Most Corporate Innovation Labs Fail

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Dev Cham

August 11, 2019

Smart Start Development

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back.Every organization I have worked have had them, improved them, re-organized them, or re-started them. I have found them a total waste of time and effort through my career, and one the prime reasons for my dissatisfaction as an employee and someone who worked on futuristic solutions looking a few years from now or even building a brand business segment with new concepts.

Let me tell you about some concepts I have been able to produce as part of the innovation labs in various roles I have played:

Skype – chat style communication long before skype was even born. We were able to produce features like user-presence, multi-party add and remove, switching to video and back to audio, mute, multi-group calling features like lecture mode, collaboration mode, etc

Facetime – a video calling platform with picture-in-picture using flip Motorola phone using a single rotating camera in the middle. We were able to even think beyond the single camera and think of concepts like – “I see you” and “I show you”.

Whats-app – a very lightweight chat software that used a phone number as user login. This concept was so naive to leaders – they could not get their heads away from login using an email address instead.  The concept that simplifies user login dramatically and literally everyone already had a phone number. Think the global nature of a phone number – everyone at that time had a phone but not email (of course this is a long time).

So, what can corporates do to not fail when it comes to innovation.

  1. Innovation’s monetary value is never realized within the structure of the innovation lab.
  2. The wrong audience to get user feedback
  3. They almost never leave the small circle of evaluators
  4. Adaption to change
  5. Realizing ROI takes real work

 

However, it DOES NOT make sense to approach external technology solutions without really recognizing the dangers, problems, AND hidden cost that can be associated with implementing them — And, instead learning how to compensate for the downside potential by utilizing what you already have sitting in front of you right now.
What I’m saying is that we believe, it makes sense to first maximize and optimize internally (or what I call “Internal 100X Profit Growth”) in your business before — or at
least — while you are looking at integrating “disruptive” technological breakthroughs

It costs a fortune, takes far longer, you have to choose all the right technology “matches,” you need to hire multiple
high-priced Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR),
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics experts from outside –
most of which are NOT familiar with YOUR unique business
requirements, everything must work seamlessly, or your
business is screwed.

The expertise of Technological Experts

There is a broad range in the relative expertise of technological experts – As the saying goes – 50% of all doctors graduated at the bottom half of their
class. The same is true of experts. Even in the case of a
highly-skilled expert, this person may only be fluent in a single or limited number of business line applications.

If Hiring An Expert Was Enough And Everything Was Done At That Point, It’d Be Ok – HOWEVER… Developing A Strategic VR/AR/AI Implementation Plan, Is Like Starting A Whole New Business.

Thinking Holistically About New Technologies

Very few companies are thinking holistically about new technologies. While solving a single problem using the right tech has value, deploying individual siloed solutions will cost exponentially more and (as mentioned previously), may not integrate seamlessly with each other or with legacy systems.

 

First: Figure out exactly what cutting edge technology you
need/want to employ/deploy to propel those 10X Exponential Business Moonshots . Typically, these technologists are recommending virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, etc.

But what they don’t tell you is the new VR, AR, AI, etc. product
they are proposing – unless the product is something like
Infusionsoft, Salesforce or other technology designed to
seamlessly integrate and play well with other programs or
technology – may not work within your existing system(s). And
if you wanted to “make it work”, you may have to invest
considerably in custom programming and/or APIs ( Application
programming interfaces).

Two: You have to figure out what type of VR, AR, AI, Robotics
etc. application is most applicable to move your
“moonshot-worthy goal” forward based on your unique set of
scenarios – plus, which version of said technology to choose.

Three: Since chances are neither you (nor your internal IT staff)
are already fine tuned technologist-worthy VR, AR, AI and/or
Robotics experts – you’ve got to bring in a high-priced (possibly
theoretical), BUT ultra-mission-critical specialist or multiple
specialists– to figure out your “moonshot-worthy” applications
and specific technologies to accomplish them – and keep in
mind their billing clocks keep ticking the whole time.

None of the “do it now / commit unimaginable resource risk”
experts recommend that – before pulling any costly, dangerous
financial triggers… you need to first immerse yourself in the
best, most respected, objective and honest industry

 

newsletters, magazines, associations, trade shows (your own
due dilligence and research) to learn about high-tech product,
not just the arbitrary ones chosen by your experts!

If Hiring An Expert Was Enough And Everything Was
Done At That Point, It’d Be Ok – HOWEVER…
Developing A Strategic VR/AR/AI Implementation Plan,

Is Like Starting A Whole New Business.

Four: You’ve got to hope these technologies ALL work together,
integrate, and deliver the theoretical “Moonshot” outcomes
you’ve so critically contemplated.

But, what if they don’t?

It’s more experts, more integration trial and error, more
replacement technology, more Virtual Reality, Artificial
Intelligence, and Robotics ( Ka-ching, Ka-ching, Ka-ching )

Five: More times than not it is far more speculative, and
dauntingly more time consuming , and expensive than you’ve
been “theoretically” advised or are expecting.

