2020-06-23 gerodrody

Innovation

Substance over style

Technology is both our savior and our doom… as is the flash of trivial incrementalism.

With years in digitally-focused business transformation as well as more broadly applied innovation strategy, I’ve seen how shiny new toys delight investors. Yet too often these lauded ‘innovations’ don’t fulfill an actual customer need. They are instituted quickly to meet the relatively arbitrary timing of a shareholder meeting. Not only then are the back end systems not ironed out, but likewise the speed waters down the use case making the whole experience sub-par. Add in that front-line team members, not sufficiently trained or tech supported, don’t know how to sell in or facilitate the new feature and it quickly dies.

How then to advance a technology that accelerates customer experience quality, and has a clear value for the entire ecosystem of the back and front end of the company? My vote goes to redundant simplicity on the front, and fully integrated tech stack in the back. For instance, a facial recognition software installed in a mirror can give endless AR features, including a cashless path to purchase that also pulls rich data into a omni customer profile. This requires flawless and not racially discriminatory recognition software, fingerprint resistant mirrors, privacy screens, integrated profile data fields, no-touch login, and more systems to be in place. This major investment has secondary benefits that may not be as sexy, like how operational efficiency is rarely considered investment worthy, but the potential dividends are huge.

In short, use tech that won’t break and won’t frustrate without settling for the lowest common denominator and you should be fine, especially if you test test test your prototypes and soft launch with extra staffing in place.

Summary

  • Customer need over technology wow
  • Simplify the dependencies to ensure seamlessness
  • Test and soft launch versus hitting investor timelines

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