Official Blog of Center10 Consulting

5 Innovations That Will (Re)Define The Way We Innovate In The Next 5 Years

on Thursday, March 28, 2013
A pre-edit version of my short article that appeared in the Economic Times on March 28

We often see lists of innovations which will define the next 10 years - this list will stick to five years. My experience at the cutting edge of various industries has convinced me that the innovation cycle has been abbreviated considerably. What seemed innovative 10 years ago is almost irrelevant today, and today’s market-movers weren’t even a twinkle in their inventor’s eyes in 2003. Don’t believe me? 

Here are a few things that didn’t exist in January 2003, or weren’t accessible to most global consumers:
-   Accessible satellite imagery
-   Broadband
-   Facebook
-   Hi-def TV
-   LinkedIn
-   Satellite radio
-   Smartphones
-   Twitter
-   YouTube
-   Voice over IP

So, here are five innovations that could change the way we innovate in the next five years, i.e., change the innovation process of Insight - Inspiration - Design - Development - Implementation 

1. Insight: Innovations are built on a bed-rock of knowledge. MOOCs or massive open online courses allow free access to training from the world’s top universities, will rapidly increase our ability to innovate.
Imagine a smart Indian youngster learning about Digital Signal Processing from Paolo Prandoni of the illustrious Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (Switzerland), and engaging in a post-class online discussion with a similarly talented student in Germany. With the local knowledge these young folks bring to bear, imagine the interesting human signal processing products they could develop.This scenario isn’t a pipe-dream - Coursera already runs that course. There are 2.7 millions users of Coursera worldwide already. And, for Asian-watchers, three Asians lead the big MOOC players Coursera, edX and Khan Academy – Andrew Ng, Anant Agarwal, and Salman Khan. 

2. Inspiration: Increased smart systems with sensors and signal detectors that understand human signals will help inventors understand consumer needs and feedback. 

Now imagine our innovators developing and launching their app around the world - say it’s an IQ based on speed of answers but also the test-takers level of positive or negative energy. Smartphones using face-recognition, pulse and temperature detection technology to take note of whether you're interested, nervous happy or sad when you see a question and directs you to the tougher or easier questions...Wouldn’t it be great to understand whether you are a natural genius or one that stresses as the questions gets tougher....Now, imagine the technology on your shopping aisle, as you look at fruits and veggies – if you don’t look interested in the healthy option, imagine a sign that gives you deep discounts and recipes so you’ll buy the carrots.Just so you know, consumer-grade EKG/EEGs are already here - all we need is a company that has the vision to put the systems together and into play  

3. Design: 3D printers will help inventors rapid prototype, then let consumer access products “just in time” 3D printers using an increasing number of materials (from plastics to stem cells) allow developers to take concepts to prototype instantly. 

Shortly, we will have the user at home, “printing” out their new shoes and clothes, printing out their new video game, and taking off. Unfortunately, right now, the one product that IS printable and being used, are 3D printable gun parts. So the innovators realize that the folks using their app consistently stumble on the same smartphone keys. They build a small advanced keyboard that can be “printed” at home. They put it out on the app store, and the app is downloaded by millions of users worldwide who then print their product. I’ll admit, this one is a few years out, since the printers don’t yet print circuits and plastics at the same time. But it’s coming... 

4. Development: Sites like evaluate, select and fund innovation production, based on the wisdom of the community.  Thousands of creative people around the world have submitted their ideas to be evaluated by Quirky, and participants can to vote for the ones with the most potential. Team innovation now has proof of concept on the new, improved smartphone keyboard, and puts it on Quirky. The users sign on and vote it a winner, and it’s put into production. The team is on it’s way to riches

5. Implementation: Cloud computing is redefining the “company”. End users access cloud-based applications through a web browser or mobile app while user data is stored on servers at a remote location. So, one-member or small organizations now have professional management, communication, CRM, and financial systems that was hitherto the realm of large enterprises. As a result, more than a third of all Americans are classified as “independent workers”. 

When the NY Federal Reserve Bank named Freelancers Union founder Sara Horowitz to its board of directors, it quietly sent a signal that the self-employed is growing in the halls of big finance. In this new world, these young innovators remained in their mileu, met online, designed a concept, prototyped, produced and get a product into production. No supply chain management issues, no billing conflicts.... 

While i am being deliberately extreme and utopian, readers, these innovations already exist, or are just around the corner. They could democratize the process of innovation - it’s up to the innovators to grab the opportunities all around them, and change the world!


Post a Comment