Innovations? Human insights, hubs, hard work – and structure.

Innovations? Human insights, hubs, hard work – and structure.

Ulrika Mann

Ulrika Mann,

Do you think the world accelerates too fast? Think again; the world will never accelerate this slow again, according to Sofie Lindblom, CEO at ideation360. That’s why you need a structured process to build an innovation portfolio that minimizes risk and secures viable business. Just don’t forget about the customer-centricity, and that innovations always should arise from a real human need.

Do you believe your business is bullet-proof? Then listen to this: in the sixties, the average lifespan of a company was 62 years, now it's 15. In ten years, half of the S&P 500 companies will be replaced. Technology acceleration and industry disruption now challenge every single field.

What to do then? Keep a constant, high innovation pace. During the event Cognizant Snapshot Human-Driven Innovation in Tech, that took place in connection to Sthlm Tech Fest, speakers from various companies gave their input on how human insights, a structured process, and collaborations can fuel and improve innovation.

Balance creativity with structure
Sofie Lindblom, CEO at ideation360, says that you need a structured innovation process to help balance exploration and execution. You need to take informed decisions about what innovations to focus on; only 1 in 10 startups succeeds. While analysis and forecasts are enough for the core business, the new turf requires hypothesis and experiments to go all the way from idea to commercialization.

Spend time with real people
Andreas Wester Hansen, from ReD Associates, urges us to use human sciences to create a new fact base that improves our understanding of human needs, and then create solutions that match the insights. By marrying Big data and thick data, extracted by observing people and their behavior, industries can re-invent themselves.

A current example is when ReD spent weeks with fraud operators to understand how they operate and to get the insights needed to make credit card companies able to disrupt the fraud business models. Thick data also uncovers opportunities for new Big data models and algorithms.

End-to-end transformation
Great business ideas are all very well, but how do you bring innovation to market at scale? David Womack, Head of Insight, Strategy, and Design at Cognizant Digital Business, knows. With a research driven approach to defining products and services that meet customer needs, he shares a tangible example from the cornfield. The team spent time with corn farmers to map out the year’s cycle, and by realizing that in-season activities were alert drawn while the offseason decision were more strategic, they could develop an app that really supported farmers’ seasonal mindsets.

Human insights, smarter services
Another hands-on innovation process is shared by Edgard Beckand, Director of Strategy at digital agency Mirabeau. His team spent time with KLM’s maintenance crew to improve their digital support systems. Among other things, the research showed that the mechanics walked six kilometers a day between the office computer and the airplanes. By human centered design combined with technology, Mirabeau made sure that mechanics got access to more extensive, gathered information and could thus increase employee engagement, efficiency, and flight hours.

Collaboration hub
Gaetana Sapienza is Head of Operations at SynerLeap, ABB’s innovation growth hub and an example of a dedicated environment for innovation. Here, fast growing startups within industrial automation, robotics and energy, aimed at rapid expansion on a global market, can get together with ABB. The vision is to reach shorter innovation cycles, decrease time to market and strengthen the competitiveness by collaboration.

Want to learn more about why being digital means being more human? Download the report.