Kathryn Hume, VP of integrate.ai, discusses the current boundaries between artificially intelligent machines, and humans. While the power of A.I. can conjure up some of our darkest fears, she says the reality is that there is still a whole lot that A.I. can’t do. So far, A.I. is able to accomplish some tasks that humans might need a lot of training for, such as diagnosing cancer. But she says those tasks are actually more simple than we might think – and that algorithms still can’t replace emotional intelligence just yet. Plus, A.I. might just help us discover new business opportunities we didn’t know existed.
Innovation is famously difficult — many projects end up losing money, frustrating employees, and going nowhere. And yet corporations and governments spend billions of dollars annually pursuing innovation. This huge spending would generate more value for businesses and societies if the innovation success rate were just a little higher. Is there a way to increase the success rate without spending more?
We think there is. Innovation projects often fail because the resources are spent on the wrong kind of innovation. Too much money is spent on attention-grabbing activities that are straightforward to do, like hiring new people, procuring new technologies, and buying more facilities. It is much less obvious, and usually harder, to change the design of a current service system, introduce new customer experiences, or build a better business model — but the return on those investments may be much higher.
Innovation needs to be considered
It turns out that the word “innovation” is not a Harry Potter-esque magical incantation that, once spoken, renders companies more inventive, creative, and entrepreneurial. The word can be uttered by a CEO speaking to employees or Wall Street analysts. It can be emblazoned on the door to a new innovation center in Silicon Valley. It can be inserted into people’s job titles. (Yes, even Toys R Us had a head of innovation.)
But there are thorny cultural, strategic, political, and budget issues that must be confronted by CEOs and other leaders if they want to ensure that their organizations can be hospitable to — rather than hostile to — new ideas.
In a survey fielded earlier this year for Innovation Leader, an online resource for corporate innovation teams of which I am editor, we asked about the most common obstacles to innovation in large companies. (To
Despite good intentions—and widespread acceptance of the importance of innovation—efforts to innovate at large companies often lack a clear mission and framework, and as a result, they go off the rails.
At one large European energy company we consulted with, no less than four separate corporate functions were supposed to be working on innovation—yet none of them was supporting critical needs at the business unit level. To make matters worse, the various functions involved were competing internally for space and resources, while duplicating each other’s work.
Without realizing it, even well-managed businesses versed in modern management practices can generate an environment that is hostile to innovation. For all of these reasons, large companies need to have a distinct Innovation Unit headed up by a senior executive who ideally reports to the CEO.
In our work at the European Center for Strategic Innovation (ECSI), we have extensively
Ignorance may be bliss for some, but ask anyone in commerce or finance, and they will make it abundantly clear: Ignorance is risk. For that reason, U.S. markets embrace reasonable regulation to ensure transparency and fairness. Stocks are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), commodities by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and government currency by the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. But an emergent fourth asset class, cryptocurrencies, has no single regulator, and that is leading to uncertainty and confusion.
In early June the SEC announced the appointment of one of the agency’s veteran attorneys, Valerie Szczepanik, as associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior adviser for Digital Assets and Innovation. This is a welcome development. As “crypto czar,” her job will be to rationalize the application of U.S. securities laws
Howard Yu, Lego Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD Business School in Switzerland, discusses how the industrial cluster in the Swiss city of Basel is a unique example of enduring competitive advantage. He explains how early dye makers were able to continually jump to new capabilities and thrive for generations. He says the story of those companies offers a counter-narrative to the pessimistic view that unless your company is Google or Apple, you can’t stay ahead of the competition for long. Yu is the author of LEAP: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied.
There is a healthcare crisis in the U.S. which cries out for breakthrough healthcare delivery innovations that aim at significant cost reductions and wider coverage. In 2016, the U.S. spent a staggering $3.2 trillion, or almost 18% of its GDP, on health care — that’s $10,000 per person, twice as much as any other country in the industrialized world. Innovation has the power to ratchet down U.S. costs quite dramatically over the next decade. We know this because in India innovators have found ways to deliver high-quality care to everyone — rich, poor, and virtually penniless — and make money doing it.
It all starts, as the stories below show, with purpose-driven leadership: a determination to provide high-quality, ultra-affordable health care to all, regardless of ability to pay:
Saving Eyesight at a Fraction of the Cost
Born and raised in Trichy, India, Kuppuswamy
Dell Technologies surveyed 3,800 business leaders from around the world to uncover their forecasts for the next decade. The research revealed a divided vision of the future but common ground on the need to transform and how.
