At it’s very core, the digital revolution is all about data and connectivity. The data is the fuel that powers just about everything in the modern world and the connectivity is the pipeline that delivers that fuel from its source to where it is needed. The final layer that delivers real value is intelligence and that’s coming fast as we embrace AI and machine learning to fully leverage the data at hand.
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What’s really exciting about this brave new connected digital world is the speed at which everything occurs, at which data is collected and moved, at which decisions are made, and acted upon. We are moving to a world where information, reports, dashboards, and communication are all ‘real-time.’ Data is immediately and constantly being updated. No more waiting for reports, and no more sifting through data to explore a specific information need or to create a customer audit report. This speed delivers countless benefits, helping people and businesses to make better decisions faster. This speed makes companies more flexible, more capable of adjusting to market trends, consumer demands, and political or environmental changes. It makes companies better. It makes them agile.
We have been on our own digital journey and have learned a few things along the way. As we worked to develop our own strategy for transformation, we recognized that it’s an undertaking that requires diverse skill sets, broad experience and real vision. We had to build our skill sets by adding people to our teams at Radius and at Jabil. We developed methodologies and systems to recognize opportunities and avoid pitfalls. We learned what was needed in terms of diversity and disciplines to build the team that could develop and execute digital strategies. But perhaps the biggest lessons we learned are: one, transformation is essential to remain in the game; and two, it’s a journey that is best embarked upon with expert guidance.
Radius Innovation and Design has been helping clients through ideation and change, developing some skills, tools, and systems that help throughout the strategic creative process. That's why the Digital Strategy Practice was launched. It is all about providing guidance, processes, and systems to help our clients visualize and achieve their digital goals. Most have realized the importance of transforming their business, but many are still looking for the best route to that digital nirvana.
The journey starts with a discovery phase to understand the value proposition, along with consideration of any market challenges or changes in consumer behavior. This can be done through workshops and consumer research. Having established the starting point, we work to develop a vision of that digital future along with a map for the journey.
The whole ‘digital’ thing can feel overwhelming, so we recommend a step-by-step approach, building a model with layers of digital transformation, including products development, adding data, sensors, whatever is required to make a product ‘smart.’ Next, we explore the ecosystem and how that smart product communicates and lives in a connected world. This can open a whole raft of new opportunities. Beyond the ecosystems is the monetization of the data, so we work to explore what data might be derived and how that might be used to benefit all the stakeholders. The final step is the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to really leverage everything else.
There are fundamentals that are as true of this journey. Foremost it’s all about adding value for the consumer. Improving their lives, their experience, all through the appropriate use of data and technology. Technology should always add value, preferably for the brand and the user, it should never be used for its own sake.
Perhaps it was best summed up by one of our customers, John Picard, vice president of The Ray, who said: “As the world’s first regenerative highway project, we are building connected roadway reflectors designed to improve the health and safety of transportation infrastructure across the U.S. By connecting previously analog reflectors and lights through solar-powered sensors to the cloud, we are creating a platform to make safer roads.”
It’s not a simple process, but it is a valuable one. Those that embrace the digital revolution stand to gain so much: new products, new ecosystems, new business models and much more. They will be the drivers in the industry, the disruptors, the leaders. Those that hang onto the past, hoping that their old brand promise and market presence will see them through, risk being marginalized and becoming irrelevant. Look back at the Fortune 50 companies over the last fifty years and you’ll see dozens of companies that had great markets that have all but disappeared.
I’m constantly talking to people and reading about technology, and I am so impressed by its ability to empower change for good in the world. When I see digital technology delivering prosthetic limbs to people that previously couldn’t gain access to them, drones carrying aid, AI improving the early detection of disease, or augmented reality helping surgeons perform life-saving operations, it makes me think I work in the most amazing industry in the world.
This is where the digital revolution will have the most impact, deliver the most value to mankind. I can’t wait to explore the digital journey with more brands and deliver more life changing technology.
Vive le revolution…