Tech innovation is the cornerstone of competitive strategy

We have entered a new era of technological advancements. This time it is different. Multiple technologies will rapidly evolve during the same period of time and create an unprecedented period of change. This is just a glimpse.

Innovation & Competitive Advantage
Credit: KCInsights

Competitive difficulties have pressured many organizations to more aggressively adopt innovation as the cornerstone of their strategy to succeed in today’s global business environment. You may not realize it but three-quarters of all senior executives rank innovation as one of their company’s top strategic priorities. That came out of a survey by the Boston Consulting Group

Stop for a moment and consider the opportunities created by the connected car -- vehicles becoming a computing platform. Think of all the business opportunities this innovation creates. I was speaking about emerging technologies and an audience question led to a conversation centered on a “near-real-time” location based marketing platform that would message the vehicle/smartphone via the Internet connection with specific advertising of offering within the immediate area. It is easy to see how marketing organizations would integrate the time of day and current vehicle location into the selection of appropriate ads. While this is an interesting concept, there is something concerning about pop-up (images and audio) ads in your ears and on your dashboard while driving. I know it concerns me.

The presenter acknowledged the concerns addressing them with the following example. You are driving your new car down the highway at 8:20 pm. The driver-side rear tire pressure sensor detects a steady decrease in tire pressure. The vehicle alerts your manufacturer service center (MSC) and their system identifies a service provider within their service network they they established has a replacement tire (if necessary), and is close to the vehicles current location and still open. The vehicle receives a message from the MSC and a voice comes on and states, “A problem has been detected with your rear driver-side tire. It requires immediate service. Please proceed to Will’s Wheels ¼ mile ahead (GPS directions sent) on the right and they will take care of the problem.”

This is a near-real-time location and time-based services opportunity exploitation and well beyond advertising. The operator would likely not see this as advertisement. It would be viewed as a value added service. Think about the competitive advantage Will’s Wheels has in this example! They get first shot at this revenue opportunity. Think about all the opportunities! 

Multiple emerging technologies are becoming the basis of modern competitive strategies that are destined to have a profound and lasting impact on existing businesses and create opportunities for new ones. The connected vehicle is just one example. When you consider all the possibilities that will be created by the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable computing, the connected vehicle, 3D printing, robotics and other rapidly advancing technologies that will emerge over the next three to five years, the opportunities will be far greater than we have experienced throughout our history.

The challenge for organizations is to innovatively leverage one or more of these emerging technologies and rapidly integrate them into their organization’s strategy as they evolve. That translates to nearly continuous change. However, many organizations are suffering from inertia and will resist this period of change. They are destined to be aggressively shoved aside by more innovative competitors, both new and existing.

Innovation intensity will increase globally as new technologies burst on the scene as a competitive pressure. Many of these emerging technologies will create dramatic changes in the business environment as well as changing the lives of most individuals. This requires a far more aggressive action than just adopting an “innovation policy.” That is the typical response by many organizations and has been a growing trend in the last few years. In many cases, it is nothing more than a check-box on the to-do list of management. Organizations large and small must take a proactive posture and closely monitor emerging technologies that are three to five years out as well as what is being released this year. Their very existence may rely on their abilities to do that!

Given the accelerating pace of innovation, how do you plan on keeping up? All organizations need to recognize and accept this heightened period of innovation and become proactive. All organizations must take steps to knock down the roadblocks to innovative change within their organizations. 

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