Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Limitless innovation

Vinod Kumar, Managing Director and Group CEO, Tata Communications | July 3, 2014
To truly innovate we need an open mind, or what a recent Forbes article described as a "fluid core".

I continue to think a lot about innovation. The team here has invested a lot of time and effort into creating innovative products and we've experimented successfully with new ways of innovating and taking calculated risks with our approach. But I think there is still so much more to explore... We haven't even touched the tip of the ice berg.

In a recent blog I talked about how consumers and prosumers have a role to play in product development, and how engaging their minds helped us bring jamvee to market. That got me thinking about how we can redefine the concept of the creative team. True innovation, the innovation that shapes markets and industries, comes from the imagination. Do businesses need to unleash their collective imaginations and view the world, the problem and the potential solution through a radically different lens?

Take gamification for example. More organisations are using the elements of gaming (contest, reward, immediate recognition and reward) to motivate employees. Call centres have been at the forefront of this, albeit in a limited way, with their league tables to encourage operatives to ever higher levels of productivity. How much further can we take the concept of gamification? Can gaming technologies be used to train specialist professionals for example?

What if we look at other business areas through a different lens? What lessons can my HR team learn from talking to leaders of dance troupes or creative studios? Or to look at it in another way - what could traditionally non-technology driven industries do differently with the technologies that so many corporate environments take for granted. Can the lessons we learn from our partnership with Formula OneTM be applied to the banking world as they look for ever faster and more secure ways to transact around the world?

To truly innovate we need an open mind, or what a recent Forbes article described as a "fluid core". This article shares the idea that the model of a core competency driven organization is now outdated, with companies that want to innovate needing to be brave enough to step out of that core competency mindset. The author, Haydn Shaughnessy, rightly names Google and Google Glass as prime examples of this approach.

The potential of an unleashed imagination is so extraordinary. The potential of an unleashed imagination attached to the technologies we have at our fingertips today is unparalleled. One example that comes to mind is IBM's Watson which uses hypothesis generation, natural language processing and evidence-based learning to create an analytical tool that can be said to think for itself, ultimately allowing it to participate in and win Jeopardy!. TV quiz shows aside, Watson shows us that while our human cognitive process, our ability to analyse and process data, may limit us, the interaction of human and machine cognitive processes will result in world changing innovation.  We simply have to be brave enough to take the risk to imagine the possibilities.

 

 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.