Summary of “The Innovation Enterprise” presentation by J Schwan. Part II
In today’s blog post I’ll present part two of my two part summary of J Schwan’s recent presentation called “The Innovation Enterprise, Accelerating the Adoption of Next Generation Technologies.”
The purpose of this talk was to explain J’s and Solstice Mobile’s vision of where mobile is going, the key technologies behind the change and how you can take the key insights as to how to create both incremental and disruptive, breakthrough changes.
In the first half of the presentation, J did a great job of explaining the three key technologies that are coming together to create The Internet of Things, and natural human interfaces, all coming together with the use of Big Data and Predictive analytics to move computing to contextual computing.
Read the first part of this series here.
J starts the second half of the presentation with two excellent examples of companies that have pulled the entire ecosystem together to extend their brand and create a more power experience with their customers.
The first is Nike, who has build a complete ecosystem of contextual mobile apps that tract running and other fitness activities. They have an X-Box Connect Training Program, a fuel band that tracks activities and translate your motion and steps into quantifiable data. They’ve tied it all together into a fuel-plus platform, a back end “big data” store.
The second is Nest. This is a thermostat, designed by the same person who designed the original ipod. The Nest plugs into a thermostat and is connected to the internet. It measures when you are at home and coordinates this with real time weather information. It uses this information to optimize your energy use and reduce your costs and it works! It also ties back into a report that it issues that shows you your energy use compared to other users in your area.
J concludes that there are a lot of opportunities for innovation, but the concern is a recent Forrester report that concludes that only 1/3 of their clients have funds dedicated to incubating ideas for innovation. J suggests this is a significant risk, and it’s hard to argue with his logic having seen so many industries disrupted.
J then shifts the presentation into what I think is most helpful. He first explains the way that Solstice evaluates opportunities and then illustrates their own process for fostering innovative ideas.
Here’s the three steps they take to evaluate ideas for their clients.
- First, they understand the strategic business opportunities for the company.
- Second, they inventory and evaluate the existing assets that are already in place that they can use.
- Then they look for the emerging opportunities for innovation that are available.
Finally, they look for the intersection of these opportunities between the assets the company already has and the innovation opportunities.
That is sound advice, in my opinion, as it leverages the company’s strengths and marries those strengths with innovative ideas.
In the final part of J’s presentation he shares some of Solstice’s own, internal processes. J notes that it is very important for them to test the different technologies and to be ready with an understanding of the technologies to be able to advise and help their clients. They use rapid experimentation to source and test new ideas. Solstice crowd sources ideas with new technologies within the company. Here are two ways they do this:
- They crowd source ideas and their internal R&D team is dedicated to moving these ideas forward.
- They have 24 hour “Express Days.” Everyone has 24 hours to take their idea from concept to some type of actionable or prototype demonstration. They have judges and everyone gets to present their ideas. This has been very powerful for Solstice to prove out new ideas. If something looks promising, then they give it the green light and let it take to prototype with UX and show it to some of their customers. Most don’t make it past this stage, but that’s okay, as they have created some great applications that have gone to the next stage.
J provided a number of examples of products ideas they generated this way. Here’s a few:
- Applauncher – a Mobile Application Lifecycle Management Tool.
- Engage – a Business Productivity Framework.
- Smart Office – They connected the entire office and created a total contextual office. The application does some exciting things like finding empty offices, guest experiences, automatic whiteboard capture, a Contextual Micro-Aware Company Directory, Office Supply reorders and more. They use this platform to test contextual experiences.
J also provides a few examples from a recent Express Day. Here are three of many ideas he showed from their team ideas:
- A Smart Office using Google Glass.
- An experience in a restaurant using beacons, ordering, etc.
- Another team built a prototype of a contextual mobile banking experience that ended up creating a new navigation concept they used for a client.
Final Thoughts: J encourages everyone to consider their own innovation programs. They don’t have to be incredibility expensive but they can be powerful.
Watch J’s presentation directly.
I highly recommend you watch J’s complete presentation here.