Insights

Innovation in a Reinvented World

"A passion for innovation is something that comes deep from within a person," wrote innovative thinker and author Dee McCrorey in her book "Innovation in a Revinvented World". "It isn't something that can be faked or taught in a classroom using textbooks. Of course, you can teach someone to use the tools of successful innovators, but passion for innovation lies dormant until it is tapped, released or expands on its own."

And according to technologist and inventor Dr. Patty Lopez, “Innovation is the talent of taking ideas from disparate fields and integrating them into a unique solution that advances the state of the art. It also involves listening to diverse voices and viewpoints, working through often heated discussions and disagreements that inevitably lead to a better solution.”

Today, Dr. Lopez works for Intel Corporation, where she spends her days focused on logic validation for microprocessors – an innovation challenge as manufacturing chips using smaller and smaller process technologies with vastly different device functions require more sophisticated validation techniques.

Innovation and inventions will continue to interact with services and products

It’s fascinating to look at near-future advances, inventions, products, services and everyday conveniences that will change how we live and work. Enterprises are actively exploring new ways of engaging with customers such as via smart devices, wearables and connected cars. This will, in turn, allow for far more rigorous testing of products and processes.

Connected hardware – cars, thermostats, cell phones, pacemakers, appliances, heating and cooling systems – will supply an endless stream of useful data that will allow us to optimize for efficiency and live more comfortable lives.

Creation of digital disruption and other technological advances

In recent times, digital disruption is affecting nearly every sector of the economy, and if it hasn't reached your industry, Forrester’s James McQuivey has no doubt it soon will. In his book, “Digital Disruption-Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation”, McQuivey explains that technological advances are creating opportunities for more people than ever before to meet more customer needs than ever before at lower costs than ever before –and that creates digital disruption.

He writes, “If people plus infrastructure equal disruption, then digital innovators plus digital infrastructure equals digital disruption. Massive digital disruption, at a scale and pace most are simply not prepared for.”

Digital disruption will also impact convergences

Let’s look at a handful of them in which digital disruption has already taken place. The adoption of a “data culture” inside their marketing departments and across their business — these firms will be the most successful in the long term.

Let’s accept it, the iPhone was just a phone, music player and camera converged into one device – each item existed on its own before Apple created iPhone, and it became the market-leading media generation and consumption device.

Wearable devices now range from Google Glass, Fitbit, Life Fitness Bands, Android Wear to virtual reality headsets, GPS, Telehealth, Catapult sports and others. Four billion people will live in a connected world in 2020. While no one can predict how disruptive this exponential increase in connectivity will be, we can expect to live in a profoundly different world.

There are new businesses being created all the time and generating revenues in ways that have never been thought about before. Bob Metcalf defined the network value many years ago – If you have the network, you have value, and with more nodes (customers), you can impact more people.

Other major digital disruptions

Tom Goodwin, Head of Innovation at ROI agency Zenith, has outlined the notable disruptors generating revenues in new ways never thought of before:

  • Today the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property.
  • The biggest taxi company, Uber, owns no vehicles.
  • Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer, has no stock inventory.
  • And the most popular media owner, Facebook, creates no content.

And what about these?

  • Skype – a major phone and video company that doesn't own telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Netflix – a major movie house with no cinemas.
  • Apple and Google – large software vendors that do not write the software.
  • SocietyOne and Ratesetter – Fast-growing money lenders that have no money.

New technologies with less control, more agility and more comparisons

People will be able to interact with technology in a more natural way. They will learn faster, more easily and with far more accuracy.

Most adults alive today grew up without the Internet or mobile phones, let alone smartphones and tablets with voice commands and apps for everything. These new technologies have altered our lifestyle in a way few of us could have imagined a few decades ago.

According to Frank Farrall, Asia-Pacific leader of Deloitte Digital and National Managing Partner of Deloitte's Customer Practice within Australia, artificial intelligence is a big growth area, as technology built on technology amid exponential growth in processing power.

Farrall said, "It started with Siri, and with robotics and AI growing at a similar rate, that will enable us to do things we haven’t thought about yet."

Almost any consumer product will be downloadable online and 3-D printed at home for a low cost. The Internet of Things will connect all the electric and electronic devices in the world and will optimally manage energy supply through a smart-grid known as the Enernet, expected to become a reality around 2030. Google’s Project Loon plans to achieve this by launching high-altitude balloons into the stratosphere, while Facebook wants to build flying drones and satellites to beam Internet around the world. 5G mobile networks (coming around 2020) will be so fast (downloading a full HD movie in one second) that cable Internet connections will disappear.

But have we reached the end of the line? What else could turn up that could make our lives so much more different? Faster computers? More gadgets, AI, intelligent algorithms?

It is, in fact, so much more than that.

The boomerang effort

Technologies have embarked on an exponential growth curve, and we are just getting started. Modern digital technologies, such as cloud-based services, mobile apps, big data, IoT and AI, are embedded into products, services and business models and enhance competitiveness, create closer relationships with customers and generate efficiencies on an unprecedented scale.

There is now a worldwide market for companies and consumers who have access to products of different countries. Competitors can now come from anywhere in the world, no matter the product, market or industry. Digital Strategist Scott MacFarland accurately noted that, "Businesses around the world are more connected than ever before. Being connected is probably the most powerful influencer of innovation."

Oracle says the pursuit of innovative ideas is a delicate dance (check out their six steps to innovation).

My advice? Build trust with the employees and take some chances – small ones – isolate risks and expose staff to new ideas. The results may prove amazing.

Article written by Raj Kosaraju
Image credit by Getty Images, DigitalVision Vectors, DrAfter123
Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers