technology is not the innovation

If you’re a decision-maker in your organisation my guess is that you’re already looking to your mid horizon and observing the approaching wave of change and disruption headed your way.

Digital disruption is reshaping our economy and workforce and shifting the boundaries of competition. It is increasing the rate of societal change. And it’s changing the way we do business. Deloitte estimates that 65% of Australia’s economy will feel the impacts of digital disruption by 2017*.

So it’s not news to anyone that the only way to respond to digital disruption is to adapt and innovate.

And that said I think many of us are missing the central point in the innovation debate. Because we’ve erroneously made innovation synonymous with technology. The innovation discussion has been almost entirely subsumed by references to digital communications, digital platforms, big data and social media.

As a result we’ve lost sight of a greater truth; that technology is changing us as people, as consumers and as a society.

While technology is fundamentally important to our businesses and should be a key focus of strategy and operations, we also need to look beyond it.

Because technology is not the innovation; rather it is the driver and enabler of innovation.

What we need to be more cognisant of is how digital technology is changing us; who we are, what we care about, what we value.

Over recent years the increased access to information has given consumers more choice and more power. Today’s customers – business and consumer -  have an expectation we will tailor our products and services to their specific needs. Because communications are instantaneous they expect us to respond to them in real time (via the communications channel they choose).

And the convergence of digital and social is creating opportunities for companies and customers to create and participate in shared communities of interest. Increasingly we see customers not just commenting on products, services and experience but also reaching out seeking to participate in communities around products or ideas they care about.

This is exactly what we should be tapping into: the changing expectationsand needs of customers, and their willingness to communicate and share their ideas.

Innovation begins not with technology but with the creation of innovative customer value. And the creation of customer value is dependent on a deep insight into customers and their changing needs and expectations. It is the result of deep immersion into customers and their world.

Those insights can lead to the creation of new and innovative value; value that may well be enabled and facilitated by the wonders of technology.

Technology should be considered from two key perspectives:

  • Firstly, how is technology changing our customers and broader customer markets, both now and into the future? How will it shape what customers value, what customers need and how they behave?
  • Secondly, how can technology help us to deliver exceptional customer value both now and into the future? How can we apply technology to know customers better, communicate with them more meaningfully, and create products, services and experiences that provide exceptional customer value? How can technology help us extend into new markets spaces and capture new demand?

Alone, technology is just innovation without value. Start with the customer and technology creates innovation that is valued – the only type of innovation that succeeds.

*Deloitte Digital Whitepaper ‘Short Fuse, Big Bang’ and ‘Harnessing the Bang’.Click here