The ‘Bird Test’: Building Relationships for Innovation

When I think back on my career, the work that I am most proud of occurred in the context of teams or leadership that matched my ideas with genuine interest. They might not have always supported it, but they took the time to listen, to throw questions my way, or to help me flesh it out.

On the flip side, I’ve had times when my ideas just got shrugged off–colleagues who doubted the idea from the get-go, managers who cut me off before I could even finish, leaders who couldn’t have seemed more uninterested. When that happened, I found myself holding back more the next time, overthinking every word instead of focusing on innovative thinking. Those were the situations and the people I couldn’t wait to move on from.

I’ll start to explain the psychological mechanisms that underlie reactions and its implications for fostering a culture of innovation in an unlikely place–a whimsical assessment termed, the “Bird Test.”

The Bird Test

The viral #BirdTest, is an assessment originally developed to gauge compatibility in romantic relationships. In the test, you observe how a person reacts when you point out a bird in passing. It’s less about the bird and more about whether your companion can engage with your excitement about something as simple yet profound as a bird’s presence. This test echoes the psychological concept of “bids for connection,” as proposed by relationship expert John Gottman.

Although originally developed for romantic relationships, I find it applicable to the realm of work for collegial and nonromantic relationships too.

In the aviary of innovation, bids for connection can be thought of as expressions of creative ideas or new approaches to problem-solving. When a team member presents a novel concept, the response from the team can either fuel or extinguish the innovative spark. Emulating the Bird Test, if the team responds with interest and enthusiasm, they not only validate the idea but also encourage a culture of innovation.

Curiosity as the Catalyst for Innovation

For innovators, the Bird Test is akin to celebrating curiosity—a key ingredient for innovation. A workplace that welcomes spontaneous ideas and curiosity with open arms stands at the forefront of breakthroughs. When developers sense that their Eureka! moments are met with genuine interest, they are emboldened to push the boundaries of what’s possible, propelling the entire team into new territories of innovation.

Building a Reliable and Cohesive Team

The Bird Test teaches that enthusiasm for shared moments builds trust and reliability, essential qualities for product developers. As team members regularly turn towards each other’s ideas with support and genuine interest, they build a strong network of trust. This trust is invaluable, especially when the team navigates the inherent risks and uncertainties of bringing new products to market.

Leadership and the Bird Test

Leaders of innovation teams can take a cue from the Bird Test by actively engaging with the ideas of their team members. A leader’s ability to recognize and nurture their team’s creative bids for connection can transform the average workplace into an incubator for innovation. This leadership style promotes a participative, inclusive, and psychologically safe environment where even the most audacious ideas are given wings.

Navigating the Challenges of Innovation Bids

Not all bids for connection will resonate with the entire team. In the context of product development, the challenge lies in addressing overlooked ideas without letting them ferment into discouragement. Cultivating a culture where developers can voice their concerns and feel heard is essential, ensuring that a missed bid does not lead to a missed opportunity for innovation.

The Takeaway for Innovators

For innovators and product developers, the Bird Test is more than a metaphor; it’s a reminder of the importance of shared excitement and engagement in the collaborative process. The test signifies a deeper truth: innovation is not just about the bright idea itself but also about how the team nurtures and responds to that idea.

Whether it’s the spark of inspiration from an unlikely source or collective problem-solving on the path to product launch, responding to each other’s creative bids for connection with enthusiasm can be the wind beneath the wings of success. It’s the shared passion, mirrored in the team’s dynamic, that allows for groundbreaking products to soar from the drawing board into reality.

Balancing the Innovation Partnership

All By Myself?

In the world of business, it’s all about developing key relationships. Put simply, as Anis Uzzaman, General Partner & CEO at Pegasus Tech Ventures, advises, don’t go it alone. Proceed with speed yet be cautious. Working together, and pooling resources and reducing the risk, might work better for all involved.

“Startups are in a unique position because their businesses were created based on innovative ideas. They are unencumbered by a bureaucratic corporate environment and are focused on offering their unique product or service to the customers who value it most,” says Uzzaman in the Forbes column, “Why Startup-Corporate Partnerships Can Result In Mutual Success.” However, entrepreneurs can still partner with corporations that can invest and offer them the expertise and connections that they need to break into new markets.

Meanwhile, corporations often struggle to be innovative as they seek out new ideas and technology. To invest in and meet the needs of the startup for resources and personnel, “Corporate partners can offer their expertise and let the startups know what works. They can partner from a technology standpoint, advise startups about hiring and give access to their customer base,” says Uzzaman. Both ultimately can strengthen each other’s skill sets and learn from each other—and reap the rewards from the mutual investment when the innovation pays off.

Adventures in Venturing

The movement for startups and corporate venturing is becoming more of a trend in organizations, according to Chris Varley, Principal of Goodyear Ventures, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, in a conversation on “Innovation Ventures” with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler. “Big companies develop bureaucracy because they need it. What happens though is a lot of rigidity creeps in, and that can kill innovation. So, smart companies start looking at how we can keep the bureaucracy that we need to function as a large organization – but find better, faster, cheaper ways to get new ideas in-house and in the market,” says Varley.

In “Perspectives On Corporate Venturing,” we examined some of the advantages that startups and corporate partnerships can benefit from. During a Start-up Partnership Roundtable, the community looked back at past partnerships and lessons learned from failures and successes. Varley and Scot Wingo, CEO, Spiffy, sparked the conversation focused on blending faster/cheaper and bigger/better within a structure that works for each entity. The overall goal: To ensure that each partnership is viewed as a unique collaboration while infusing each combined initiative with overall established wisdom.

Finding the Right Fit

At their best, startup/corporation collaborations merge the distinct advantages of both worlds: the resources and reach of established corporations with the nimbleness, innovation and speed of startups. But what about understanding how these startup partnerships work in practice?

