This past week, Signals participated in the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in NYC, an event that brought together innovation leaders and experts from organizations from NASA, Kraft, Southwest Airlines, the Philadelphia 76ers and many others in between. “There is no longer the option not to innovate in any field” – with this statement, John Levis, Deloitte’s Chief Innovation Officer, kicked off the summit.
At large, the summit focused on converting great ideas into profitable projects, and the challenge of spreading the innovation mindset throughout large companies. Below are some key takeaways of notes.
“Business as usual” will fail to bring growth in today’s economy
As we all know, the cost-cutting path to profitability is no longer relevant. As technological innovation has resolved most cost inefficiencies, innovating – either by creating new products or finding new applications for existing goods – is the path for growth.
A by-product of the accelerating rate of technological evolution is that the way customers consume products is changing. Even well-established businesses with solid customer bases are finding that emerging technologies are disrupting their traditional business models and revolutionizing customer behavior. Mike Steep, Senior Vice President at PARC, used L’Oreal as an example: with the introduction of the iPhone as a purchasing device, customers are no longer visiting department stores to get advice on which products to buy. Now, the emphasis is on the social component. Customers want to know what their peers recommend, and often purchase these products online or through a smartphone app.
The technology innovation gap is forcing companies to seek help from third parties
Decentralized innovation was an underlying theme throughout many of the Summit’s presentations. The increased rate of emerging technologies has resulted in what the industry has termed ‘the technology innovation gap’: technology is being produced whether or not we have applications for it, and whether or not we know how to adapt. Large companies tend to be unprepared at handling emerging technologies because all of their internal expertise is centered on their traditional R&D models and corporate processes. This means they must look outside of their organization to learn how to evolve along with emerging technologies. Steep recounted that L’oreal reached this decision in deciding how to innovate. Smartphone apps and social listening wasn’t their forte, so they looked to bring in outside consultants and developers to help them redesign their approach and improve their products.
The role of big data analytics
The reason traditional R&D models are becoming obsolete is largely because companies are unable to keep pace with predictive analytics solutions.
With the amount of information that is being produced on a daily basis, standard R&D cannot keep pace with news from professional journals globally, and the scope of scientific progress that is populating global networks. As I discussed in my session, this is surely a challenge many of our clients have faced: world leading R&D teams full of expertise and talent struggle to able to process and understand developments on a global scale, and more significantly, their relevance to our client’s business. Solutions such as ours and others will become increasingly important to R&D teams in overcoming this hurdle.
Many thanks to Innovation Enterprise for putting on a great conference – and looking forward to continuing the conversation.
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Gil Sadeh is the co-founder and CEO of Signals. He has extensive experience in research and intelligence with over fifteen years of work as an intelligence officer in varied business and governmental frameworks. Gil is a guest lecturer in various academic institutions and a keynote speaker at conferences relating to innovation, big data analytics, strategic analysis, and business intelligence. He has published several articles about external business intelligence in professional and general magazines. Gil also served for ten years as a combat officer in an elite recon unit of the special forces of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Gil holds his LLB and MA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel.