"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."(Arthur C. Clarke)
I’m sure there are a number of examples of similar levels of mastery you can relate to even if your relationship with technology is dominated by the user perspective – Imagine watching your favorite sport, golf for example, where the player you root for confidently walks up to the tee, effortlessly drives the first shot down the fairway to the ideal location for an easy pitch onto green, and executes a single controlled put to score a comfortable birdie. If you’re not a sports fan – I think we’ve all seen street artists sketch a portrait or caricature where at first, the few simple lines on the blank sheet of paper through a mesmerizing transformation move from a nonsensical shape to a beautifully detailed likeness which, if asked to explain or perform the task, the untrained layman would face poor odds.
Both circumstances require repetitive training, analysis, learning and experimenting over extended periods of time combined with the passion and curiosity to reach those extraordinary levels of mastery exhibited by our billboard athletes, artists, and top-tier professionals in different fields in business.
When we encounter these skills skillfully applied in a neat streamlined little package of seamlessly integrated technology, we get the impression of some intangible reality changing properties being imbued with the object – put more simply, it’s like magic!
Remember your first encounter with the iPhone, or Spotify, or having a video-chat with a loved one around the world, or perhaps the combination of internet and Google putting the knowledge of the world at your fingertips. The inherent complexity of the multiple layers of technology, infrastructure and software making these experiences possible is practically incomprehensible for regular mortals – yet these wizards of technology conceive and realize the end-results, and possible next generation technologies which lie beyond.
In current cutting edge application of Big Data technologies, machine learning, efforts towards predictive algorithms and the beginnings of Artificial Intelligence visible in concepts like the IBM Watson – a whole new range of business models and value creation will take place, and any business with the ambition to remain competitive tomorrow needs to maintain a split vision between the day-to-day challenges in the business, and the opportunities brought into the industry by disruptive technologies.
Classic business examples of failing the challenge of the future upheld in classrooms around the world include Eastman-Kodak (film), Facit (calculators), Xerox (copier machines), Nokia (mobile handsets) and perhaps within a shorter timeframe than we realize – well-known hotel chains, taxi companies, network television and record companies.
What then, is the take-home insight we should derive from the connection between the individual effort, leading to mastery, leading to wonderful – practically magic – technological advances and solutions? Here are my conclusions –
- Focus on your goals, your reality, your ability to explain the challenges of your business to people who can help you resolve some of those problems with solutions you may not even have imagined were possible. Sometimes, this opens up transformational possibilities which may expand business and create new revenue streams previously not available to the organization.
- Start small, and build trust with a dedicated team of technology experts who share your vision of where the business should be heading, introducing technological solutions to create value for your end Customers. Let the results speak for themselves, and iterate to progress forward.
- The day-to-day, bread and butter, core-part of your business should run like clockwork and create as little “fuss” as possible, in order for you to enable a focus on innovation and expansion – regardless if it’s relating to technological improvements or not.Recently, I’ve come across a few great examples of how this can work out in the real world.
.. and some bonus material -
– I hope you find them inspiring!
Fredric Travaglia, Business Development Consultant @ Enfo
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