Bundl, a venture partner strategy specialist, in its blog, “11 Key Steps for Successful Corporate-Startup Collaboration,” looked at key steps to help spot, attract and engage with startups that align with your company’s long-term growth goals and vision:

  • Step 1. Define your value spaces: Before embarking on a corporate-startup collaboration, it’s essential to identify and define the value spaces that your collaborations aim to address. This will set the stage for a more focused and effective collaboration.
  • Step 2. Define your return on investment (ROI) goals: Understanding the specific ROI you aim to achieve will simplify the process of setting concrete goals and targets later. Moreover, it will enable you to more effectively identify suitable startups for collaboration – those with the potential to help you attain your desired ROI.
  • Step 3. Define what you expect from startup partners: Startups can bring a variety of benefits to the table and knowing the type of benefits to look for will boost the chances of a successful collaboration.
  • Step 4. Define the range of the engagement: To optimize the effectiveness of your corporate-startup collaboration, it’s essential to determine the scope of the engagement. This involves deciding how close or far the collaboration should extend from your current markets and offerings. In general, collaborations can be categorized into three types of innovation: core, adjacent, and radical.
  • Step 5. Choose your venture vehicle(s): Now that you have a better understanding of your objectives, expectations, and the scope of your corporate-startup collaboration, you’re ready to select the venture vehicle that best aligns with your vision and goals. Start by identifying your corporation’s higher-level objectives.
  • Step 6. Determine what will make a collaboration with you unique: To attract the cutting-edge startups you’re seeking, it’s essential to identify the unique assets and capabilities that set you apart from the competition. This will make it easier for you to showcase the value and benefits that startups can gain by collaborating with you.
  • Step 7. Establish your key criteria for startup selection: When choosing startups to collaborate with, it’s helpful to have clear criteria that align with your corporation’s objectives and goals.
  • Step 8. Allocate your resources wisely: Successful collaborations require more than just funding; they need a thoughtful allocation of resources to thrive.
  • Step 9. Get corporate leadership and stakeholders onboard: Engaging corporate leadership and stakeholders from the beginning is essential for the success of any collaboration. Position your collaboration vehicle close to the executive level, making it easier to gain buy-in, streamline processes, and expedite decision-making.
  • Step 10. Set a clear timeline with tangible milestones: Develop a comprehensive plan for your collaboration, outlining the duration, process flows, milestones, and deliverables. Break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks and assign deadlines for each milestone.
  • Step 11. Plan past the initial collaboration phase: Decide on what happens when the collaboration reaches its initial goal. Consider the various scenarios, like continuing the partnership long-term, integrating the startup into your organization, or spinning it off as a separate business.

The Best of Both Worlds

While this column focuses on the positive side of partnerships, a lot can veer off course as well. But as Bundl notes, “When done right, corporate-startup collaborations can unlock unprecedented growth quickly and with a reduced level of risk.” They can be especially valuable for companies navigating in today’s ultra-competitive landscape, where technologies and business models can change rapidly. Discovering your ideal venture partnership may be only a matter of finding the right fit, the right partners and the winning formula for both to thrive.

Video courtesy of GE Canada

Growing the Green Economy through Sustainable Innovation

Green Innovation

As innovation management firm IdeaScale notes in its blog, “What is Sustainable Innovation?” by Nick Jain, there are key characteristics of sustainable innovation that differentiate it from disruptive innovation. While not mutually exclusive terms, disruptive innovation focuses more on new opportunities that can shift the status quo in a relatively short time frame, upending systems and challenging existing norms.

Sustainable innovation, on the other hand, promotes more long-term solutions, building upon existing technologies or systems, notes IdeaScale, while creating a positive impact and emphasizing gradual improvements. Key characteristics of sustainable innovation, as noted by IdeaScale, include:

  • Environmental Responsibility: Sustainable innovation aims to reduce resource consumption, minimize waste and pollution, and mitigate negative impacts on ecosystems. It promotes the use of renewable energy, sustainable materials, and technological innovation.
  • Social Impact: This type of innovation considers social equity, inclusivity, and the well-being of communities. It seeks to address social challenges, such as poverty, inequality, and access to education, healthcare, and clean water.
  • Renewable Energy and Clean Technologies: Innovations in renewable energy sources, energy storage, and energy efficiency are crucial components of sustainable innovation. These technology innovations aim to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change.
  • Economic Viability: Sustainable innovation recognizes the importance of economic sustainability. It strives to create value and generate economic benefits while ensuring long-term profitability. This can be achieved through cost savings, market opportunities, increased efficiency, and the development of new markets.
  • Innovative Business Models: It may involve a business model innovation that emphasizes sharing, access over ownership, and the creation of value through sustainable practices. Examples include ride-sharing services, renewable energy subscription models, and product-as-a-service concepts.
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Sustainable innovation often requires collaboration among various stakeholders, including businesses, governments, NGOs, research institutions, and local communities. Partnerships enable the pooling of resources, knowledge, and expertise to drive sustainable solutions at a larger scale.

Sustainability Facets

All Things Insights recently looked at sustainability and consumer preferences in the blog, “Charting A Sustainable Way Forward.” Call it an eco-awakening, as more global consumers gravitate to sustainable products or at least indicate their growing awareness and even desire for those products. Sustainability is often a buzzword in the marketing of products and services to consumers. But various surveys and research seem to indicate that consumers are often willing to pay more to purchase a product perceived as sustainable or fair trade.

In addition, All Things Insights’ guest contributor, Justin Coates, Eastman’s Head of Global Market Research & Consumer Insights, has kicked off a series of columns on sustainability. “Exploring 10 Myths About Global Consumers & Sustainability” looks at how instead of retreating during the COVID pandemic, concerns around sustainability only intensified among consumers, companies, and governments around the world. For companies, sustainability has moved from being a perceived threat to the business bottom line to a catalyst for consistent and profitable growth.

A Rising Tide

Exploding Topics recently identified some of the top trends in sustainability for 2024 to 2025. These could be ripe with potential for sustainable innovation and eco-friendly research and development solutions. There are several movements toward a cleaner, greener tomorrow which are accelerating rapidly and driving a more sustainable future for our planet, according to Exploding Topics.

  1. Renewables and Nuclear Hold Promise for Net Zero Energy
  2. EVs Lead Clean Transportation Efforts
  3. New Methods, Materials, and Tech Transform Construction
  4. Biodiversity Pledges Gain Momentum
  5. Greener Packaging Unwraps a Cleaner Future
  6. Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Promises to Bridge the Carbon Gap
  7. Fast Fashion Gets a Makeover
  8. Rising Demand for Sustainable Foods
  9. Addressing IT’s Impact on The Environment
  10. Chief Sustainability Officers Handle ESG Reporting Pressures

Partnering on the Green Economy

As Exploding Topics observes, this rising tide of interest in sustainability has been accompanied by a corresponding surge of activity and innovation, with energy, mobility, construction, finance, packaging, and carbon capture leading the biggest shifts toward a healthier planet. With awareness and demand for sustainability growing among both corporations and consumers, the green economy is also set to surge.

