Overwhelmed, underwhelmed at the Web Summit, Lisbon

I am taking the opportunity to review the Web Summit, held in Lisbon last week of 5th (evening) to 8th November 2018. The Web Summit, originally Dublin Web Summit, is a technology conference held annually since 2009. The company was founded by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly, and Daire Hickey. The topic of the conference is centered on internet technology and I went looking for multiple innovation angles and left actually disappointed.

I do have to admit I did head to the Web Summit a little biased. Everything “smacked” of commercialization on a big scale. I never really got past this judgment. I had been invited so should I be so cynical or ungrateful, perhaps not but it is hard not to get past this “sheer” commercialization and randomness. I’ll explain randomness later.

When you are told “Forbes has said we run “the best technology conference on the planet”;  or The Atlantic that Web Summit is “where the future goes to be born”;  The New York Times that we assemble “a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.”

These overhyped claims roll on “Bloomberg calls it “Davos for geeks”, Politico “the Olympics of tech”, and the Guardian “Glastonbury for geeks”. My eyes are rolling on these. Overhype is an understatement.

The publicity blurb adds “At a time of great uncertainty for industry upon industry and the world itself, we gather the founders and CEOs of technology companies, fast-growing startups, policymakers and heads of state to ask a simple question: where to next?”

This year over 70,000 people were heading to Lisbon for this Web Summit. Continue reading

Advertisements

Why Are We Making Innovation So Complex?

It always amazes me how we limit growth by not investing fully in innovation. While most large companies want to become more agile and innovative, many of them fail to turn this wish into a reality.

There is this consistent need or pressure to grow, yet that specific needle stays stubbornly stuck in low growth numbers, even with all this innovation talk and desire. Why is that? We know you simply grow a business by choosing a mix of investing in innovation, merger, and acquisitions or releasing your resources into more profitable activities. Innovation as a dedicated activity still sits uncomfortably within many organizations.

To try and catalyze growth, companies undergo perennial reorganizations, often to revitalize themselves. According to a Deloitte report, 50 percent of companies are undergoing an organizational transformation, yet only 11 percent think they will succeed. What’s worse, 70 percent of transformation programs do fail. In these failures, we only seem to continue to layer on complexity as a further stop-gap measure.

It is no wonder we’re growing increasingly pessimistic about making a positive change to a different transforming model within organizations. Without innovation taking a more leading transforming role, most of our established companies will continue to struggle to break out of their existing approach to business. Far too many are mired in a past business mindset. Continue reading

How do we measure success in our digital transformation? A journey of discovery

How do we find answers to knowing what measures give us for success in any digital transformation? Are today’s measures relevant to tomorrow, are they still based on our legacy system of measurement, when a business was operating in a stable, predictable environment?

Today, I think we certainly have a beginning point but all of us lack a clarity of the end point of where digital transformation will take us. Why, well I think this nicely puts it, we have to move or be moved. Nicely put Mirko

Yes, we can measure success in our progress but these are in both multiple and equally personal ways.

Each organization is unique. Never has this become crystal clear that when you face your own transformation journey. You can learn from others, you can adapt but you need to clearly understand where you are in your own evolution and capacity to undertake change as it is simply your journey. This has not been as well recognized as it is today when we attempt to make any transition, from the old ways of doing business to the new one; that is highly connected, collaborative and based on our growing reliance on technology and ‘everything’ digital. It can become life-changing. Continue reading

Moving to a Digital World totally across your Business is highly challenging

Transformation is very hard at the best of times for all of us to undertake. Digital transformation forces us to work with mostly emerging, constantly evolving technologies, and then apply these in an integrated way into an existing business. This stretches our abilities significantly, as we may remain unclear of the finished design for quite some time.

We have to evolve it, as we go. With anything that is evolving in front of our eyes, we will need to recognize some of the decisions we will make will turn out to be wrong but made as a good judgment at the time, on ’emerging’ evidence, not proven. Achieving a digital transformation is becoming really essential for innovation, helping to enable your ability to deliver sustained growth through making all the ‘connections’ come together in different ways than ever before; in evaluations, analysis, in collaborations and in the process from discovery to eventual commercialization.

Digital transformation executed well is a really big undertaking. It goes way beyond making a series of incremental improvements to become cloud-ready as are supposed to build in and reflect social, mobile and digital technologies in the solution set. We need to fundamentally transform our processes by opening up and engaging with customers in dramatically different ways, in real-time, in constant exchanges and connected ways. Everything needs to be tracked and traced. Continue reading

Digital technology is changing the innovation ‘game’

Digital technologies are beginning to have a real impact on the methods, approaches, and rates of our innovation outputs. Social technologies are giving us real-time understanding.

We continually learn nthat intuition and ‘gut feel’ on research set up and gathered weeks or more often months ago, has a hidden cost as it rapidly goes out of date. This ‘knowledge’ is becoming out of date before we can gain from it and sometimes highly dangerous to follow, or believe in in the more volitile market conditions of today’s, those that are rapidly changing. We need to get closer to ‘real-time.’

This reliance on rapidly out-of-date understanding cannot be the basis for any justifications for high-stake bets when it comes to innovation. We need to change our thinking and design in the digital insight part more specifically within and along the innovation process. Technology in all its forms is altering the innovation game but are we adapting to this radical change potential? We need to embrace it. Continue reading

The backdrop of digital transformation and its consequences

Digital transformation is now omnipresent and has the potential to reshape the way all organizations operate. The customer has become absolutely central to this transformation and the push towards the 4th Industrial revolution is driving this transformation wholesale, across all industries and services engaged in business.

Let me outline some of the challenges in my opinion that might help us all form a clear view of the digital transformation journey, recently researched.

Firstly I’m sure we can all agree transformation is very hard at the best of times

Digital transformation is doubly difficult, it forces us to work with mostly emerging, constantly evolving technologies, and then apply these in an integrated way into an existing business. This stretches our abilities significantly.

Beyond making a series of incremental improvements to become cloud-ready, we are supposed to reflect social, mobile and digital technologies. We need to fundamentally transform our processes by opening up and engaging with customers. On top, we have to deal with a broad range of communities, across platforms and in different ecosystems at speed, scale, and scope. However, we must do all this to reposition all our businesses towards the digital world.

I provided a recent digital transformation report that might help you in planning this digital journey.

Continue reading

Please forget best practice, it is all about next practice

for-next-practiceOften you hear the request made of “can you give us a best practice snapshot; we would like to get a sense of where we are”.

Firstly please forget best practice, this is a mistake for you in a rapidly changing world

The trouble with best practice is you are looking at someone else’s practices and these are highly individual, made up of different groups of methodologies, processes, rules, theories, values and concepts. These together have provided that specific company a level of success that others – mostly competitors – begin to notice and just attempt to copy.

No, there is no such thing as best practices, only your own distinct practices, specific to your own environment, history and needs, you can’t simply pick up and plug and play, as one organization’s initiative is never the same set of conditions or positioning that others can simply copy.

Continue reading