Before They Kill Us All, Let’s Innovate!

There are multiple forces at work, pushing each other.

New technologies driving customer experience expectations, new technologies optimizing the supply chain and manufacturing, innovation pace and disruption. All these forces continue to combine and add new shape to our futures. If you think this an evolution, you seriously underestimate the revolution that is taking place before us.

The days of simple product innovation are all but finished, as new innovation ecosystems take over. This unrivaled speed of change increasingly relies on collaborative platforms to structure and realize more disruptive results.

Before The Robots Kill Us All

I think there are various phases prior to their taking over! Not least of which in the relatively near future where the robots undertake the commodity tasks and leave us humans to leverage our differentiated skills of Creativity, Imagination, Intuition, Empathy, Emotion & Ethics.

The future of work is therefore surrounding Imagination, Creativity and Strategy.

Perhaps a year ago, one major banking CEO expected that 50% of his employees could be replaced by robots. Spread that wider and around 40% in the legal sector automated and in accounting 95%. And for those in manufacturing, the future may arrive even sooner.

However, the more recent McKinsey reports suggest that the more technical the work, the more technology can accomplish it. In other words, machines skew toward tactical applications.

Meanwhile, work that involves imagination, creativity and strategy is very hard to automate. As an example the management and development of people, decision making, planning or creativity rests for the foreseeable future with us.

Collaboration within

According to an Accenture study in 2017, more than 97% of major companies believe that future business models will be created within ecosystems — but only a small minority sees their company culture ready for collaboration in a more or less open space. Building those ecosystems is a social and cultural challenge for many. It’s far more than bundling startups and business partners around an innovation platform.

If the 20th Century was about competition then surely the 21st is about co-opetition! Numerous analyses have been undertaken proving that unhealthy competition frequently stunts growth versus a positive collaborative environment.

A workplace culture of collaboration prospers amongst humility, respect and authenticity. As creatures we are designed to connect and create together.

Given everyone needs to be innovating and disrupting the old rules, the importance of collaboration is everywhere:

Rule #1 — Self Aware:

Being honest about your team’s strengths and weaknesses, forces you to seek help in all the critical aspects of the “what might be” future and those functional intelligences required from across the ecosystem.

Rule #2 — Ecosystem-wide:

Appreciating that you are part of a bigger picture, a bigger purpose creates power. The ecosystem brings diverse mindsets and ways of thinking that enhances the team. Sharing and leveraging those resources means that your reach to new markets increases and re-energizes the connection you have with established customers.

Rule #3 — New Energy:

New teams, different perspectives means new tensions and this can be harnessed to create a new energy to propel thinking to a new level.

Rule #4 — Be Patient

Things don’t always work out the best when you collaborate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you never attempt again to work with that organization. Remember, speed is everything and consistency is speed. Take the long view about perceived failures. If you share the same values, the same beliefs, you have a partnership worth saving!

Rule #5 — Fail Fast, Learn Quicker

As we all find our way in the 4th Industrial Revolution, we are all learning. The only question is who learns fastest? Moving at speed, trying new things, handling multiple initiatives to find the best way through fast, micro failures to success is the only way. Each time your firm collaborates with others you optimize the capacity of your associates to extend beyond their comfort zone, grow, and in turn, stretch the boundaries of the organization.

Making It Happen — The Future Vision

To get the show on the road, the strategy, the goal and innovation must be set high and set to make a real difference to the customer.

Better than the rest

The innovation strategy should aim high enough to outpace the competition, market growth and exceed average profit margins. Anything less is most probably a continuation of the existing roadmap, not an innovation strategy.

Collaboration Outside In

With so many successful disruptors and enterprises harnessing the customer’s inputs for future product innovation, it’s hard to see the survival of the product-centric organisation.

Imagine using technology to link in “outsiders” such as suppliers and customers into your development projects and coming up with better ideas more quickly and cheaply than you’re doing today?

Imagine a technology company orchestrating the design of a new vehicle through an open network of interested customers, software engineers and suppliers, all working internationally with one another. It’s the model of like-minded parties. It’s starting to happen all over the world.

Most industries are climbing aboard the collaborative approach to new product innovation


Fast innovators are much more likely to also be strong innovators — 42% compared with less than 10% of slow innovators. Fast innovators are more disruptive — 27% versus 1.5%. They get new products to market quickly and generate more sales from them (at least 30% of revenue). This is true for 35% of fast innovators but for only 11% of slower ones.

Increasing speed to market leads to numerous financial and non-financial benefits. Greater agility has the potential to boost a company’s top and bottom lines, and flexible and mobile consumers demand it. The financial benefits are often directly measurable and vastly exceed the up-front costs of introducing speed-to-market approaches to the organization. The benefits of speed:

  • Faster Innovation. Companies that are built for speed often realize first-mover advantages; they are able to react more quickly to competitors’ moves or market shifts with their own product innovations.
  • Lower Development Costs. Streamlined processes, limited iterations, and reduced slack release financial and operating resources for other value-adding activities.
  • Larger Market Share. A product that gets to market early is less likely to face initial competition. A quick introduction also gives a product more time to build market share before it declines into a commodity.
  • Greater Forecasting Accuracy. Because the time between product design and product release is shorter, executives may be more willing to green-light trendy products that would otherwise be denied.

Innovate, Survive & Thrive!

Loving the journey


#plm #innovation #3dexperience #teamcenter #4ir #industry40 #enovia #opcenter

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