This growth in sustainability ventures should bode well for fostering a culture of innovation, research and development. In fact, the value of the “green economy” is projected to be worth more than $10 trillion by 2050, according to a recent Reuters report that cited sustainable development consultancy Arup and economics advisory firm Oxford Economics. “This report shows the green transition is not a burden on the global economy, but a substantial opportunity to bring about a greater and more inclusive prosperity,” says Brice Richard, Arup Global Strategy Skills Leader.

Video courtesy of Financial Times

Shaping the Next Generation of Innovation

Reaching Gen Z

With events like recessions and data breaches the norm, Gen Z is known for being “hands-on, productive, resourceful, and entrepreneurial,” noted Frog, a global design and innovation firm which is part of Capgemini Invent. Companies are eager to authentically connect with this generation, yet struggle to communicate with them in a more genuine way. As Frog puts it in its blog, “7 Key Truths About Innovating for Generation Z,” to create durable bonds with this next generation, “businesses must develop effective ways to refresh their offerings while building on the vision that they have always embodied.” Frog outlined seven opportunities that businesses can innovate to reach Gen Z.

  1. Don’t focus on making money, focus on saving theirs—Unlike Millennials, who prefer experiences and following dreams over things, Gen Zs would rather spend their money on tangible products and follow financial conservatism.
  2. Cultivate sub-brands that enhance your reputation—Gen Z has a dim view on large corporations, which they view as untrustworthy. Brands that can design a program that gives Gen Z an avenue for self-expression or a tailored experience are key.
  3. Deliver on social impact—Companies should work on incorporating sub-projects into their brand reputation. Brands should carefully pick a few causes that resonate with their customers and align themselves with those causes.
  4. Reflect diversity and inclusion—Inequality is a concern among Gen Z, as are transgender rights and fempowerment, the belief that girls and boys should have equal opportunity. Brands can also create new opportunities by embracing Gen Z groups that feel they’re not being heard or catered to.
  5. Make digital the “how” not the “what”—Gen Zs are more passionate about their friends than technology, so helping them feel connected to friends and family is key. Frog notes that Gen Zs want screens to enhance, not overtake, their lives, and they respond to initiatives where digital complements their physical world.
  6. Embrace and react to failure—Conducive to an entrepreneurial mindset, Gen Zs are fine with failure, as long as they learn something from it. They don’t aspire to perfection but instead desire to demonstrate that they are continually improving.
  7. Become a retail confidant—Gen Z’s actually prefer face-to-face communication, and like when someone is knowledgeable about a product. They want to receive information from authentic individuals and companies. Brands should develop touch points that Gen Z is comfortable with in order to instill confidence and trust in the purchase.

Introducing the Digital Natives

Speaking of new technology, just what is happening with the metaverse? In “Connecting Reality and Technology Through the Metaverse,” All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler caught up with Leslie Shannon, Head of Trend & Innovation Scouting, Nokia, at the FEI conference earlier this year to discuss the metaverse, its evolving status, innovation and all points in between. This follows the publication of Shannon’s new book, Interconnected Realities: How the Metaverse Will Transform Our Relationship with Technology Forever. Shannon has also published another book focused on Gen Z. Co-authored with Catherine Henry, the name of the second book is Virtual Natives.

In addition, in “Gen Z Insights,” All Things Insights’ Seth Adler chats with Heather O’Shea, Global Head of Ad Research and Insights at Snap, to examine just how to approach a Gen Z audience. “Ultimately Gen Z demands a new media plan. The previous ways of thinking in terms of length being a precursor of the efficacy of advertising content should be revisited based on the way they process information and how quickly they can take away ad messages,” says O’Shea.

Shaping Future Innovation

Generation Z is poised to play a significant role in shaping innovation in the future. According to ChatGPT, here are several ways in which Gen Z can contribute to and influence innovation:

  1. Digital Natives and Tech Pioneers: Gen Z is the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital age. Their innate familiarity with technology, social media, and digital platforms positions them as natural innovators in the tech landscape.
  2. Social and Environmental Activism: Gen Z is known for its strong commitment to social and environmental causes. This passion for sustainability and social responsibility can drive innovation in areas such as eco-friendly technologies, sustainable business practices, and products that align with ethical and environmental values.
  3. Collaborative and Inclusive Innovation: Gen Z values collaboration and inclusivity. As they enter the workforce and engage in innovation, they are likely to prioritize diverse perspectives, teamwork, and co-creation.
  4. Demand for Personalization: Gen Z has grown up in an era of personalized experiences, from customized social media feeds to personalized shopping recommendations. This generation’s demand for personalization is likely to drive innovation in personalized products, services, and experiences.
  5. Entrepreneurship and Gig Economy: Gen Z is characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit, and many members of this generation are drawn to the gig economy. This inclination toward self-employment and entrepreneurship can foster innovation by encouraging the development of new business models, platforms, and solutions.
  6. Visual and Experiential Communication: With the rise of visual-centric platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, Gen Z leans toward visual and experiential communication. This preference may influence innovation in augmented reality, virtual reality, and other immersive technologies that enhance communication and storytelling.
  7. Preference for Authenticity and Transparency: Gen Z values authenticity and transparency in brands and organizations. This preference can drive innovation in transparent supply chains, sustainable practices, and the use of technology to provide real-time information and transparency about products and services.
  8. Global Connectivity and Cultural Fusion: Gen Z is globally connected, and its members often identify with a global rather than a strictly national perspective. This interconnectedness can lead to innovations that celebrate cultural diversity, global collaboration, and the blending of cultural influences in various creative fields.

This is Us

As Gen Z continues to mature and become a larger force in the workforce and society, their values, preferences, and unique perspectives are expected to shape the trajectory of innovation across multiple industries. Embracing and understanding these characteristics can be key for organizations looking to remain relevant and responsive to evolving market demands.

As Frog in its blog observes, “Gen Z has become an ‘us against the world’ generation. They have developed unique patterns and behaviors for where they spend their time and money, and where they place their loyalties. They notice when brands represent their best interest, and they notice when brands try to change. To strike a chord with this generation, traditional brands must be honest and authentic. They need to plan wisely how to connect with and be part of this new ‘us.’”

Video courtesy of Time

How Bots Can Support Innovation

Robotic Revolution

Robotics are another promising field of innovation in their own right. Certainly, there are many different types of robotics being developed, some of which are also infused with AI. These can offer a diverse range of applications, from domestic use (iRobot vacuum cleaners, for example) to more complex industrial use. Some rather well-known robotics include Amazon’s expertise in the field, for example, the robotics it uses to pick and sort products in its vast warehouses. Self-driving, or autonomous, vehicle technology (think Tesla) also is creating more awareness in the robotics field.