Live from Dell Technologies World conference in May 2018, Matthew Saleski, global enterprise account executive at LinkedIn, sits down with Dell Technologies’ Stella Low, SVP of global communications, and Ari Lightman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College to discuss an overview of realizing 2030.
Matthew Saleski, LinkedIn
Hi everybody, we’re live here at Dell Technologies World 2018. My name is Matthew Saleski. I’m a global account director at LinkedIn. I’m here with Stella Low, she’s the senior vice-president of Global Communications at Dell.
Stella Low, Dell Technologies
Hey Matt, great to see you.
In 2006, 26-year-old Frank Wang started up DJI in a dorm room at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. The legend goes that Frank’s father had given him an expensive remote-controlled model helicopter for doing well in school. When the helicopter predictably crashed shortly after, Wang became determined to build a better controller. As part of his graduate thesis, he perfected an electronics flight controller, a critical element of drone technology. Today, Shenzhen-based DJI, of which one of us is a board member, holds a global market share of 70% in consumer drones and offers a window into the future of competition from China.
Western media has been quite critical of the Chinese miracle. The usual argument is that China has significant technology gaps, and that it has a long way to go before it can catch up with the West. But DJI is testament
Many companies have soared on the wings of radical ideas, from Polaroid’s instant camera to the sharing economy of firms like Airbnb.
Chef Massimo Bottura likewise upended convention in 1995 when he opened his restaurant, Osteria Francescana, in Modena, Italy, and started serving radically reinvented Italian dishes in a culture that placed a premium on tradition. His daring proved no flash in the pan. In 2016, two decades after (barely) surviving the ire of locals to become a three-Michelin-star destination, Osteria secured the top spot on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. And it has just been named No. 1 again.
What seemed like a risky move at the time — rebelling against beloved recipes shared across generations — made Bottura a star. That success could have bred complacency, followed by failure, as so often happens in companies across industries. Instead, at Osteria Francescana, success set
William Wrigley Jr., the American chewing gum tycoon, once noted that business is built by men who disagree, and that “When two men always agree, one of them is unnecessary.” Indeed, not just in business but also in politics, sports, and the arts, there is no shortage of real-world examples of successful partnerships that were fueled as much by the alignment of ideas as by creative tension or discord.
Miles Davis and John Coltrane revolutionized jazz, but they also had a volatile relationship that prompted “Trane” to leave the band twice. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were a total mismatch when it came to style and personality, but their ability to combine their strengths — Jobs the visionary salesman, Wozniak the genius inventor — was key to Apple’s DNA. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant won three consecutive NBA titles together, but they also had a
The Post-It note. Facebook’s “like” button. The Sony PlayStation. These products are all held up as legendary examples of the power of intrapreneurship — entrepreneurial creativity and innovation within large, established organizations. Since the term was coined in the 1980s, intrapreneurship has been sold to companies as a catch-all solution for fostering innovation. It’s been promoted to workers as a way to capture the creativity and excitement of entrepreneurship, but with more resources and less risk.
Intrapreneurs are supposed to be rebels, breaking the rules and swimming against the corporate tide. While this vision of the intrapreneurial maverick is certainly alluring, in truth it’s an ineffective way to drive innovation. After more than 20 years of researching innovation in large companies, it’s clear to me that the successful intrapreneur is often more myth than reality.
The experience of the typical intrapreneur looks less like Spencer Silver, who developed the
You’ve probably already heard of the rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) across many industries and applications. But, what about the application of AI and ML to agile development, testing and even portfolio management?
We’re all striving to deliver better products faster to meet customer needs in the marketplace and stay ahead of the competition. For nearly two decades, many companies have utilized the principles within the Agile Manifesto to deliver faster time-to-market than traditional, or linear development models.
So what is sparking the need to deliver even faster now and where do AI and ML fit in?
It’s All About the Data
We are in the age of instant
Will technology cost jobs in the long run, or increase them? Who is set up best for success in the fourth industrial revolution? In this edition of Trailblazers, a podcast series brought to you by Dell Technologies, we investigate the future of robotics. Join Walter Isaacson, former CNN Chairman and CEO, as he and Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, discuss how digital disruption will improve our lives.
