Boomtown | Innovation is key (part two)
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22 Aug Innovation is key (part two)

By Andrew MacKenzie

Our world is evolving radically, primarily due to advances in technology. A changing world means the rules have also changed. As businesses look to innovate, what do we need to keep an eye on and what has affected this changing world I refer too? There are six fundamental shifts that we should consider to stay relevant.

One. We live in an age of access and experiences. This is demonstrated by the rapid rise of companies like Netflix and of course, the iTunes platform offered by Apple.This instant access to any movie or music track you could ever dream of has revolutionised our buying and viewing behaviour. The extent of this impact is highlighted by the rapid decline and demise of DVD rental stores and CD outlets.

Two. It’s no longer about business as usual, but rather business unusual. We have seen a convergence of technology to simplify our complex lives, and innovative companies have moved from control to collaboration. Great examples of this are Uber, AirBnB and Crowdsourcing. For Uber and AirBnB, there has been a groundbreaking shift in how we access paid for transport and accommodation. This collaboration of new technology in App development and traditional components has seen both of these companies gain a rapid rise to business success.

Three. The rise and advancement in 3D printing and digital fabrication have revolutionised how we approach production and product development. The ability to print individual, bespoke and customizable prototypes has led to a rapid increase in product development without the significant expenses previously experienced. Nike has already adopted digital fabrication in prototype shoe models with great success.

Four. We have seen a phenomenal rise in information. Take a look at websites like instructables.com. This great site offers instructions on practically everything. Google has made information available to us through a simple word search, and Youtube has user generated video content like never seen before. Consider the online news platforms you follow, both on your computer and mobile devices. We are instantly in touch with what’s going on in the world.

Five. Computers are now more than ever an infinite resource. In 1977, Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation made the statement “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Granted, back then, a 10mb hard drive cost $3398, putting access to computers out of the reach of the everyday man financially. However, computer prices have dropped radically, and technology advanced 1000 times over since then. Our cell phones are now verified computers, with Apples latest iPhone offerings having more than 128 gigs of capacity. There are now 50 billion devices globally, with some people having as many as eight. In a 2015 survey by Neilsen, conducted on behalf of Twitter, it determined that the average person checks their phone up to 150 times a day. We truly are living in an always-on world where we can access anything, anywhere.

Six. We have moved from geographies to a global business approach. The world is now a potential customer. Advances in technology mean that geographic location no longer dictates where we engage in business. Online shopping platforms, high-speed fibre internet lines, and innovations in distance logistics have all opened up the world to local businesses.

As a business owner, an innovative approach to your business is more productive, more responsive, and more inclusive, and allows us to turn innovation and inspiration into financial performance.