So just how is robotics defined and categorized? Basically, robots can be divided into two broad categories: based on their applications and specific purpose and kinematics or locomotion, according to Rank Red’s blog on “15 Different Types of Robots, Explained.” Robots can be roughly divided into those tools that have robotic arms or are stationary, as opposed to wheeled and legged robots. Flying robots such as drones and humanoid robots can be pegged into the latter category.

All this talk about robotics, but what about bots? As defined by Amazon Web Services, bot is an automated software application that performs repetitive tasks over a network (such as the Internet). It follows specific instructions to imitate human behavior but is faster and more accurate. A bot can also run independently without human intervention. Chatbots, used in customer service applications, are one of the most commonly used bot services, as are search engine bots, which can index websites and keywords. There’s also voicebots (think Amazon’s Alexa), spam bots, web crawler bots and social bots. Of course, on the opposite side, bots can also be used as part of malware, or other unethical or fraudulent activities.

Impact on Innovation

As innovation becomes more of a central focus for today’s modern enterprises, bots have become more prevalent in business. These bots can automate tasks and processes, thereby improving services and freeing up employees to focus on the more important tasks of research and development. Bots can also be used to automate data science and insights tasks, compiling data much faster than a human could alone. Certainly, on a basic level, bots can increase these efficiencies and increase customer engagement.

Thinking bigger picture, while bots are themselves a disruptive innovation, bots also may help usher in the next wave of transformation and Internet growth—the rise of web3 protocols, such as blockchain, the metaverse and crypto currencies. “Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing companies to re-imagine and re-invest in all aspects of their businesses, including their employees,” notes DMG Consulting’s president, Donna Fluss, in her blog, “Smarter Bots Mean Greater Innovation, Productivity, and Value”.

Fluss points out that the future looks bright for companies, both client and vendor sides, and the bot industry. “Bots are compelling because they contribute to organizations in a number of quantifiable ways. Their initial value proposition is that they allow business managers to easily and rapidly create mini-applications and automations. Businesses cannot always afford to wait for IT to fix their issues or deliver new functionality, given the rapid pace of technological change and the cost of traditional IT development,” says Fluss.

Fluss further predicts that, “RPA (robotic process automation) and DPA (desktop process automation) are here to stay, and these automations are going to be embedded into a wide variety of third-party applications. DMG anticipates that there will be open-source libraries of robots to handle all kinds of challenges and to fill many product gaps. Vendors that want to protect their intellectual property will offer their own robots to enhance their solutions. This will add great complexity to operating and technical environments and will increase the need for better RPA control-room and oversight functionality, reporting, and analytics. This will also give rise to complementary sectors and an entire RPA ecosystem.”

Meta Thoughts

Speaking of technology, All Things Insights’ H2 2023 edition of the Insights Spend & Trends Report has been released—and artificial intelligence (AI) is top of mind for many. We discussed the report in the context of AI’s early stages within the insights field, and how the industry seems to be embracing advanced technology with cautious optimism. In “Enhancing Insights by Connecting AI, Human Understanding,” we also look at the seemingly paradoxical themes of AI and human insights—and how they can work together.

If bots are potentially a key part of the metaverse, just what is happening with the metaverse? In “Connecting Reality and Technology Through the Metaverse,” All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler caught up with Leslie Shannon, Head of Trend & Innovation Scouting, Nokia, at the FEI conference earlier this year to discuss the metaverse, its evolving status, innovation and all points in between. This follows the publication of Shannon’s new book, Interconnected Realities: How the Metaverse Will Transform Our Relationship with Technology Forever.

Harnessing Bots

Bots have the potential to influence innovation in several ways in the future. We asked ChatGPT to spotlight several benefits:

  1. Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity: Bots can automate routine and time-consuming tasks, allowing human workers to focus on more complex and creative aspects of their jobs. This efficiency boost can lead to increased productivity and create more time for innovation-related activities.
  2. Data Analysis and Insights: Bots can process and analyze large volumes of data at high speeds, providing valuable insights for decision-making. Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms within bots can identify patterns, trends, and opportunities, aiding innovation by informing strategic decisions.
  3. Customer Interaction and Feedback: Chatbots and virtual assistants can improve customer engagement by providing instant support, answering queries, and facilitating transactions. Analyzing customer interactions with these bots can generate valuable feedback and ideas for product or service innovation.
  4. Automated Research and Market Monitoring: Bots can be programmed to monitor market trends, competitor activities, and emerging technologies. By automating this information gathering process, businesses can stay informed about the latest developments in their industry, fostering a culture of continuous innovation.
  5. Idea Generation and Collaboration: Bots can facilitate idea generation by automating brainstorming sessions, collecting suggestions, and even contributing their own insights based on data analysis. Additionally, collaborative bots can assist teams in working together more efficiently, breaking down geographical barriers and fostering innovation through diverse perspectives.
  6. Rapid Prototyping and Testing: Bots can assist in the rapid prototyping and testing of ideas by automating certain aspects of the development process. This can accelerate the innovation cycle, allowing organizations to bring new products or services to market more quickly.
  7. Personalization and Customization: Bots, particularly those powered by artificial intelligence, can enhance personalization by analyzing user behavior and preferences. This capability can lead to the creation of more customized products, services, and experiences, driving innovation in meeting individualized customer needs.
  8. Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Machine learning algorithms in bots enable them to learn from experience and adapt to changing circumstances. This adaptability is crucial in dynamic business environments, allowing organizations to evolve their strategies and processes in response to new challenges and opportunities.
  9. Risk Management and Compliance: Bots can contribute to innovation by assisting in risk management and ensuring compliance with regulations. Automated systems can monitor and analyze data for potential risks, helping organizations make informed decisions while maintaining regulatory adherence.
  10. Augmented Creativity: Bots can be designed to augment human creativity by suggesting ideas, assisting in design processes, and contributing to the creative thinking process. This collaboration between human creativity and artificial intelligence has the potential to result in novel and groundbreaking innovations.

Thinking Outside the Bot

While the influence of bots on innovation is promising, it’s essential to consider ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and the need for human oversight to ensure responsible and beneficial use of these technologies. That being said, the combination of the growth of robotics, bot services and the rise of artificial intelligence, signals a promising future for both the bot industry coupled with innovation’s specific needs and functions. The future looks bright for bots—and innovation.

Check out the keynote session, “Brunch with Bots,” at FEI 2024, to be held June 10-12. Register here.