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Walter Isaacson, host
Let me introduce Gary Shapiro, a long-time friend of mine. Head of the Consumer Technology Association but he’s also written a lot about innovation. Give us the history of robotics and machine learning as part of the CES industries that your Consumer Electronics Industries, when did they become big and your show and what issues do you face?
Gary Shapiro, Consumer Technology Association
Well, it’s going about 20-30%. We’re seeing artificial intelligence
In 2007 Joseph Golan, a division leader at Elop, an Israeli electro-optics company, faced a challenge.
As an experienced manager, he knew that his manufacturing and operation division’s success depended on getting creative ideas from his employees. But he also realized that the existing system was not working as needed. Only a relatively small group of employees submitted ideas through the system, which required them to prove the economic advantage of their ideas through a lengthy and complicated process. Over time, employees learned that developing and submitting new ideas was not worth the effort.
Over the past three decades, we have researched how leaders motivate their employees to come up with creative solutions to organizational problems. We’ve studied stereotypically “creative” firms, like design, R&D, and information technology companies, but we’ve also researched stereotypically “uncreative” environments, like Golan’s manufacturing plant at Elop (which is part of Elbit ISTAR). As you
For innovation-hungry legacy firms, partnering with a startup can be appealing. Relatively small sums of time and money can quickly yield generous returns. With due diligence and decent design, these partnerships can go beyond good results and energize organizations that have become too comfortable or complacent with everyday routines. In return, the startups typically get valuable references or valued customers.
“Startnership” success, however, is all too rare. The majority of aspiring start-up partnerships I see go horribly and expensively wrong. Mismanaged expectations, blown budgets, slipped schedules, and mutual contempt run rampant. With apologies to Tolstoy, all happy start-up partnerships are alike; every unhappy innovation partnership is unhappy in its own way.
The key common denominator to success isn’t careful planning and comprehensive analysis, but taking fast, cheap, and simple pilots seriously. You’re probably familiar with the “minimum viable product” of Eric Ries’ Lean Start-Up fame; but here I’m talking
Everyone’s talking about a future in which vehicles are shared rather than owned, autonomous rather than driven, and where car companies make large shares of their profits on digital “mobility services.” But if you are the Ford Motor Company and face the prospect of investing billions in new technology while your century-old business model is overturned, you might first have a few questions. How are consumers going to react to all of this? What do they really want? How can you tell which opportunities are real and which are science fiction?
Sponsored by Accenture StrategyHow to make your company more nimble and responsive.
To help test drive the future, in 2016 Ford paid about $50 million to acquire Chariot, a startup mobility service. Incubated at Y Combinator, the venture was aimed squarely at the most important, most reliable, most consistent
Industry 4.0 is the catchall name for the current trend of harnessing the intersection of technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to create smarter, more productive, more resilient, and more adaptable factories and industrial processes. There is a lot of talk about Industry 4.0, but it can be challenging for companies to start getting their feet wet experimenting with this amalgam of technologies, let alone to deploy them at scale.
One practical example of Industry 4.0 in action is the swarm of robots that power Ocado’s new generation of automated warehouses for online grocery. Think of it as a huge chessboard where thousands of robots roam along rows or columns like rooks, and under every chess square is a stack of storage bins containing groceries. A robot can stop on
Microprocessor (CPU) with human brain
Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers the prospect of a frictionless existence, making us more efficient, helping us prevent mistakes, spotting the onset of potential problems before they become problems, and enabling us to spend more time on the things that really matter to us.
It is still “early days” for AI. Consumers have yet to get a real taste for it, but when they do, it will become a powerful new drug. They will demand that all their products display this new level of smartness, develop a hunger for applications and services to get ever smarter, and expect them to “play smartly” with one another. This “smartness” will become an important source of differentiation. This has been our experience at Ocado, a leading online-only grocery retailer, as we’ve embedded AI across our technology estate.
AI at Ocado
A lean startup approach, we are told, can empower big companies to innovate rapidly and effectively in the face of continual disruption, potentially even transforming enterprises into centers of continual new growth. Responding to this promise, many companies have started putting these ideas to use: A recent study of 170 organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue found that over 82% are currently using a lean startup approach in some aspect of their business.
Yet for all of the resources that have gone into applying a lean approach, these organizations do not have much to show yet. Faster times to market, greater flexibility on the way there, and greater focus on the customer — common results of a successful lean implementation — are all positives. However, they hardly represent the transformation that has been promised with this new approach.
What is missing from this equation for