Most high-tech industries are too new to show consistent
integrative success – except maybe Robotics.

The implementation process can totally compromise your entire
existing operation and sabotage cash
flow/product/service/delivery performance, if any one thing
goes wrong, let alone everything!

All the while, you’re draining capital, diminishing gross profits,
diverting cash-flow, stressing your entire operations, financial
structure and production process – and the timelines and
budget estimates keep growing larger and larger, longer and
longer, and it doesn’t stop there.

Six:If you look at it metaphorically, you’ve turned yourself into
an amateur in the unintentional Venture Capitalist world, or
worse, an inexperienced technology gambler – speculating,
betting big money on seven-to-ten functions, factors, and
phases that all need to go right – or your enterprise is screwed.
The best venture capitalists win 1 out of 15-to-20 deals.
Gamblers win 50/50. You have to win 100% on all counts – with
hired hands doing all the vetting.

 

But don’t misunderstand me.I’m not saying don’t go for an
externally driven – 10X Exponential Business Growth
“ Moonshot!”

Instead I’m saying that…

Before, during, and even after you finally figure out and
successfully finish the “Moonshot Maze,” as I call it – utilize the
little-discussed, rarely understood,and yet undeniably
high-probability / high-profit yield that MY success-proven, 100X
Exponential (Internal) Profit Growth System promises – to
generate ALL the capital, to run a failsafe dual system, while
perfecting your technology-based version.

Using my 100X Exponential (Internal) Profit Growth System can
help guarantee the financial cash flow and multiplying profit
HEDGE you’ll need, to go the distance until your “moonshot”
delivers it’s payload.

 

Well, What do I mean by Successfully Stuck ? Many seemingly
successful companies can actually be ” SUCCESSFULLY Stuck “

thinking a nice annual revenue and profit gain is wonderful –
when in fact it’s a fraction of the potential yield that internal
strategies can produce.

If you’re keeping score of the totals so far – if you merely start
internally, or at least, do Internal Exponential Profit Growth
processes while simultaneouslyimplementing your
technology-driven “Moonshot” – it’s a very real way to cover
most, all, or MORE than all your External Moonshot costs.

 

Well, What do I mean by Successfully Stuck ? Many seemingly
successful companies can actually be ” SUCCESSFULLY Stuck “

thinking a nice annual revenue and profit gain is wonderful –
when in fact it’s a fraction of the potential yield that internal
strategies can produce.

If you’re keeping score of the totals so far – if you merely start
internally, or at least, do Internal Exponential Profit Growth
processes while simultaneously Implementing your
technology-driven “Moonshot” – it’s a very real way to cover
most, all, or MORE than all your External Moonshot costs.

Here are just a few ways in which ” Tech Plays ” could go
wrong and why you should consider using more Internal
Profit Growth Strategies:
1)The technology form factors are evolving rapidly – Various
mobile & computing devices will become obsolete, creating
platform winners and losers. If you pick a loser, unraveling the
integration could be disastrous!

2)Many recent technologies are not yet fully-baked proven
solutions. Choosing any new high-tech platform can be a

high-risk endeavor these days. Not to mention that layering
multiple technologies together can increase both your capital
expense and potential margin of error – EXPONENTIALLY .

3)Most IT Departments are not equipped to integrate and/or
manage the onslaught of new applications quickly and
efficiently.

4)Network Standards and speeds (such as 5G and fiber optics)
are evolving but with a slow roll out. Cloud computing is also
evolving but security still remains to be an issue. Because of
this, many companies still require on-site/in-house solutions
which pose additional expenses and deployment challenges.

5)Within any workforce, there is a often a lot of fear and
reluctance around adopting new technologies. Workflow may
slow down or even come to a complete halt during the roll out
of a new technology – Requiring a change in management
structure/strategy to accommodate these learning curves and
roadblocks.

6)A company’s workforce will inherently be more willing and
efficient in implementing internal strategies for which they
already have experience. It also provides the opportunity for
workforce personal wins – which will be beneficial in reducing friction towards the future implementation of newer
technologies.

It’s Still Frontier Tech – The Digital mindset is already here and
we can learn from the evolution of the internet & mobile
technologies. VR, AR & AI, Robotics, Blockchain, etc. are the
next frontier. Each has its own set of complications –
aggregate, there simply isn’t enough data out there to support
adoption at scale .

Technological progress is certainly coming at a rapid pace and
we are pushing boundaries on all fronts. But in the same way
the FDA tests and approves a drug before it can hit the market,
this same strategy is needed to implement “FRONTIER TECH.”
Slow and steady wins the race.

Internal Growth Strategies And Thier Tech Counterparts –An
interesting exercise might be to map the Internal Growth
Strategies to a tech counterpart. The exercise of identifying and
implementing improvements to these internal impact points
may lead to a parallel path where tech can bring additional
success – (this is the next phase). We should learn from the
Internet & Mobile era.

 

 

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