Video courtesy of Global Tech Council

Innovation Principles, 2/7

“People don’t want quarter-inch drill bits, they want quarter-inch holes.”
—Theodore Levitt

We typically want to create a profitable product or service that is desirable and meets customer needs; however, we might face manufacturing cost constraints that limit our profitability or encounter scalability challenges to meet the projected demand. We usually want to create a simple, reliable product while our most promising concept might be limited by an existing patent. This list goes on and on, soon to be realized that there is a waste number of opposing “want vs. can” trade-offs that need to be balanced concurrently when creating something that is truly novel and desirable while at the same time needs to be feasible, profitable, and scalable.

Obviously, want vs. can trade-offs get exponentially more complex as our entrepreneurial aspirations get more disruptive. The steam engine, the telephone, electricity, the radio, the airplane, the transistor, the personal computer, and the Internet are just a few examples of such transformational entrepreneurial innovations. All of them have embraced the balance between the four must-have entrepreneurial innovation constituents: (i) technical feasibility, (ii) customer desirability, (iii) operational scalability, and (iv) business viability.

Desirability, feasibility, and viability pertain to design-thinking principles as described by IDEO CEO Tim Brown [1]. Operational scalability is added here as a fourth dimension that drives business growth objectives at an adequate scale in order to move the needle in large enterprises. In other words, something that could be a successful family business might not be scalable or a big enough opportunity for a large company. The divine proportion or golden ratio (1.618) was metaphorically incorporated in the graphics below to signify an elusive nature and a delicate balance between want vs. can trade-offs found in the most novel entrepreneurial innovations.

Divine harmony of entrepreneurial innovations.

Striving for the Elegant Solution

Human-centered, design-thinking principles that are rooted in deep, empathic insights in genuine user needs provide a time-tested framework for incubating desirable, elegant solutions and as such make profitability and commercial success more attainable.

Arguably, at the heart of any transformational innovation that becomes a successful business offering is a human-centered solution that creatively enables an improvement in the quality of our lives or the effectiveness of our actions. An emotional gratification and delight caused by an effective and affordable elegant solution is what often defines the success of an entrepreneurial innovation. It would be difficult to find an example of a highly successful product around us that does not embrace design-thinking principles associated with the satisfaction of people’s genuine needs as the primary driver behind its success. The following three conceptual cases illustrate the most common entrepreneurial innovation scenarios relative to the underlying commercial and technical biases.

Typical entrepreneurial innovation scenarios.

Case 1

When an entrepreneurial business offering is created under a deep, empathic, design-thinking focus on human factors and genuine user needs, we are maximizing our chances for success. We also have a better chance to achieve an elegant solution—the simplest form of an inherently stable solution that delights our customers. Simple and robust solutions are typically associated with lower development and manufacturing costs, are more scalable, and also readily contribute to profitability and the overall business prospect. Under the successful human-centered, design-thinking innovations, commercial success is often the natural output proportional to the customer satisfaction and disruptiveness of the corresponding business offering.

Case 2a

This case is typically encountered in risk-averse and defensive large organizations rather than startups where innovations are suppressed by short-term sustaining gains and a false sense of financial security under an existing business “cash cow” [2]. Such businesses operate under a strong commercial bias toward the continuity of the existing offerings. Eventually, their product differentiation diminishes or gets disrupted by a competitive move. Even new products and line extensions that come out of such an environment tend to fall into an indifferent “me too” product category.

Case 2b

This case could be encountered in both startups and established companies if they get impatient and go to the market before the product or the technology is ready. Similarly, the release of non-robust or inherently unstable solutions marketed as do-everything snake oil could bring severe harm to the company. The “fake it until you make it” business mindset often operates from a strong technical bias in this environment. The Theranos case—one of the biggest corporate technology-related frauds in history [3]—exemplifies the results of such a mindset. In contrast, Toyota with its “home first” rule demonstrates patience in the release of its new products. The company tends to evaluate and perfect new technologies internally and on the domestic market before international release.

References

[1] Brown, T. (2009). Change by design. HarperCollins Publishers.

[2] Christensen, C. M. (2016). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. HBR Press.

[3] Carreyrou, J. (2018). Bad blood: Secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup. Alfred A. Knopf.

Editor’s Note: Selected topics from Milan Ivosevic’s book, Eureka to Wealth, will be featured as part of this Innovation Principles series in the following months:

  1. Introduction (Oct. ’23)
  2. Entrepreneurial Perspective: Human-Centered Design Entrepreneurship (Nov. ’23)
  3. Entrepreneurial Perspective: End to End Product Innovation Framework (Dec. ’23)
  4. Opportunity Incubation: The Innovation Spiral (Jan. ’24)
  5. Opportunity Incubation: Business Case (Sizing the Opportunity and Go / No Go check)(Feb. ’24)
  6. Product Delivery: Development Strategy (Mar. ’24)
  7. Product Delivery: Delivery Effectiveness (Apr. ’24)

The Impact of AI on Innovation

Reshaping Innovation

Companies are already using generative AI in their innovation initiatives, to create products and services from new beers to furniture. The innovation process, from ideation and strategy to go-to-market, is up for grabs as far as AI is concerned. In other words, early adopters are already making an impact with generative AI playing a role in faster decision-making, facilitating the strategic process, generating insights and analyzing data faster than humans can. AI can already often generate “infinite” ideas and then curate those ideas, exploring many solutions to solve the problem at hand. Design is also being reshaped by generative AI design tools.

In the Board of Innovation’s blog on the subject, “The role of generative AI in your innovation process,” the firm looks at the strides AI has made already, and looks ahead at the growing developments and implications of AI. “AI models trained on all strategic frameworks, with access to decades of data, case studies, etc. will soon outperform traditional strategy consultants on set tasks,” the company asserts. “Trained on proprietary company data it will help you generate strategic insights, explore different future scenarios, and inform decision making.”

The Board of Innovation further predicts that not only will AI streamline the ideation, strategy and design process, but also the go-to-market strategies that follow: “Creative AI can run many tasks that are essential for marketing and running a business. It can write persuasive messages, build websites, create models for ad campaigns, and run customer service. This may seem like a distant future, but it is closer than we might think.” Will marketing and branding become hyper-personalized, as the Board of Innovation predicts?

AI: Catalyst or Killer?

All Things Innovation has explored the subject of AI several times, looking at the impact in terms of innovation, insights and analytics. Contributor Gail Martino, Senior Program Manager, Unilever, gave a firsthand look at her experience with AI, in “15 Second Workday.” She related, “This morning I generated 40 new product ideas with concepts and ad copy to accompany each. It took 15 seconds. This is just a small fraction of what a new artificial intelligence program, ChatGPT, can do. It’s clear – AI has developed to such an extent that it will revolutionize our way of working, probably within 12 months for some fields. As an innovator, if you are not following the recent developments in AI, you will be left behind quickly.”

Martino also wrote about AI’s role in a specific product creation, in “AI Photo Shoot: Innovation Catalyst or Killer?” In a groundbreaking move, Glamour magazine in Bulgaria unveiled the first-ever magazine cover shoot entirely generated by AI. Martino weighs in on the implications that AI could have for innovators and marketers.

Augmenting Human Creativity

Despite an inherent bias, we decided to ask a pointed question directly at ChatGPT: Will generative AI replace human innovation? Generative AI answered that while it has the potential to augment and enhance human innovation, it is unlikely to replace it entirely. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Complementary Role: Generative AI can assist humans in various creative tasks, such as generating content, suggesting ideas, and automating repetitive tasks. This can free up human innovators to focus on higher-level thinking and problem-solving.
  2. Tools for Creativity: AI can be seen as a tool that humans can use to amplify their creative abilities. It can provide inspiration, generate alternative solutions, and speed up the creative process.
  3. Human Expertise: Human innovation is deeply rooted in expertise, emotions, values, and context, which AI lacks. While AI can produce content, it doesn’t possess true understanding, consciousness, or a sense of purpose. Many innovative breakthroughs come from human insight, empathy, and the ability to navigate complex moral and ethical dilemmas.
  4. AI Limitations: Generative AI is limited by the data it has been trained on and the algorithms it uses. It may produce biased or flawed results, and it can’t replace domain-specific expertise. It’s a tool that requires human oversight.
  5. Ethical and Regulatory Challenges: The deployment of AI in creative and innovative processes raises ethical questions about authorship, responsibility, and bias. Regulatory frameworks and societal norms will likely play a role in shaping the boundaries of AI’s role in innovation.
  6. Collaboration: The future of innovation may involve greater collaboration between humans and AI. Innovators may use AI as a creative partner or a source of inspiration, combining the strengths of both human and machine intelligence.
  7. AI as a Catalyst: AI can also be a catalyst for new types of innovation. For example, the development of AI technologies has led to advances in healthcare, robotics, and materials science, which can in turn inspire human innovation.

ChatGPT concluded that while generative AI has the potential to be a valuable tool in the creative and innovative process, it is unlikely to replace human innovation entirely. Instead, it is more likely to complement human creativity and problem-solving, potentially accelerating the pace of innovation and opening up new possibilities.

The Future of Humans & AI

While we are just at the beginning of AI’s evolutionary developments, there are of course limitations and drawbacks as well. Just how to balance innovation and interaction between humans and AI has yet to be determined. The question of trademarks, patents, and regulations is still being debated. Further, the quality of data and diversity of data can negatively influence AI’s responses, creating unintended biases and other possible errors.

The success and future of AI comes down to the adoption of the technology by humans, with all of our flaws inherent in the systems we create. The marketplace too will play a role in the impact of AI, and will still validate if ideas are successful or not. “Another example of the importance of humans in GenAI is in the ideation process,” notes Board of Innovation. “While generative AI lets us generate hundreds of ideas, in no time, AI may struggle to comprehend the subtle nuances, emotions, and cultural contexts that are integral to ideation.” Humans, therefore, are still key to monitoring the innovation process.

We will let a human have the last word: “AI will not replace innovators. But innovators who use AI will replace those who don’t,” concludes Phil De Ridder, CEO, Board of Innovation.

Video courtesy of Y Combinator

Delivering the Right Data to the Right Audience

Getting Personal

Dividing up the data into relevant segments supports marketing operations by grouping information, for example, into customer personalization parameters and sales prospect insights. Data can be divided up in myriad ways, such as lifestyle, demographics, gender, age, buyer personas, location and ever more specific categories, such as personal identifiers, individual engagement, personal finance and more. There is generally a lot of customer data to take into account.

The benefit of such segmentation is that it gives companies, “more personalized datasets. With a strong understanding of who customers are, and the experiences they value, comes a stronger understanding of how to best communicate and connect with them,” states Sagacity in its blog, “What is Data Segmentation? Why brands should be using it.”

Data segmentation, notes Sagacity, can further help support identifying new opportunities by breaking up data into more meaningful and more detailed insights. Companies would be able to better target communications, tailoring sales and promotional messages to specific sub-groups, for example. These practices can lead to the potential to increase revenue. Ultimately, data segmentation can help build trust with customers on a more personalized level.

Questioning Data Quality

Of course, there are challenges with data segmentation as well. This could include not having enough data, or perhaps having too much data. Data quality and accuracy is an issue facing the data science community, especially as technology advances the discipline. A lack of internal resources may hinder data segmentation and other data science practices.

The All Things Insights and marketing analytics and data science community completed an extensive survey, the H1 2023 Analytics & Data Science Spend & Trends Report, covering what executives are thinking, how they’re spending and the issues and opportunities they face. Data quality was clearly an issue on survey respondents’ minds. When asked, “Which are your organization’s top challenges in using data to inform decision-making?,” the majority of respondents (55.9%) said that data quality was the top challenge. In the blog, “Data Quality Challenges Raise Questions as Community Eyes Future,” we explored the data quality topic with several experts in the field.

In the blog, “Solving the Data Bottleneck,” the flow of data into an organization has increased as technology such as AI has been developed. Big data is here. Some companies may feel pressured by just what to do with all that data. There’s a lot of untapped value there. Some in the analytics and data science community have likened the flow of data to that of a firehose on full power. There’s just an issue, however, of effectively directing that flow of information. This has led to more of an emphasis on data governance and data democratization, which is a process of shifting the mindset and responsibility of data analytics from the data scientists or IT, and moving beyond the outdated silo process, to all users across the organization.

