Statistics show that companies that are evolving by embracing speed and agility are growing at twice the rate of companies that are struggling to scale innovation.
At the recent Mastering SAP event, I spoke on Superfast SAP – a solution that allows companies to go to market fast and to scale using new technologies. The way that we are building and using emergent technologies is changing almost on a weekly basis, and to better understand where we are going, it helps to take a short tour of the innovation eras we have passed through.
The eras of innovation
The early days of innovation were defined by entrepreneurship in the lab where one person, normally alone in a garage, invented things on their own – this is what we call the era of the Lone Genius.
For a long time until just after World War II, this was the primary model for innovation and collaboration until the 1940s, where instead of having all inventive people in different spaces scattered around the world, we ascertained to bring them together into a lab environment, i.e., the Lab Genius era.
The greatest limiting factor during this era was that much of the lab-based innovation and research and development approach came from big pharmaceuticals, demanding highly qualified individuals to be part of this club, one couldn’t engage with people outside of their direct sphere of influence.
The year 2000, Y2K was the opening of the internet and everything that happened just over 20 years ago at the turn of the century has been the era of the Collective Genius, where everybody could participate and have an opinion. The key challenge became not finding people, but creating the right filters to make sure you could speak to the right people at the right time and find the right sort of solution. This has been a period of exponential growth in the innovation world where we started to collaborate in varying degrees of influence in our network.
More recently, we have moved into the era of the Augmented Genius where we begin to augment human thinking and experimenting with technology. This technology could be in the form of smart glasses, robotics, AI, or emerging technology where our human genius is expanded with the power of technology.
Embracing smart ways of working for growth
Our ability to partner with machines while following a human-centric approach can bring exponential economic growth.
By embracing smart ways of working – super fast ways of developing – and leveraging the human and machine world, we are seeing that countries can add 1% to the GDP. Even through a recession, this means jobs growth, opportunity, and prosperity for everyone.
Historically, we’ve embraced the way we develop and deploy technology in a very linear pattern, because we want to manage risk, but the world has changed, and we need to embrace speed while mitigating risk at the same time. Although many of us were raised in a management doctrine that says, ‘get a dry first batch before you release it’, our current advocates that ‘if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product then you’ve launched too late’.
One of the big South African banks were the first in the country to develop a banking app before their competitors, but they delayed due to cultural aspects around whether they could release first or not. In the end after launching first they have gained over 50% of the Mobile Banking App Market, which means the other big four are sharing the remaining 50%. That’s a massive lead. This example shows that if you embrace innovation first, you are more likely to reap a competitive lead in market share.
Yes, there are some failures, but the failures are far outnumbered by the wins. Once you get that momentum going, you find that your success rate sparks. Our hypothesis is that when you embrace this style of working, your success rate for launching new products, new platforms, new services, is far greater than your success rate from launching in a traditional fashion.
Dream Big – Start Small – Scale Fast
In this new paradigm success is for companies that are quick and agile in their approaches and methodology. The idea of a 25-year plan is redundant, because the world is going to change so drastically, which makes predicting disruption impossible, and faster competitors could outmanoeuvre you.
We have over 150 app solutions for multiple industries, using emerging technology, big data, AI, machine learning, augmented reality, blockchain, multi-party systems, Internet of Things, data intelligence, and of course analytics combined into one solution.
In close partnership with SAP, we are actively building these apps out of anticipation, not waiting for the demand to be there, and predicting what’s coming over the horizon. The biggest issue is time. How do we make time for tomorrow’s innovation today?
If you procrastinate, it catches up with you and often by then it is too late. If you want to do things differently, you must change your perspective on what can be done. Make sure that you can dream big, start small, and move fast.