I have a track record of creating novel solutions across a wide set of industry problems from digital art to fintech to racing cars. I use design-driven innovation to reinvent products or even entire business lines via the application of advanced computation (e.g. AI).
I learned from the legendary Tom Peters about the art of business. There is nothing new to add to his insights, despite modern fads like “Lean”or whatever. Put plainly: I am not a technologist for technology’s sake. I mean business and I prefer plain talking to fad-talking.
I am not an “innovation theorist” who comes with feel-good sticky-notes. I produce tangible, well researched outputs: I can propose, design, architect and build. My track record in technical execution is beyond question, backed by many satisfied clients and numerous project and patent achievements.
Data- and Design-Driven
I come from a signal processing background, so data-processing is my “first language.” I am also a “data person”. However, I am also well schooled in “design thinking” and psychology etc. I prefer to fuse data-driven “bottom-up” analysis with “top-down” design-driven innovation.
Digital Complexity Transformation:
Most “digital transformation” is speeding up existing processes rather than reinventing them. This is not sustainable in the world of cognitive computation (AI) and emergent decentralized technologies (Web3). They have unique natures that transcend traditional digital transformation mindsets and methods.
Critically, the post Web 2.0 world is chaotic and reflects the reality of today’s digital ecosystems: they are Complex Systems. Mere “simplification”, the essence of many “transformation” approaches no longer works. As the Complexity maxim goes: “Complexity can only be met with Complexity”.
Consequently, if your org cannot continually adapt at the rate of change of complex external ecosystem stimuli, then you will fail in the face of smarter competitors, irrevocable technical debt and data deluge.
Organizational intelligence is rapidly becoming synonymous with “organizational cognitive intelligence”. Put simply: if cognitive computing (AI) isn’t at the core of your org, you are most likely falling behind, even if you don’t yet notice it.
Many orgs claims to be data-driven, yet confuse data abundance with data literacy — i.e. the ability to actively interpret and act upon data. Even then, bottom-up data-driven is not enough. It has to be met with top-down systems thinking and interpretive design that enable breakthrough performance via appropriately empowered talent.
This is an actual clustering visualization from a project I worked on in e-commerce. There’s meaning in this data. Modern orgs/markets are similar — they contain clusters of behaviour and opportunity that are discoverable via cognitive computation and strategy.
I interpret your business into its essential mechanisms, mostly via data-driven critical reasoning guided by interview-based research. I do not use any faddish jargon-laden “consulting framework” that produces hundreds of meaningless slides.
I typically identify where untapped value might lie irrespective of existing corporate narratives (and delusions). When necessary, I enlist design-interpreting partners, such as Rick Lewis (former Ideo, former Frog, Braun Prize winner) who know how to interpret user mindset.
Using design-driven innovation, I interpret product solutions through the lens of advanced technologies, like AI. I often propose a landscape of future direction themes into which I fit specific products ideas that emerge from the analysis.
For execution, I have experience with a range of approaches, from 1-person coding to founding an “Innovation Lab” to directing large R&D divisions in multinationals.
1. Establish the true mandate.
What do you *really* want? This is always the starting point. Everyone says “we want to get better at X” but seldom do they articulate the real constraints. Via a series of conversations with executive sponsor(s), I tease out the true mandate with constraints, which is often a tricky process and conversation. If I don’t see a meaningful mandate, I walk away. I have no desire to get paid $$$ for work that will never translate into value. Life’s too short for vanity projects.
2. Capabilities discovery
Clients know their business the best, but often via a biased, dogmatic, historical and diffused set of filters. I tease out current capabilities so that I can begin to fit appropriate innovations. This step includes a kind of “digital what-if”, like if X is the digital future of Y (e.g. some pivotal capability or market characteristic) then how might that impact our view of the business?
3. Map a digital landscape
Irrespective of what a client tells me about their business, I often develop an independent view of the landscape with the goal of unearthing scope and limits. For example, if the core of a client’s financial business is essentially aggregating data, then I will explore the limits of aggregation were we to apply infinite resources. Are these limits informational, process, speed, or something else? I then explore these limits in order to interpret the possibilities. Doing this over a range of core processes, I construct a digital landscape of possible business futures.
4. Develop a design framework
Via a process akin to design-driven innovation, I attempt to unveil the actual meaning of a current product and/or intended innovation in the “mind of the market.” For example, perhaps a financial loan product is really an “insurance policy” in the mind of its users. In which case, the “insurance properties” of that product might become its design-driven purpose. This might entail looking more broadly at the theme of “insurance” and seeing how it might be re-imagined via the use of advanced technologies, like AI, etc.
Finally, I synthesize the above steps into a set of digital product and tech initiatives. I typically aim to expose a set of proposals via what I call “pillars of change”. These are themes around which an actual strategy might be constructed to make use of the specific product/tech proposals. It is seldom my place to state a strategy, but rather to suggest what it could be given the above synthesis.