“Do not wait for perfection, put your idea on the market and tailor it to fit its needs,” “Fail fast, the journey is more important – it’s your learning opportunity.” Those were in a nutshell some of the most important messages that our participants got from Innovation Explorer 2016, the second edition of the international forum held recently in Sofia.
This interview with some of our project managers is a follow-up of the talk we had with them after the event. Rayna Grigorova, Ilka Stoeva-Chaneva and Boris Vasilev were privileged to get lessons and to hear global innovators’ stories from Google, McCann Ericsson, Pixar Animation Studio, Flipps, StudySmart, etc. Now they feel more self-assured that A Data Pro is on the right track to make innovation part of our daily lives.
Q: Which is the best lesson you learned from the innovation gurus?
“Innovation is a new match between need and solution,” Boris started, quoting Kosta Jordanov, founder & CEO of Flipps, a successful Bulgarian startup. The presenters rather confirmed our belief that the need for innovation comes when we identify issues that need to be fixed, an existing gap or a need that needs to be fulfilled. In our company there are lot of examples when the need called for a change and that is how we respond to issues and develop our business further, Boris added.
Another message worth remembering is that innovative solutions not only solve problems but do it with the target market in mind, that is their commercialisation is not less important, Rayna Grigorova said. Most great ideas are often inspired by listening to users and customers. A proof of that is our project to develop a platform which will enable analysts to create processes for extracting data from a great number of sources and its processing and structuring in a way that best meets the needs of our clients and facilitates their analyses.
This platform will be used for providing corporate clients with end solutions based on processing data sets from different sources, in different languages and different formats. The services will include conversion of documents, optical identification and filling-in of data, structuring of unstructured data, complementing, replacing and aligning data with the final aim of sending and publishing relevant information streams. Moreover, the environment itself and the settings can turn the offering from “a data processing service” into the so called “data as a service”.
We can learn from KFC’s approach of turning a negative experience into a positive one, Boris suggested. Their initiative “Social outage days” rewarded customers for outages in the social media. So we can turn times of technical outages at our company, despite rare, into social events e.g meetings, thought showering, etc.
Q: We know that Big Data creates new business models. What is the impact of digital innovation on our company’s database management and media analysis operations?
Connecting products to the web will be the 21st century electrification according to Matt Webb, CIO of Berg Cloud, and we can be part of that, Boris replies. People leave their digital footprint by making reservations, clicking on ads, ordering goods, watching videos, liking posts on Facebook, etc. But digitalization is not only happening on the computer screens, it spreads across many things that were until now considered to be “offline”. Now they are more and more connected. And they collect data. We have to find out what the users want to get from Big Data, process it, analyse it and make products which will make people’s lives easier. We need to deliver value.
Paul Jeremaes, Director HPE Innovation Centers, spoke about the rising importance of dealing with 100% of available data while processing it or making tools to do it. HP is working on smart devices which will manage data wisely to serve the technology-empowered end-user. For example a driver can have a lot of information on the windscreen like weather forecast, news, ads, who is the driver behind, has his driver’s licence expired, etc. What we must find out is which information will the driver really need displayed.
Q: What do you think about Google’s initiative “Moon shot thinking”?
Google encourages experimenting with new audacious ideas and creating passion-driven projects, Raya explains. One of them is the Loon Initiative, whose goal is to provide Internet access to remote locations using balloons that float in the stratosphere.
However, this is a strategy for companies which lead and shape the market, not companies which follow customer needs, Raya adds. A nice example is Apple which invented the ipod and convinced the consumers that they need exactly this gadget and not any other mp3 player.
Q: A Data Pro was recognised as the best Bulgarian company for Innovation Management for 2015. In what way is it ahead of other companies?
A Data Pro was invited to take part in the national competition Innovative Enterprise of the Year after an assessment by the methodology of House of Innovation of AT Kearny, whose tool measures the company’s Innovation strategy, innovation results, innovation organization and culture, enabling factors and innovation life cycle processes, Rayna replies.
A Data Pro outperformed the companies in the the knowledge-intensive services sector on all these criteria.