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

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So Welcome to the Age of Digital Innovation

New age of innovationDigital technology is about to become the precursor for all the changes we have put off for years within our organizations.

We need to radically improve our abilities to engage, relate and discover new innovation opportunities at a completely different level of faster performance.

There are many issues both strategic and tactical to work through, to extract the rich potential from any digital transformation for new innovation growth outcomes

The final part of a seven part series –  a new dawn or your worst nightmare?’

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The Need to Automate the Innovation Process

New Technology Dawns 6There has always been a consistent call to automate the innovation process. Now it might turn into a stampede, based on real ‘digital’ need.

We have made solid progress in the use of out-of-the box software for capturing ideas at the ‘fuzzy front end.’

We have developed pipelines and use product life cycle software systems to manage this through to commercialisation.

Yet today we still have a fragmented, often broken innovation process, very reliant on the manual processes, where the human intervention dominates. Can this be changed? Technology must form a greater core of the innovation process.

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The need to respond quickly to new business objectives

New Technology Dawns 5The business objectives will change as we invest heavily in digital technologies, as we increasingly recognize and embrace this changing world where digital knowledge and insights begins to challenge and change our existing frameworks of innovation thinking.

Part five of a seven part series

The outcomes of the investment are expected to provide clear returns and these might include but not limited too: 1) different customization of services 2) quicker response to market trends in new offerings 3) identifying real-time cost optimizations, 4) concentrating on faster, more accurate decision-making to give new competitive edges 5) better and more holistic R&D 6) automate even further the supply chain management, 7) alter you approach to channels to market, 8) move your business into new adjacencies or even white spaces and finally 9) design new business models and value propositions.

There will be lots of new moving parts to grapple with to be future innovation agile.

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IT is Struggling to be the Digital Technology Master

New Technology Dawns 4There is so much occurring in new applications and alternative solutions, it is a very tough position for most dealing in technology to truly master all  of these breaking options they might have to consider.

It must be a little overwhelming, when many responsible for IT have for years not had any strategic involvement and not been given clear line-of-business oversight.

Business management equally has over the years built up an ‘arm’s distance’ to IT and found ways to overcome barriers they felt were seemingly put in their way, when it came to ‘bringing in’ the technology they deemed as essential.

Something needs to change going forward. Both the business manager and the IT need to find ways to exchange, collaborate and share. It is in their ‘vested’ interest but more importantly for the future health of the business itself.

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Aligning digital discovery with physical innovation outcomes.

New Technology Dawns 3We really do seem to be in a really evolutionary period, with the explosion of change taking place in the post-digital world of cloud, big data, social and interconnected devices.

The discovery of insights from all this embedded intelligence, social activity and data analytics is leading us to realize a potentially significant wave of new innovation opportunities from this digital knowledge.

The question is “are we internally ready for this?” Are our innovation systems and structures able to adapt to a need for exploiting ‘breaking’ opportunities where speed and agility becomes a critical deciding factor to capitalize on breaking commercial advantage by tapping into all these fresh insights?

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Is the balance in innovation activity about to change?

New Technology Dawns 2Is digital technology we see emerging today going to be able to provide the positive tension between rational and randomness that takes place in our innovation activities today?

Will digital begin to dominate our innovation thinking, will we lose this randomness, this spark of human creativity or will it be allowing this to connect multiple strands in new, more exciting ways? How are we going to adjust to the changing way technology will impose itself on our innovation activities and needs?

How will all this Mobile Connectivity, Cloud Computing, Social Media, Crowdsourcing, Internet of Things, Industrialinternet, Big Data, Analytics, 3D Printing and Scanning be presented and managed as a part of successful business scenarios and intertwined with changes of social behavior? Are our existing innovation systems ready for this potentially set of sweeping changes of knowledge inflows and translation, so they can be successfully commercialized into new innovation?

Part two within the series of seven

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