Technological advances often create new environments in which organisations are able to be innovative. With the recent proliferation of digital channels that capture a huge amount of data as well as providing new ways of engaging with customers, a recent survey highlights the importance of mobile technology and big data analytics to organisations looking to be innovative.
In 1876 the telephone was invented, and while it at the time represented a considerable innovation on more traditional technologies, it took 25 years to reach 10% market penetration – with a further 39 years until 40% of people were connected through telephones. Mobile phones took 11 years to move from the hands of early adopters to market maturity, smart phones however, took a mere 2.5 years – with every one of the 1+ billion people owning smart phones considered an ‘early adopter’ in relation to the humble landline.
The above example is just one of the many which illustrates the pivotal role technology plays in achieving innovation. A new type of infrastructure, software, or a social media channel—each with the potential of driving new possibilities for value creation. Particularly in today’s fast-paced business world, technology seems to be the engine room of innovation. But innovation is not just about technology. There are for instance a range of other tools and techniques that can be equally important—new processes, business models, commercials, or combinations of old ideas.
In a recent study conducted by Aecus and IT-giant HP, the authors explore among others the value of technologies, tools and techniques to the innovation agenda. The research, titled ‘The innovation agenda’, was based on respondents and interviewees from 80+ public and private sector organisations, spanning small firms to large corporates. The study finds that Analytics/Big Data is regarded as the most important tool, with 35% indicating it as very important while 42% cites the tool as important. The development of applications comes in second overall with 76% of those surveyed giving it importance. Mobility/mobile communications is cited by 44% of those surveyed, while pricing and R&D are very important to 36% and 35% respectively.
Of least importance to the surveyed group is 3D printing, with 4% saying it is very important while 42% say it is not important at all. Artificial intelligence and automation garner little importance to those surveyed, with automation very important to 13% of those surveyed while artificial intelligence attracts 7% while not at all interesting for 36% of those surveyed. The results showed a high degree of consistency: 15 out of 19 tools and technologies listed were rated as very important or important by more than half the sample.
The authors note that: “The results also showed that new technologies and techniques such as analytics/Big Data, mobility, and cloud, sit alongside mature concepts such as security and global delivery models. Innovation is not just about the latest over-hyped technology: it’s about working with a wide range of approaches and combining them in a new value-creating way.”