“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”
The above quote is allegedly from Ghandi, but whether he is the source or not (and you turn a blind eye to unconscious bias of he), it is still a powerful mantra to keep us focused on what is important to us.
Customer focus is a core characteristic of Mission-Led Innovation and its sole purpose is to deliver outcomes for our customers, whether they be Defence, Security, Critical Infrastructure or internal customers. Mission-Led innovation aims to cut out innovation for ‘innovation’s sake’ and focusses the power of innovation to addressing the mission itself, whether that is saving lives, reducing costs or protecting national interests. Mission-Led Innovation is innovation with a purpose and puts the customers focus at the heart of every project.
Mission-Led Innovation has a focus on making a difference, being practical and putting innovation in the right hands where it becomes a useful tool, a necessity and not just a fancy ideology.
Having the customers’ ‘mission’ at the heart of the innovation process allows for a more reflective approach where close collaboration enables a ‘two-way street’ between both QinetiQ and the customer. Collaboration is a key characteristic of Mission-Led Innovation, whereby working with our customers, end-users and our partner ecosystem collaboratively means together we can come up with the right solution that is best for the situation. We have seen that to be highly effective in our collaborative work on the autonomous last mile re-supply for the British Army and our exit gate security work with Gatwick airport – in both cases the collaborative approach meant that all parties could agree on the mission and work in an iterative manner to deliver a solution that makes a difference.
In these constantly evolving modern times, customers want to address their problems and want to exploit opportunities; what Mission-Led Innovation gives the customer is solutions delivered at a fast pace but with total control and efficiency. Delivering at pace is one of the key characteristics of Mission-Led Innovation, ensuring we work in an agile fashion to ensure that customers get the capability embedded in their operations as soon as possible.
In the defence industry, where programmes have historically taken years of work, by the time the solution is complete, the technology is usually outdated. In our fast-paced environment the world may have progressed past the slowly created solution, making it dated. As the world changes, the ‘mission’ changes too, with greater frequency compared to the past, no matter which market, geography or function you operate within – this is particularly the case when our adversaries are evolving quicker than we are. Using a fast paced mission-led innovation approach allows the customer to not only solve the solutions of today, but also the solutions of tomorrow.