Improving the Data Flow

Data segmentation, the process of dividing a dataset into smaller, more specific subsets based on certain criteria, offers several benefits to organizations in various fields. We asked ChatGPT for some insights into the key advantages of data segmentation:

  1. Improved Targeting and Personalization: Segmentation enables organizations to target specific groups of customers or prospects with tailored marketing messages, products, or services. This leads to higher relevance and better engagement, ultimately improving conversion rates.
  2. Enhanced Customer Understanding: By segmenting data, organizations gain deeper insights into customer behavior, preferences, and needs. This understanding can inform product development, marketing strategies, and customer service improvements.
  3. Higher Marketing ROI: Targeted marketing campaigns based on segmentation tend to yield better results, reducing wasted marketing spend and increasing the return on investment (ROI) for marketing efforts.
  4. Reduced Churn: Segmenting customer data can help identify at-risk customers. Organizations can then proactively address their concerns or needs, reducing customer churn and increasing retention rates.
  5. Optimized Product Development: Data segmentation can guide product development by highlighting specific market segments’ needs and preferences. This leads to the creation of products or features that are more likely to succeed in the market.
  6. Effective Resource Allocation: Segmentation allows organizations to allocate resources more efficiently by focusing efforts on the most promising segments.
  7. Customized User Experiences: For digital products and services, data segmentation enables the customization of user experiences. Users receive content, recommendations, or features that align with their interests, improving overall satisfaction.
  8. Improved Customer Satisfaction: Personalized experiences and offerings resulting from segmentation often lead to higher customer satisfaction levels. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal and advocate for the brand.
  9. Market Expansion: By identifying new market segments through data segmentation, organizations can uncover growth opportunities that they may not have previously considered.
  10. Risk Mitigation: Segmentation can help organizations identify high-risk or low-performing segments early, allowing for proactive risk mitigation strategies.
  11. Cross-Selling and Upselling Opportunities: Segmentation can reveal opportunities for cross-selling related products or upselling higher-value offerings to specific customer segments.
  12. Compliance and Data Privacy: Segmentation can help organizations comply with data privacy regulations by allowing them to manage and protect customer data more effectively. It also enables better control over data access and permissions.
  13. Better Inventory Management: In retail and supply chain industries, data segmentation can optimize inventory management by identifying demand patterns within specific customer segments.
  14. Enhanced Predictive Analytics: Segmentation can improve the accuracy of predictive analytics models, making it easier to forecast future trends and customer behaviors.

Data Defining & Refining

To realize these benefits, organizations should invest in data quality, analytics tools, and segmentation strategies that align with their specific goals and objectives. Regularly updating and refining segmentation criteria based on changing market dynamics and customer behaviors is also essential to maximize the advantages of data segmentation.

At the beginning, we mentioned that data segmentation is a standard that very well could be overlooked internally. As Qualifio puts it in its blog, “5 ways to improve your data segmentation,” “Data segmentation is a major strategic goal to implement relevant, personalized and impactful marketing campaigns. A goal that can be difficult to manage internally and for which external expertise will bring freshness, innovation and differentiating value.”

Video courtesy of Hurree

Measuring Innovation Performance

The Nuts & Bolts of Innovation

In the innovation community, some are proponents of input metrics, which support the resources that are on hand already to enable innovation. These are internal measurements. For example, the investment or budget put into the project, the talent or workforce, the collaboration between other departments, training and research can all be seen as input metrics. These metrics could be seen as generally easier to measure although they may not entirely reflect the outcome of the innovation initiative.

But, the input metrics can “help you to determine how much effort and commitment you are dedicating to innovation, as well as identify potential gaps and improvement opportunities,” notes LinkedIn in its article, “What are the best metrics to measure innovation performance?” LinkedIn further points out that you might consider the innovation budget or spending as a percentage of revenue or profit, the number of employees involved in innovation projects or programs, the number of ideas generated, submitted or screened, the number of partnerships, alliances or networks formed for innovation purposes, or the number of hours or days allocated for innovation activities or learning.

Meanwhile, output metrics are the result of innovation efforts to develop new products, services, processes and business models. These could be considered more difficult to measure, as they indicate the actual influence or value of an innovation initiative. But these output metrics can help assess the delivery of the innovation and if it has met customer or stakeholder goals. LinkedIn details that examples of output metrics include revenue or profit generated by offerings, market share or penetration of segments, customer satisfaction or loyalty rates, patents or awards received for innovation, and the number of problems solved or opportunities created by innovation.

Lastly, outcome metrics involve the long-term benefits and a more strategic assessment of the innovation, and any growth, competitiveness, sustainability, or social impact of the product or service. These factors ultimately can reflect the purpose, mission and vision of the organization, as well as the brand’s innovation story. Some might measure growth rate or potential of the organization or industry, competitive advantage or differentiation in the market, environmental, social, or governance performance or impact, innovation culture or mindset among employees or stakeholders, and innovation reputation or influence in the community or domain, according to LinkedIn.

Certainly, using a combination of input, output and outcome metric can provide a robust evaluation of the innovation program. It’s a continual process that consists of constant measurement and evaluation, so that the team can assess and adapt their strategies when necessary. This in turn can help in determining success and failure of the innovation in question.

The Role of Insights

More measurement and metrics in innovation also coincides with a growing emphasis on insights. All Things Innovation looked at the role of insights in innovation in “The Value of Insights for Innovation.” Integrating insights into innovation is always a challenge but rewards the innovation team with a better understanding of their product or service and ultimately the needs of the end consumer. Often, innovations are a response to a competitor’s project or a major trend in the marketplace. But another motivation for the product must not be overlooked: Creating something of value for the consumer.

All Things Innovation also looked at insights in the context of innovation in, “Make Insights Critical to the Innovation Process.” A growing trend in innovation is to break down silos and work more collaboratively, across teams and departments. This applies to both innovation and its close proximity to such organizational groups as marketing, IT, finance and supply chain. As such, increasingly insights is tasked with supporting the product development and innovation team, giving the innovators robust and meaningful research that can help them understand consumer sentiment.

Encouraging Innovation

Metrics tied to strategic innovation goals can provide several benefits to organizations looking to foster innovation as a core part of their strategy. Here are some of the key advantages, as noted by ChatGPT:

