N2Growth Helps Businesses Combine Strategy & Innovation for a Consumer-First Approach to Digital Transformation

N2Growth Helps Businesses Combine Strategy & Innovation for a Consumer-First Approach to Digital Transformation

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Matt Walker
By: Matt Walker
Updated: October 12, 2018
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In a Nutshell: Businesses must both adapt and innovate to maintain a competitive advantage — but many take a haphazard approach that doesn’t protect the future. N2Growth, a leadership development and advisory firm founded in 2005, helps CEOs and executives balance innovation with sustainable growth strategies. By focusing on strategy, talent and organizational structure, N2Growth applies proven methodologies across numerous industries and practice areas. N2Growth helps create leaders in digital transformation by guiding brands through a customer-focused Cognitive iSix framework using data to discover “the art of the possible.”

Digital technology continues to transform both the retail and consumer experience. To stay competitive, brands must innovate and transform. That transformation requires adopting new digital technologies in every aspect of business — from product design and operations to customer service and marketing.

Some business leaders eager to keep a competitive advantage often invest in new technologies without fully understanding how to harness their potential or fully considering how digital technologies will meet the company’s needs. In contrast, other leaders focus so much on long-term strategies that they miss the opportunity to create competitive advantage by pulling the future forward. Balance is the key to success; N2Growth, believes that innovation and strategy must come together for businesses to enjoy sustainable growth and maintain customer satisfaction.

“Digital transformation starts at a strategic level with leadership being committed to change. It begins with a strategy of innovation,” said Jean-Louis Nives, the Chief Digital Officer and the Global Chair of the Digital Transformation practice at N2Growth. “We’re working with clients to give their organizations the ability to create a best in class innovation strategy that leads to quick prototyping, and the earning quick wins from those ideas.”

N2Growth logo and photo of Jean-Louis Nives

Jean-Louis Nives, is the Chief Digital Officer and the Global Chair of N2Growth’s Digital Transformation practice.

Businesses must also take advantage of customer telemetry, Big Data, generated by activity on websites, mobile devices, and social media, to create a more personalized experience — both in-house and online. But not every business knows how to convert that data into actionable insights. N2Growth helps companies transform information — and automate it — in ways that lead to the creation of unique value add and competitive advantages for our clients

“Transformation is the new normal. The combination of all of this explosive new data, new technology, new consumer expectations, and time compression all creates the need for companies to be more innovative than in the past — and to create a sustainable culture of innovation,” Jean-Louis said.

N2Growth works with Corporate Boards, CEOs and senior management from many industries to co-create strategies for growth, develop the set of Next Practices that enable digital transformation and provide the framework for businesses to augment their brand identity, as well as create compelling competitive advantages.

Advisory Services Focused on Leadership Training and Organizational Needs

N2Growth’s Founder and Chairman, Mike Myatt, has a diverse background of professional leadership in the banking industry, law, internet strategy, and advertising. In addition to leading N2Growth, he’s a published author, columnist, and speaker who’s considered one of America’s top thought leaders.

Mike has served as an advisor to hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs since launching N2Growth in 2005, and the company has grown into a global consultancy firm with 40 locations spanning five continents. Programs such as N2Institute, N2Labs, N2Ventures, and the Executive Hub provide educational and financial resources, along with networking opportunities for upper-level management looking to scale their businesses.

Mike coined the phrase “next practices” as an alternative to best practices, and it epitomizes N2Growth’s innovative approach to every aspect of business development.

N2Growth focuses on talent and organization, and one of the newest organizational practice areas is digital transformation, headed by Jean-Louis. “We are known for our executive coaching practice. As a result of success in that space, we developed strategy and an executive search practices which are also doing very well. We added a Cultural practice, and the next logical step was a digital transformation,” he said.

Photo of N2Growth Founder Mike Myatt and server room

N2Growth Founder Mike Myatt is a top thought leader and his company coaches executives on digital transformation.

With his background in marketing and consulting for major packaged goods brands, Jean-Louis has witnessed many milestones in digital transformation, starting with his work for IRI — the company that pioneered the application of the Universal Product Code (UPC). “Brands suddenly knew exactly what product was sold by scanning a UPC: store, day, the price paid, and all the promotional conditions associated with it — including advertising,” Jean-Louis said. “That was the big data of its era.”

