Why is it so difficult for businesses to come up with new ideas, and even harder to implement these innovations?
It's part of the human condition, believes technology group Skynamo's CEO Sam Clarke.
"Human beings like to play it safe and there is nothing as comforting and familiar as the status quo.
"This is why innovation is often more of a word in meetings than something that is actively implemented. People hate change."
As a result, he is a fan of the concept of "minivation". A term coined by former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan, it refers to the incremental improvements to a business model that eventually leads to even bigger innovation.
This is where businesses can start getting comfortable with change, says Clarke.
This approach also drove the creation of the successful Skynamo app.
Skynamo's parent company, Stellenbosch-based engineering group Alphawave, had some unused capacity in its Android team. Six years ago Clarke was asked to lead the innovation project to make use of this capacity. The app they came up with - initially called Honeybee - tracks information from sales representatives in the field. It helps sales managers to see where reps are, and how much time they are spending on customers and on the road.
"The app creates transparency," says Clarke. Instead of having to micro-manage sales representatives, managers now have extensive information, and can spend their time coaching sales people instead.
The reps also get access to resources stored on the app, which means that they don't have to search around for product information, for example.
The app is predominantly focused on helping sales reps of manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of products to sell to an existing base of customers. According to Clarke, it was met with a positive reaction since it launched into the market. It was also recently nominated as a FNB Business Innovation Award finalist.
Skynamo helps people to sell more by reducing admin for the reps and monitoring activity and tracking results. These "minivations" help influencing sales behaviour, says Clarke.