As a result of Covid-19, the current situation has forced companies to move into an innovation mindset and disrupted their long-lasting, tested business models.
I believe the impact of the pandemic will increase the adoption of digital transformation and take businesses away from manual systems. Digitization and automation will increase as more people continue to work from home. And Google, Salesforce and Facebook announced earlier this year that their employees can work from home until the summer of 2021.
Accenture has studied these changes and others that have been brought about by Covid-19 and published a report they published in June titled, “Driving Value and Values During Covid-19.” The report discovered that technology adoption has gone up since the start of the pandemic. This trend undoubtedly will spread to other sectors, and I believe we’ll see a surge in innovation in large businesses, governments and education to adapt to the new realities posed by the pandemic.
One of the technologies that has gained popularity and seems to have profound future implications is AI. Companies are now reimagining their businesses via a human-AI collaboration. According to the Accenture study, 73% of the companies studied are either piloting or adopting AI in some form.
It also appears that robotics has been taken to the next level during these Covid-19 times and has significant future implications. Robotics is helping to grow the enterprise to increase its reach. We’ll continue to see more robots testing temperatures in public places and dispensing sanitizer.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is yet another technology that has gained traction. More and more IoT devices are being supplemented and integrated into the digital experience. Imagine using your Apple watch to track your heartbeat, oxygen content, temperature, sugar levels and mood levels, and then notifying your doctor if vitals start deteriorating fast.
Companies will need to have more innovation and will have to reinvent and redefine their business models or will perish as change is the only constant in this forced dynamic environment. The Accenture report notes that companies need to have an “Innovation DNA” and follow “DARQ technologies” (distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing) to be successful. I believe these new technologies will define the future even after Covid-19 is a distant memory.
Mckinsey & Co.’s study “Innovation in Crisis: Why It Is More Critical Than Ever” noted that prioritizing innovation today is the key to unlocking post-crisis growth. The survey found that 85% of executives think their business models will be affected by the pandemic over the next five years, and only 21% are ready to face the challenge.
The crisis will bring opportunities in an array of tech-related segments. Companies can take advantage by adopting and finding new opportunities quickly by reevaluating their existing portfolio of products and services.
A Harvard Business School article, “The One Good Thing caused by Covid-19: Innovation,” predicted that in the future, customers will value more safety features in products and services. We’ll continue to see the adoption of videoconferencing, takeout food and plexiglass shields at retail stores in the future. The use of wearables with IoT, robots and drones delivering packages, and online shows for museums and galleries will increase as people may prefer to not go out as much.
So what should organizations do to make sure they don’t get left behind in the innovation department? A great first step is to create a center of innovation (COI) and bring the top talent in the enterprise to see what is working and what is not. They should examine and look for things that can be done that are close to their core business yet are still new and innovative.
Companies should also create a road map of where can they start and how can they choose solution providers that have a proven knowledge base in that specific area.
Innovation adoption will not come without its own set of challenges and roadblocks, so companies must also understand what stumbling blocks they can prepare for.