Jean-Louis later managed the business intelligence group for IRI, analyzing product performance to offer insights on pricing, advertising, and category management. Then he moved into media — helping Nielsen innovate the first global internet management service. Additionally, led the successful exists of a few advertising technology startups, then joined IBM as Watson was taking-off.

Watson was being launched; there were many opportunities in analytics and big data,” Jean-Louis said. “I worked with major companies on how to take advantage of big data to transform the way they approach business.”

Now, he’s doing the same as head of N2Growth’s digital transformation practice. “It’s based on automating data analytics, using methods that generate unique value add that drive the transformation of the business.”

The Cognitive iSix Framework of N2Growth’s Digital Strategy

N2Growth has methodologies for everything it does. When business leaders approach N2Growth with transformation goals, N2Growth first immerses itself into the company’s overall vision.

“We work with leadership to determine and fully build out their key strategic principles. One of the keys is to start with the end in mind — where do they envision the company in three years?” Jean-Louis said. “Then we baseline current state and architect a series of action plans to close the gaps, keeping everything tied to positive business outcomes.”

N2Growth has a similar approach to helping businesses with digital transformation, but follows a more articulated Cognitive iSix component framework. “We call it the Cognitive iSix framework,” Jean-Louis said. The six I’s stand for individual, innovation, information, incubation, intelligence, and investment.

“We help businesses look at improving their connection with the individual. We come up with ways to benefit the customer with faster access and content that’s more personalized, connected, and collaborative.” — Jean-Louis Nives, the Chief Digital Officer and the Global Chair of the Digital Transformation practice at N2Growth

The “Individual” component refers to the customer. N2Growth believes it’s the age of the consumer and recommends treating customers, including our own, like celebrities. Our intention is not simply meeting customer expectations, we want to delight them. “We help businesses look at improving their connection with the individual,” Jean-Louis said. “We create ways to benefit the customer with faster access to robust content that’s more personalized, connected, and collaborative.”

For innovation, N2Growth works with business leaders to create a portfolio of techniques and ideas for improving that individual connection. This step leads to information — determining the big data framework needed to implement the ideas. Next, the ideas are incubated. “Rather than going through a major project, we push organizations to incubate — try to prototype and do proof of concepts around these initiatives, to figure out which ones will make the most sense,” said Jean-Louis.

N2Growth then has leaders look at how innovations fit into their competitive ecosystem to gain intelligence and sustainable competitive differentiation. For the final framework category, investment, ideas are examined for ROI and applied to a specific use case – a focus on business outcomes is key to success.

Using the Cognitive iSix framework for digital transformation, N2Growth helps companies apply innovative technology for improved customer engagement — a prime example of what its digital transformation advisory practice can offer business leaders and their brands.

Harnessing AI and Consumer Data to Discover Possibilities

To create a strategy for innovation, N2Growth believes businesses must avoid the urge to adopt technology for technology’s sake and strategically adopt the “next practices” that align with the changes around them. N2Growth helps companies find the intersection between strategy, innovation, and consumer data — which it calls the new natural resource.

N2Growth places the individual first in its Cognitive iSix framework because understanding consumers through data is key to effective digital transformation. Before digital connectivity, businesses were forced to rely on limited research and speculation to develop products and marketing strategies. Today, there’s no shortage of information — or access to it.

Screenshot of N2Growth Digital Transformation practice

“The average consumer generates one gigabyte of digital information every day based on mobile, online, IOT, and social media behavior,” said Jean-Louis. “Most companies are not taking advantage of that data to improve marketing. It’s a combination of being aware that this data exists and being able to mine it with the machine learning capabilities we’re working with.”

Brands must learn how to effectively connect with customers and keep a competitive advantage by using big data as well as innovation strategically. N2Growth is uniquely positioned to help business leaders innovate and thrive in the digital era.

“We’re combining a strategy, AI, Digital Transformation as well as the full suite of N2Growth practices to help companies realize the art of the possible,” Jean-Louis said.