Salesforce is a learning organization. Our CEO always encourages us to have a beginner’s mindset. That’s why we tap into the collective knowledge, inspiration, and expertise of our customers and partners to learn something new every day. We’ve created our own unique ecosystem within the industry, helping 150,000 customers and partners manage millions of customer relationships in the most creative and innovative ways imaginable. That’s what makes us Trailblazers.
The global impact of the Salesforce ecosystem really comes to life in the third Salesforce Economy report, wherein IDC projects that we will generate 3.3 million jobs and $859+ billion dollars in revenue to economies around the world by 2022.
How will we do this? With innovation. It’s a myth that innovation can’t be taught. We teach it every day in immersive consulting engagements. Salesforce partners with our most ambitious customers to co-create a culture of customer obsession. We work with them to produce inspiring designs and amazing digital customer experiences that enable informed decision making and value realization. We harness and apply innovation-driven thinking through a structured process that captures and improves ideas and also promotes overall organizational effectiveness. We apply these guiding principles:
First and foremost, we are tasked with reimagining new business models, new customer experiences, and a new realm of digital possibilities. Brainstorming is part of our daily culture; we do it to explore new business opportunities. But it’s more than just coming up with ideas, as even the best ideas without execution never amount to real innovation. Many of our best ideas are crowdsourced through the Salesforce platform, allowing us to see the world through the lens of the customer.
Honing in on the right idea
This is where design thinking and experimentation come into play. Our most effective customers incorporate this into their ideation and innovation processes. From Centers of Excellence, focused on sharing assets, code, and architecture across projects and teams, to DevOps teams, focused on agile collaboration with product managers and business owners across the design and development process, our customers have built operating models that drive innovation. This allows them to generate new ideas, test those ideas, dive into design-led prototyping, and incubate innovation-driven programs ensuring that only the strongest ideas ever reach the end user.
Valuing rapid experimentation
Incubating and validating ideas is what makes our customer experiences stronger. We vet our ideas with rapid prototyping and (pre-defined) measurable hypotheses. Once those hypotheses are proven, we transform prototypes into products, features, or customer experiences. Embracing a culture of experimentation means embracing a culture that accepts failure. This helps drive behavioral change and enhances how teams work together to bring innovation to life. Failures become learning experiences for iteration; course corrections bring new and improved ideas to market faster.
Designing to disrupt
Salesforce engages customers early in the design process. We believe in an experimentation-led, fail-fast/learn-fast model that’s more iterative in nature. This allows for us to make easier pivots, execute rapidly on changing requirements, or respond quickly to unexpected customer feedback. We want to experience those “aha” moments — even if those involve failure — as that stimulates engagement, drives iterative thinking, and creates an environment for constant learning. That’s how Apple famously launched the iPhone. It was first conceived as a tablet, but Steve Jobs pivoted that idea into something that could easily fit in a consumer’s pocket. Doing so, he disrupted an entire industry. The combination of design thinking and experimentation is the ultimate recipe for creating amazing customer experiences.
Investing in success
CFO’s can be the biggest skeptics of innovation and experimentation. They may not immediately see the value in investing in an innovation hub but eventually come around to it once they see they see the measurable value driven by it. Again, this comes down to rapid experimentation, design thinking, and embracing a constant state of learning, all of which drives actionable outcomes, measured in weeks or months (not years). Doing so minimizes investment risk by showing a much clearer correlation between product innovations and business impact. This is one of the reasons why the constant innovation of the Salesforce platform has effectively been able to keep pace with the speed of ever-evolving business demands.
Learning more every day
With a well-managed scope and investment budgets aligned to desired outcomes, time to market can be achieved a lot faster. The ability to test, learn, and iterate quickly is one of the most important enablers of innovation. It takes the risk out of failure and drives tangible customer value with speed from idea to implementation. This is just one of the many reasons why we never stop learning. Our mindset is that every lesson learned is not a failure but rather a valuable asset to us. Fail fast, fail small, and learn fast is exactly what we aim to do — every day.