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 businesses via the application of advanced computation (e.g. AI).
I learned from the legendary Tom Peters about the language and art of business. There is nothing new to add to his insights, despite modern fads like “Lean” this, that and the other. Put plainly: I am not a technologist for technology’s sake. I mean business.
I am not an “innovation theorist” with “big idea” Powerpoints or feelgood sticky-note frenzies. I produce tangible, well researched outputs: I can propose, design, architect and build. My track record in technical execution is 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 mathematician. But I am also well schooled in design. My approach is to fuse data-driven analysis (bottom-up) with design-driven innovation (top-down).
Find Order in Chaos: Cognitive Transformation
Most “digital transformation” is speeding up existing processes rather than reinventing them. This is not a sustainable approach when adopting cognitive technologies, like AI. They have their own capabilities that can often transcend traditional approaches.
The chaotic reality of today’s market, user and regulatory environment stems from the fact that businesses are Complex Systems. Mere “simplification” of processes no longer works.
If your processes can’t continually adapt at the rate of change of external stimuli, then you will fail in the face of smarter competitors and drown in technical or structural debt.
The availability of large-scale computing and open source AI is a game-changer and demands a rethink.
Organization intelligence is rapidly becoming synonymous with “organizational cognitive intelligence”. If cognitive computing isn’t at the core of your transformation roadmap, you are doing something wrong. You need “cognitive transformation”, not digital transformation.
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 essentials, mostly via critical reasoning and interview-based research, not some faddish “framework” that wastes hundreds of slides and hours of time.
I help interpret where the real value exists irrespective of existing corporate narratives and dogmas. If necessary, I enlist design-interpreting partners, such as Rick Lewis (former Ideo, former Frog, Braun Prize winner).
Using design-driven innovation, which is a form of conceptual blending, I re-interpret core competencies through the lens of cognitive technology. A landscape of future possibilities emerges that can be selected from and transposed into meaningful digital strategy. Often, I am hired to put that into practice and lead efforts to develop core technology beyond the reach of the roadmap engineers.
Where necessary, I draw upon an extensive network of talent from across the globe. I sometimes build out a team via the founding of an innovation lab.
1. Establish the true mandate.
What do you *really* want? This is always the starting point. Everyone says “we want to innovate” but seldom do they articulate the real constraints. Via a series of conversations with executive sponsor(s), I tease out the true mandate, which is often tricky. If I don’t see a meaningful mandate, I walk away. I have no desire to get paid $$$ for delivering slides 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 or historical lens. I tease out current capabilities so that I can begin to fit them into a different framing – i.e. one of advanced computation. 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 capabilities.
3. Map a digital landscape
Irrespective of what a client tells me about their business, I develop an independent view of the landscape with the goal of unearthing foundational 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 any amount of resources. Are these limits informational, process, speed, or something else? I then explore these limits through the lens of computation and 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 frame your industry category in terms of its product futures. This is an 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 qualities” 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 computational technologies, if applicable. This approach reveals a set of possible product strategies to frame the innovation.
Finally, I synthesize the digital landscape and design framework in order to describe a set of digitally-native strategic futures and tangible actions to get there. To be clear, I seldom make strong recommendations at this point as it causes a bias in the process. Rather, I 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. It is not my place to state a strategy, but rather to suggest what it could be via “digitally emergent” ways of operating.