Is this really breaking the traditional model on Innovation?

Cap Gemini AIEI came across the recent launch of Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange today, it left me puzzled. Firstly the latest part of their hub network opened up in San Fransisco in mid January, yet I’m wondering why this is the first time I have come across this?.

Putting that aside the website, the current point of reference, leaves me puzzled, a little unclear on its ‘compelling’ proposition. I think I get it but it simply strikes me as a launch as ‘thin,’ on really spelling it out for me, or surely the very clients, in its value and potential. It actually seems a very minimum viable product.  I just had to go in search of a better understanding.

The concept of having any “applied innovation exchange” coming from Capgemini should be promising, as somewhere to go, as they are a leading technology consulting practice. It ‘seems’ to be offering a connecting platform, well-established ecosystem advantages but it seems so understated here.

Why? It seems so tenuous, a toe in the water. I would have expected a much bigger bang here. The website told me just enough but I think it should have delivered more.

My understanding came more from the press release

So to get a better understanding I actually had to reverted to the press release and that provided more than the website in providing some improved clarity, as there seems precious little else at present. It seems they are offering a place and a digital space where others can come and play, to accelerate their innovation activities.

According to this press release AIE is “an integrated system, offering a process to rapidly and securely gain competitive advantage in today’s fast-pace innovation market landscape, by compressing cycle time from discovery to deployment of innovation“. Now that would be good news for nearly any innovation team, as they all seem to be under growing pressure to add even more speed from idea to final concept, so they can get their innovation ideas out of the door. Yet my puzzlement shifted a little here on the optimism of this.

The solutions are coming from offer spaces and “exchanges” where organizations are able to immerse themselves in the understanding, experimentation and application of all aspects of emerging technologies, as well as addressing the business disruptions confronting them and their industries”. Again my pulse moves up a notch or two on this. Although these did seem to be bricks and mortar, more than cloud and remote based.

Also they will be offering a global curated ecosystem of innovation partners and a framework of tried and tested tools to help enterprises to exploit these market disruptions in a structured way. I assume ‘the curated by’ will be by Cap Gemini as it is their Exchange.

The physical spaces they are providing are presently in Munich, Paris, Lille, Toulouse, Utrecht, Mumbai, Melbourne and now San Fransisco, followed soon by London, that will house key sectoral and process domain expertise, to allow the applications of these “innovations” to their specific business connect need. Presently these are working on different solutions for the automotive sector, virtual reality glasses, agile products and services for energy, developing applications for the French Railway (SNCF for connected watches) and a number of other examples outlined in the press release.

The promise presented in this release is also that they will provide the connecting up to other significant global technology players, most already in the Capgemini network, with the intent to build a global network of start-ups, academic institutions, research organizations, access to venture capital and private equity firms.

The promise is that this AIE ecosystem will be an operating framework constantly evolving taking a greater collaborative approach and allowing the balance between external and internal thinking to apply innovative solutions.

Returning to the web site of AIE

Here is the puzzle, I was really expecting something that underscored platforms, ecosystems, gave a greater clarification of partners, a greater story on all this physical space being offered; what was in it to play with, learn from and engagement with, but it remains “thin” and this from a leading technology consultant. The client stories help validate an (emerging) concept but does it really differ itself, in ways that make me stop and feel that this Applied Innovation Exchange is really different?

I’m not sure on what I see going back to the website, it looks like a story unfolding possibly, that might have been put together quickly or in this MVP way. It seems to have a very limited architecture or depth behind it as far as you can initially explore- for me it seems somewhat beyond a placeholder but it just does not seem to reflect a real “connected thinking” behind it, that you would expect from one of the global digital leading consulting firms.

It is speaking the language of need but I’m yet unsure of if it’s a game changer or “breaking traditional models” even though it is suggesting it is taking a multi-party collaborative approach.

Being far too cautious perhaps?

For me it is a wait and see, what about for others? I believe in platforms and written fairly extensively on these (here,and here), ecosystems (here) and (here), collaborative innovation (here) and (here), transcending different industry boundaries (here),  where consultants can contribute (here) and (here) . Equally presenting the arguments that there is this need is to shift to a new radical model (here) and are we getting real value out of the existing innovation consultants (here), which I certainly believe we are not. I felt Capgemini could have presented a more compelling and connecting story for this launch

Have Capgemini fallen into the trap that I’ve written about before (here) of “Consultants are far too cautious for their own good It is often harder to make internal change than providing the advice for others to make. As I assume this was all internally driven you enter the world of the typical client, lots of conflicting opinions, worries of risk, what to reveal and provide, as others are watching and can be fairly nimble if they spot something different. Maybe this is an assumption too far but it is not delivering a wow factor, yet for me.

Bridging the intent with the present deliver

So I hear you Capgemini on the intent, I would suggest the execution and launch might not be living up to this as yet. Still it is early days, or I am missing something a whole lot deeper that is failing to be conveyed in this website? .As I say, the press release gave a whole lot more than this site. Is that a good thing as it stands?

There is a real need to put some ‘red meat’ on the bone here or perhaps a seen ‘gap in the market’ might be lost to others as they can explain it better, Capgemini needs to recognize urgently this real need for a deeper understanding presently missing.

Equally internally, in consultants you have strong and diverse opinions and I would fear these potential internal antibodies kick-in and go back to the traditional practice unless they see their own compelling value, treating this as just another part of the technology service offering, an add-on, or perhaps it simply was just that, an extension to existing services?

2 thoughts on “Is this really breaking the traditional model on Innovation?

  1. CapGemini is probably catching up, rather than forging ahead. I suspect it is just an incremental offer tacked on to their already-existing ASEs.

    They don’t need to be at the forefront of the field: they are a big-name consultancy doing expensive projects for big-name companies.


  2. Pingback: In the blink of an eye, it gets something bigger | Paul4innovating's Innovation Views

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