There are two paths to innovation. One resides in our timeline just beyond now—solving a problem that exists today with technologies and resources available today. For comparison’s sake, let’s call it simple forecasting. The other path resides in our timeline years into the future—solving a problem that is, at least according to the tea leaves of trends and R&D pipelines, imminent, using technologies or resources that may not be currently available. That’s futurecasting.
Watching the world’s automakers respond (or not, as the case may be) to Tesla, has been interesting, to say the least. I find it fascinating to see an established market watch a competitor waltz in and secure a beachhead in a successful new category, with a near-zero response from the established powers for years.
According to Nielsen, Gen Z now comprises 26% of the media audience. And Magnani’s own proprietary research with Gen Z’s show members of this generation believe that they have been dealt a hard hand in comparison to previous generations. They are concerned about large and complicated global issues, such as climate change and gun violence. And are very aware that the actions they (and we all) take today will impact their future.
There’s a classic Venn diagram generally attributed to Ideo’s Tim Brown that points to the reality that for an idea to be considered an innovation, it needs to satisfy three criteria: desirability (people would want it), feasibility (it is something that can realistically be created) and viability (it can be made and offered in a way that makes financial sense for the business). Academics or inspired home tinkerers may be satisfied with any combination of one or two of these qualities, but a business, especially a publicly held business, needs to satisfy all three.
What most people forget about the most game-changing innovations is that, more often than not, they satisfied some unmet basic need in a simple way. The breadth and complexity of the effect of that innovation came later, as more and more people found more and more ways to utilize that innovation to address some variation of the original need. Keeping that in mind, if you’re charged with corporate innovation, there are a lot of reasons to focus on simple, small innovations. Let’s explore!
It’s a time-worn cliché. Businesses are so busy serving customers that they often neglect to improve the experiences of their own employees. Enter Digital Employee Experience design or DEX.
Over the past 30+ years, Magnani has had the pleasure of working with clients across a variety of industries—from health care to hospitality, industrial equipment to medical devices, household cleaning products to sporting goods, dining cruises to the world’s most highly traded financial derivatives contracts, just to name a few. Each engagement has broadened our collective perspectives while confirming one underlying truth: Regardless of emerging trends, ongoing changes in technologies or the idiosyncrasies of individual markets, the fundamentals of human nature remain constant.
To those new to the concept, the term design thinking may seem like something that only designers could, or should, do. But nothing could be further from the truth. Business design thinking is the utilization of the traditional design-thinking methodology to conduct a more human-centered examination of a product, service or experience, to define what aspects of those things might be improved, to imagine and prototype solutions for addressing those improvable aspects, and to test and refine your solutions.
In a perfect world, every department within every company, and all of the incentive packages of everyone working in every department making up those companies would be aligned around delivering a seamless, amazing digital customer experience. But in our professional experience, there are frequent debates (some of them quite fierce) about what department or group “owns” it. That debate arises from a number of factors. The most common, as you may have guessed from reading the opening line of this post, is misalignment between budget authority, project accountability, and controls.