ERNI Technology Post No. 55: Digital Innovation: LEARN, MEASURE and then BUILD

The future isn’t coming. It is already here… it just isn't evenly distributed… yet!

The business world is being hit with a wave of changes and technical advances that are quickly forcing many changes. Digital Transformation is an umbrella term that attempt to capture these initiatives.

Digital Industry, Digital Marketing, Digital Banking, Digital Everything! So the biggest questions facing most people right now are: “How digitally enabled are we?” and “What is our digital strategy?”

Digital has been there since many, many years, but now the impact is different and speed has exponentially changed. Understanding the impact on what this could mean to your business, you can schedule a meeting with one of our Digital Experts. 

Building a Digital Strategy

Traditionally, many companies will go through long strategic phases. With top management taking decisions on what directions are most crucial for an organisations growth for periods of 5-10 years.

With these targets defined, the organisation will then move strategically year by year towards them.

Digital Transformation is different. As the rate of pace of change is growing exponentially, it becomes more critical to define strategic targets at a much more rapid and response rate. To cope with the changes hitting firms through technical, process and product innovations. In some cases entire industries are being hit by disruptors (game changers) that are cutting through the supply chain to eliminate huge horizontally aligned suppliers and/or massively reduce costs or time to market.

Building a digital strategy is not easy. So what is different:

Building a Digital Strategy requires:

  • Enriching the knowledge in your organisation. Helping individuals become much more aware of what the possibilities and capabilities of new innovations are for your business or industry.
  • Taking multiple small bets to validate assumptions fast. Don't rely on speculation, in a fast changing world it is important to “measure” the impact of a direction fast to avoid collisions with nasty unwanted ice bergs that might sink your ship.
  • Embrace failing. Learning and exploring the options requires the courage to take chances. The things that make life interesting are not the “sure bets” that we have seen work a 100 times before. It is more often the bad ideas that turn out to be good ones, that are the real champions of innovative progress.
  • Use technology as an enabler rather than a supporter. Most of the fastest growing companies are based on the technology evolution rather than being supported by technology.

Learn, Measure and THEN Build

In traditional build cycles of engineering and manufacturing, we are conditioned and taught to Build, Measure and then Learn (retrospectively look at what worked, or what could be improved).

Innovation does not work this way. And is a process that moves more naturally through the steps of Learn, Measure and then Build. We begin with wanting to learn and enrich ourselves with new ideas, explore what is possible, challenge our assumptions and be open to things we previously thought were bad ideas. With a broadened view on how to solve the problems of today (and tomorrow), it is important to then go through a phase of discovery. And measure what impact different ideas/concepts will have on the market or our end users.

And it is only with improved certainty of market success, should we take the progressive steps of making bigger investments of building the solutions that will drive the business forward.

What assumptions are we making today that will not be valid tomorrow? Which of the things we think are bad ideas are in fact actually very good ideas? Are some of the ways in which we should channel the learn and measure steps before committing to build. These steps can be embraced to iterate through many ideas for rapid validation and can form “lots of small bets” to enable product decisions makers/owners to genuinely discover what will work, as oppose to make hypothesis which can only be validated after considerable costs.

It is important to find the means to reduce the uncertainty of market acceptance early on I the process. Failure to do so leads to heavy investments into building solutions that are not.

Understand your Digital Capabilities

Many organisations develop a sense of confidence on their ability to cope with the wave of changes entering their market. However, innovation is no longer coming in big waves of changes from which companies need to survive but rather change is becoming constant.

Transformation Category Guiding questions to ask of each organizational transformation category:

The above example is cited from the IMD Digital Business Transformation framework. A Digital Capability Assessment involves a process of interviewing key people through your organisation to determine the maturity level of your organisation and its capability to become a Digital Business.

How can Digital Capability Assessment help you?

Our Digital Capability Assessment is typically a 1 day workshop, conducted through interviews with key stakeholders of your organisation, department or team. The results of this assessment may provide you the information you need to get more of the existing business for Digital Transformation.

If you would like to arrange a DCA, then get in touch.

Empower your business through Innovation Labs

At ERNI, we specialise in supporting our customers with the challenges of Innovation and Digital Transformation with our Digital Innovation Lab service offerings.

A Digital Innovation Lab is specially assembled team composed of the right experts you need to quickly validate; prototype concepts that help you measure how successful your ideas will work on the market or with real users.

A typical team will comprise of Researchers, Subject matter experts, Engineers, UX Engineers and Prototypers. Our Innovation Teams are trained with methods and processes to validate ideas quickly using a wide ranges of approaches including LEAN Start up and Design Thinking methods. We also pride ourselves with supporting these methods with the right culture, having the right environment and teams that are curious about getting fast insights and discovery from real users/market.

The outputs from the lab focus on being complete enough to validate the assumptions from your business, from real users. An Innovation Project can be as short as 2-3 week iterations. Rapid prototyping can enable important stakeholders to get genuine feedback and genuine experience. And together this information can be used for risk mitigation and safer strategic planning.

We are proud to already be empowering companies across industries such as transport, entertainment and financial services already through our labs. We predict that Innovation will be the important differentiator between the successful and unsuccessful in the digital era before us.

In closing

Here at ERNI, we are taking bold steps to support both ourselves and our customers with the Digital ERNI. If you would like to get more information on our Digital Transformation Consulting patters or our Digital Innovation Lab, do not hesitate to contact us.

We specialise in supporting businesses through a multitude of domains with the challenges of Technology and Innovation management, as well as Digital Transformation.

posted on 09.06.2016
by: Jazz Kang