From Business Smartization to Innovation Strategies

Last week, I went to the AI Show in Madrid. Artificial Solutions was one of the sponsors of this event and my colleague Elizabeth Breedlove presented a keynote titled “Can computers have ‘conversations’ with humans?”. After her presentation, Jorge Calvo, from GLOBIS Business School Tokyo, talked about the idea of “business smartization”. I found this concept very interesting and I will try to explain why below.

His point was that during the last centuries, humanity has observed the transformation of industry. The railway and the steam engine, electricity and Ford’s mass production system, computers and the Internet, and recently the IoT and the “smartization of technology”.

It is a fact that during the last few years, we have seen the appearance of smartphones, smartwatches, smart homes, smart cars, smart cities, etc. We are being immersed into very powerful technologies that connect people and provide more services and information in new environments. People have more information than ever at their fingertips. This reality brings further innovation opportunities to B2C companies, as they can create new ways and channels to interact with their consumers and customers. But, what should the approach for the innovation process be? Jorge’s slide below provides the answer.

The idea is that innovation in the highlighted areas can produce a huge impact to both the company and the market. Let me put a few examples of innovation disruption.

SCM 4.0 Strategy. Zara.

Inditex changed the way the fashion industry worked. This company managed to reduce the time-to-market of new collections dramatically. With the concept of “fast fashion” and new products available in the stores in just a few weeks, they have disrupted its industry. To make it possible, the company had to reinvent its supply chain and be able to design, manufacture, distribute and retail clothes within just 2 weeks.

Products and Services Strategy. Netflix.

This company uses big data in the recommendations engine, so that the user can discover new movies and series that other people with similar consumption behavior are enjoying. This keeps its users happy and willing to pay its subscription service. But not only that, Netflix uses big data as an input when looking for inspiration to create new productions. “Narcos” best seller was designed based on customers data and their consumption patterns. And it has been a huge success!

Business Strategy. Google?

This company is a clear example of how it is being driven by innovation. With its “labs” approach and the innovation incentives they give to employees with free time every week to think and try new ideas, it is clear that innovation is in their core strategy. Obviously, not all the new products that this company has launched have been a success – think of the Google glasses for example. However, the future they have in front of them looks great with innovations such as the new autonomous driving systems that they are exploring.

Now, to all innovators in the room, how do you think AI and natural language can boost your companies?


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