t just develop pure play technology innovation and assume it would ‘succeed’ within our diverse organisation. Technology in this case is just an enabler, so we incorporated our real world in our Pilot. Specifically we took an extra month to get one of our markets on board for the Pilot, working together to incorporate our own people, processes & technology into the Experiments.
    Not only did we get learnings grounded in our own business environment, our colleagues were also able to learn alongside of us and help shape the offering going forward.

    What were your most impactful outcomes?

    We demonstrated that this approach can yield quick results at a low cost, improving confidence in the investment by >10x after spending <10% of the full forecasted project budget.

    For this Pilot in particular, we also learned that the opportunity was substantially bigger & broader than initially thought because we involved the business in our experiments. The original use case now represents <50% of the full opportunity, and the potential for disruption is exponentially higher.

    There were also unexpected halo effects from this Pilot, including staff motivation (participation rate was 5X higher than expected, with an expected retention rate of 94%) and quality of ideas & builds from within the business once positioned within their own environment (recommendation is now entirely rooted in use cases originating from our business lines).

    There’s also evidence of a mind-set shift within the organisation—it’s still challenging, but it’s not as hard of a sell as it used to be!

    In a sentence, what was the biggest learning you took away from this?

    It is possible to create the safe space needed to productively experiment within a risk-adverse business, especially when having access to external resources.

    What will you do next?

    Run more Pilots to explore & assess new business opportunities for SGS.

    Find out more about SGS D&I Innovation Pilots here