Welcome to the New Year! - The Bakery %

Welcome to the New Year!

Andrew Humphries

2020 is here! And while everyone is gearing up for and looking forward to the year ahead, it is important to evaluate how far we’ve come and what to anticipate in order to make the most of the new year. So, we thought we’d kick off our first article of the year with a look at what we expect to see in tech this year.  

The Death of ‘Hype’

Over the past two years we’ve seen a peak and trough of ‘hype’ and buzzwords within the tech ecosystem; 2018 ushered in a wave of hype over the likes of AR, VR, and Blockchain. At the very height of it all, it seemed like everyone wanted to integrate these technologies into their business in some way or another. However, by the end of 2019, we’ve seen a drop in face-value excitement around these technologies. Rather, there was more interest around how these propositions are structured, and what touchpoints and leads they could actually provide. Finding real, meaningful opportunities that enable businesses to transform is at the crux of our beliefs and something we’ve always advocated to our clients. We understand it’s important to get excited by all the possibilities out there, which is why we begin our programmes with a process of inspiration before honing in on the most relevant solutions, but, the move away from hype is a change that is definitely welcomed on our part. 

In part, this seems to be a result of cynicism around buzzwords. Aside from the tech itself, we’ve also seen a lot of hype in regards to certain applications for tech. For example, we’ve seen ‘Ethical AI’ frequently thrown into the mix. As the interest in Ethical AI continues to grow, lip-service to AI ethics and vague guidelines around AI is no longer enough. Policies around AI and ethical responsibility in tech will push itself to the forefront of discussions – evolving from mere buzzword to a standard that companies are expected to adhere to. If you’re keen to learn more then read our article on ethics-tech next! 

With increased democratisation of these novel technologies, more and more people are understanding how they work and are evaluating how these technologies could be implemented within their organisations/alongside their offerings. Therefore, with less buy-in simply for the sake of hyped up technologies within an organisation’s arsenal, we will see more scrutiny of these technologies and the inevitable death of the ‘hype’ cycle. So, start by asking yourself, “what is the use case and will it actually provide value? And if you are already asking yourself this or are going through the process of learning how to better assess new technology then we’d love to help – so get in touch!

Consumer Centric Ecosystems and Diversification

Losing ‘hype’ however, does not come at the expense of losing interest. What we have seen increasingly throughout 2019, and predict to see develop further this year, is the creation of new ecosystems, that put consumers at the center, in addition to defragmentation of ways to innovate. 

Different approaches to innovation and innovation theory have been around for a long time, but now we are seeing an increasingly widespread adoption of different methods of innovation. Beyond incremental innovation, which is often the safest bet for any business, companies are embracing disruptive innovation strategies. We even see companies, such as Philipp Morris, a leading cigarette manufacturer, ‘self-disrupting’ with their smoke-free future range, in order to be more bold, and to adapt to changing consumer expectations. 

Aside from changing attitudes towards various types of innovation, we predict an increased interest in ecosystem development. As we have experienced with a number of our clients, consumer-centric propositions remain the core focus of many companies. However, there has been a rise in the desire to link up multiple propositions and develop an innovation ecosystem. This requires diverse resources and participants in order to not only provide numerous offerings but more importantly to innovate cohesively and sustainably. Development of an innovation ecosystem is essential in order for companies to fulfil and service as many consumer needs as possible. 

Speaking of defragmentation of ways to innovate and ecosystem development, we cannot ignore new and exciting business models that we see popping up in the corporate innovation space. We have long argued that typical corporate led incubators and accelerators are not fit for purpose. Instead, business models such as corporate venture building are on the rise, creating spin out opportunities that are not necessarily solving problems in the business but provide an avenue for companies to cement their position as market leaders by creating new propositions. If corporate-led venture building is of interest then keep an eye peeled out for our next article, in which we will delve deeper into this topic. 

Looking back over the trends of recent years, we’re excited to see what 2020 brings.Leave a comment on our social channels and let us know what your predictions for 2020 are! 

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