Imagining the act of monetizing assets that are immaterial, knowledge for example, is completely possible, as proven by Uber and Airbnb. Is it possible or not? They make networks available and then go on to monetize lesser used physical assets. Again, is it possible?
Are we literally on the verge of having intelligence become “Uberized?” Numerous innovation managers, including research & development, strategy and marketing activities by big corporations all agree that innovation demands establishing a cognitive relationship amongst a high number of knowledge domains as sources, and the pace is increasing as we speak.
In the digital world that we live in today, accessing the best knowledge possible and also the best talents out there has literally never been any easier. In search for the needle in the haystack, proverbially speaking, searching speed is also increasing amazingly fast, along with the size and number of the haystacks. Intelligence, as always, plays a critical role here.
If the main input of intelligence lacks the good quality it should, having even the best innovation creativity possible along with management processes won’t render anything decent. The term intelligence is used in an Anglo-Saxon sense, if you will: a collection of activities that gather, analyze and cross a wide specter of information from a number of sources to have guiding elements extracted in the quest to reach a strategic decision or an action of operational value.
Innovation is fueled by intelligence. This has forever been a highly important aspect of business activity, despite being utilized these days in an environment that is increasingly complex. Three reasons are behind this phenomenon:
1. Knowledge is undergoing inflation and fragmentation
We are witnessing new knowledge being created at an accelerated and unprecedented pace (for example, each year the scientific world is publishing 5 million papers). Furthermore, this knowledge is generated in numerous entities and the average size is actually decreasing. Therefore, today one can faster choose from the knowledge created by others than to start from scratch. One can truly dub our times the open innovation era.
2. The commodities sphere increasingly absorbing products
Any innovative function pleasing customers will without a doubt evolve into a commodity for all, according to Japanese scholar Noriaki Kano. Each and every company is attempting to have their products engulfed in complementary functions, all with the goal of gaining maximum customer attention. Products have reached the point of becoming more sophisticated and even evolving towards packages of full service orientation.
3. Digitalization on the rise
The main players of today’s digital world, including the likes of Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are busy analyzing each and every industry, locating where margins are and loopholes of insufficiency that batter the chain of value. These companies bring this chain under order, thanks to digital technology, involve their role in establishing relations with clients and begin hunting for and capturing possible margins. Moving with great speed, these new players are often seen overtaking already established players. Essentially speaking, today innovation has become an activity consisting of examining a series of knowledge components available to the outside world, in preparation for analyzation, to select only a certain few and do a combination to provide elegance and effectivity to respond to customer needs. In the most creative aspect of all, the innovation art is related actually less to technology than to art.
Need more than a technological vision
Design thinkers argue innovations stands on three main pillars: business models, technologies and various usages. As a result, a system of intelligence of a new kind must be implemented. Traditional tech vision and market studies are no longer sufficient, as real-time data must be collected constantly, organized, assessed and analyzed according to the three pillars mentioned above.
The activity of intelligence in innovation service is involved in a structured process related to large corporations specifically. Numerous challenges exist in relation to the necessity of integrating huge chunks of different types of data, also being related to the issue of temporality. Having real-time intelligence has become critical and quite oriented in relation to the future.
In the end, there are also challenges in the face of a number of emerging digital tools that ease instant access to the most related knowledge and the best of all talents. This activity of innovation intelligence is facilitated by tools originated in the digital world.
1. Platforms of crowdsourcing and open innovation
Firms including Presans in France, Ideaken India or NineSigma in the U.S. have an ambition to bring hardly found talents and/or experts into mobilization. They are hard to find due to the fact that an adequate expert profile about them is unknown, which is a dire necessity to carry out an innovation task.
2. Platform of experts
Clarity, GLG and Maven are such companies that promise to bring real-life experts into mobility. The profile of these individuals is actually known in advance, fulfilling a necessity for micro-consulting tasks.
3. Social networks for professionals
LinkedIn, Viadeo or Xing are other companies that at a first glance pursue an objective to establish personal networks and bring talent under management. It is quite probably that these companies will enter the expert platforms field in the not so distant future.
4. Data mining and archiving digitally
Expernova, Intellixir, Questel and Thomson Reuters are all involved in data mining, while other similar firms, such as Mendely and MyScienceWork, are used for digital archiving. These entities are involved in collecting, crossing and analyzing vast amounts of unstructured information to transform them into data, and maybe even intelligence.
Therefore, in quite parallel nature to new processes and methods employed by specific large firms to materialize innovative intelligence, a number of digital firms are in fact tools of development that are enabling or facilitating the optimization of this process. A simultaneous convergence amongst such tools (for example, amongst micro-consulting platforms and professional social media networks. This includes Viadeo announcing the September launch regarding a new service called Viadeo Freelance) and supply consolidation (the absorbing and merger of many companies in this regard).
The “Uber knowledge” or talent Airbnb do not exist as of yet. Yet rest assured it is only a matter of time.