  1. Alignment with Organizational Objectives: Metrics tied to strategic innovation goals ensure that innovation efforts are in alignment with the organization’s overall strategic objectives. This alignment helps prioritize innovation initiatives that are most relevant to the organization’s mission and vision.
  2. Measurable Progress: Having specific metrics allows organizations to measure their progress toward innovation goals. This provides clarity on whether the organization is making meaningful advancements in its innovation efforts or if adjustments are needed.
  3. Accountability: Metrics create accountability within the organization. When teams or individuals are responsible for achieving specific innovation targets, they are more likely to take ownership of their roles in driving innovation.
  4. Resource Allocation: Metrics help in allocating resources more effectively. Organizations can identify which innovation projects are delivering results and allocate resources accordingly, optimizing their innovation investments.
  5. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Metrics provide data-driven insights into the effectiveness of different innovation initiatives. This information helps leaders make informed decisions about where to invest resources and which strategies to prioritize.
  6. Risk Management: By tracking innovation metrics, organizations can identify and mitigate risks early in the process. This can help avoid costly mistakes and improve the likelihood of successful innovations.
  7. Continuous Improvement: Metrics encourage a culture of continuous improvement. Teams and individuals are motivated to find ways to improve their innovation processes and outcomes to meet or exceed their targets.
  8. Competitive Advantage: Innovation metrics can help organizations benchmark their innovation performance against competitors. This insight can be used to identify areas where the organization can gain a competitive advantage.
  9. Employee Engagement: Clear innovation metrics can engage employees by providing them with a sense of purpose and achievement. Knowing that their work contributes to strategic innovation goals can boost morale and motivation.
  10. Stakeholder Confidence: Investors, customers, and partners often have an interest in an organization’s innovation capabilities. Demonstrating progress through metrics can instill confidence in stakeholders and enhance the organization’s reputation.
  11. Resource Prioritization: When organizations track innovation metrics, they can better prioritize which projects and initiatives deserve more resources. This ensures that resources are allocated to efforts with the highest potential for impact.
  12. Innovation Culture Reinforcement: Metrics can reinforce an organization’s commitment to an innovation culture. When innovation is linked to measurable outcomes, it becomes an integral part of the organization’s DNA.

By The Numbers

It’s important to choose the right metrics that align with your organization’s innovation strategy and goals. These metrics should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to ensure they are effective in driving innovation and guiding decision-making. Additionally, organizations should regularly review and adjust their innovation metrics as needed to remain responsive to changing circumstances and evolving strategic priorities.

Innovation is not easy to measure. It needs time and a clear set of goals. Every organization’s KPI’s might be different depending on their needs. Nevertheless, as Skipso notes in its “How to Measure Innovation” blog, “When you define your clear set of objectives, and define the simple and effective variables that will help you evaluate those objectives, you can then utilize numbers to help you drive creativity and innovation.”

Video courtesy of Viima

Solving the Data Bottleneck

A Democratized Approach

Many agile and data-driven companies have embraced the concept of data democratization. There are certainly advantages and challenges to this strategic approach. Some in the community recommend having a data governance framework in place before shifting to this strategy, otherwise giving everyone the ability to access data could have a detrimental impact. Data governance includes following regulatory compliance, and emphasizing such bedrock principles as data security, data privacy, and data quality standards.

That’s not to say that the analytics and data science team won’t have a key role in this democratization process, as there should still be continual safeguards and constant monitoring of a company’s data flow and processes. But once systems and training are in place, the data science team can focus on more critical business needs. The big picture is that, “For established businesses, the democratization of data facilitates organizational agility and the ability to make data-driven decisions,” as noted by Claravine in its blog, “Demystifying Data Democratization: Unleash the Power of Big Data for Everyone.”

Data democratization gives the company several solutions to data flow issues. Claravine points out several solutions, for example:

  • Information access: Data democratization unlocks access to information previously confined in a data warehouse or data lake and accessible only by IT professionals.
  • Resource limitations: Data democratization alleviates pressure on valuable IT resources and frees them from having to fulfill data and reporting requests.
  • Data enablement: Data democratization allows organizations to get value from their vast data stores by empowering users to serve as their own data analysts or data scientists.

Data Concerns

In the All Things Insights article, “Data Quality Challenges Raise Questions as Community Eyes Future,” we looked at key results from the H1 2023 Analytics & Data Science Spend & Trends Report. Respondents feel strongly that analytics and data science are becoming more integrated into both corporate and operational decision making. Still, there are some challenges. An interesting challenge to currently explore is that of “data quality.” When asked, “Which are your organization’s top challenges in using data to inform decision-making?,” the majority of respondents (55.9%) said that data quality was the top challenge.

Earlier this year, in “Reinventing the Data Relationship,” All Things Insights spoke with data science strategy executives during the MADS Continued Gathering as they looked to plot a new course for their respective companies. Looking back and looking ahead, these data science experts examined their analytics strategies in the context of the current economic environment.

Data Benefits

Data democratization can benefit an organization in several ways by making data more accessible and usable for a wider range of employees and stakeholders. Here are some key benefits, courtesy of ChatGPT:

  1. Informed Decision-Making: When data is readily available to employees at all levels of the organization, it empowers them to make informed decisions.
  2. Increased Innovation: When more people within an organization have access to data, it can spur innovation. Employees from various departments and backgrounds may discover new ways to use data to solve problems, identify opportunities, and create value.
  3. Efficiency and Productivity: Data democratization can streamline processes. Employees can access the data they need without relying on a centralized data team, reducing bottlenecks and improving efficiency.
  4. Empowered Employees: Giving employees access to data can make them feel more valued and engaged. They can take ownership of their work and contribute to the organization’s goals with a greater sense of purpose.
  5. Better Customer Insights: Access to customer data can help frontline employees understand customer preferences, behaviors, and pain points. This can lead to improved customer service, personalized marketing, and enhanced customer experiences.
  6. Data-Driven Culture: Data democratization can foster a data-driven culture within an organization. When data is readily available, it becomes part of daily discussions, decision-making, and problem-solving, which can lead to a cultural shift toward data-driven thinking.
  7. Cost Savings: By reducing the reliance on data specialists or analysts to provide insights, organizations can potentially save money on labor costs.
  8. Compliance and Risk Management: Democratizing data can also help organizations ensure compliance with data privacy and security regulations. When data access and usage are well-documented and monitored, it becomes easier to manage and mitigate risks associated with data handling.
  9. Faster Response to Market Changes: In a rapidly changing business environment, organizations need to adapt quickly. Access to real-time or near-real-time data allows for faster responses to market changes, trends, and emerging opportunities.
  10. Competitive Advantage: Organizations that effectively democratize data are often more agile and responsive, which can give them a competitive edge.

The Future of Data

Claravine further gives a roadmap to data democratization, which includes such points as securing leadership commitment, taking stock of your data ecosystem, unlocking your legacy data and promoting self-service but providing continued education and training.

It’s important to note that data democratization should be implemented carefully to address privacy, security, and ethical considerations. Organizations should also provide appropriate training and support to ensure that employees can effectively use the data and make responsible decisions based on it. While one can’t predict the future of data science and analytics, optimistically we feel that this would not replace the data scientist, but rather would give them a role of leadership and empowerment within the company.

Video courtesy of Lights On Data