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Harnessing creativity, design thinking and the Internet of Things to create perpetual innovation


Executive Partner with Reply in the UK, Jason Hill explains why creative thinking and new tools can drive innovation in your business…

One of the many recent predictions about the impact of the COVID-19 situation is that it will speed up the use of automation to replace human workers. Machines don’t get sick and they don’t need to socially distance.

This shift was already happening. For better or worse, automation will continue to replace some human jobs and the Coronavirus outbreak could very well speed up the process.

However, most analysts agree that while automation will replace many low-skilled, often repetitive jobs, it will also advance the creation of new opportunities and new jobs. These new jobs will require some very human capabilities and creativity tops that list. According to the World Economic Forum, creativity is or is related to 9 of the top 10 skills that global executives say are essential for 2020 and beyond. However, recruiters rank creative problem solving as the second most difficult skill to find among job applicants.

With this in mind, businesses should focus less on searching for the creative unicorn and instead cultivate a culture of creativity, supported by the right partners to ideate and create with. Through this approach, all things are possible.

Problem solving with design thinking

Digital transformation offers new opportunities as well as new challenges for companies. Businesses need new ways of thinking which enable innovation in the use of connected products and provide the basis for new services and business models.

Hence, defining ways to enable visions technically to produce tangible results has become increasingly important for individuals leading digital change in a corporate environment. Design Thinking is a valuable method for leaders to prepare arguments, to get support for their digital visions and critically, to get things done.

The Design Thinking approach allows sustainable corporate technological innovations and processes to be changed in only a few steps:

  • Who is the audience that you are designing for” Find the answer and start prototyping to discern customer happiness
  • Integrate experts from varying fields to embrace new ways of thinking and create a multidisciplinary innovation team
  • Invite feedback on prototypes so new ideas can fuel the next iteration
  • Create partnerships and collaborate with companies that can offer new thinking, unlock full innovation potential and venture into new territories

The principle of design thinking is about the process of problem solving by understanding the people we serve, so we can provide better and more relevant products and services for our customers.

To enable this way of thinking, companies need to innovate from the inside out. Instead of tasking one individual with the “freedom to be creative , leaders need to establish and build a culture of creativity among all employees.

This freedom to innovate encourages employees to propose new products, services and business models to help their business innovate in a highly competitive market. Once companies have created an environment that lends itself to free and independent thinking, then the real innovation can begin.

IoT is the drawing board for creative innovation

While automation is changing how we work, the Internet of Things (IoT) is completely transforming how humans interact with technology and how technologies interact with each other.

IoT has long been a reality, in fact, 27bn devices were connected via the IoT in 2017. This number will likely swell to 125bn by 2030. By 2022, business related to IoT products are expected to comprise a market worth 561bn US dollars. This is largely due to the breadth of possible applications across multiple industries.

From healthcare, to automotive, personal finance to manufacturing, general recreation and beyond. IoT has been involved in the rollout of an assortment of applications and we are only just touching the surface.

Taking advantage of the opportunities

The sheer scale of opportunities available, mean that companies should be doing everything they can to ensure they can liberate creativity and innovate to gain a competitive edge. Every business, big or small, stands to gain from the efficiencies and collaborate possibilities enabled by the IoT.

Part of taking advantage of those opportunities lies in collaborating with the right partner. There is nothing worse than arriving at great ideas with no skills or guidance to implement them, or worse still, not having great ideas to begin with.

A good partner will suggest ideas and bring growth, a great partner will help you to excel and exploit relevant innovations brought about by economic and social transformation. In this evolving and disruptive world, creativity is king and those that can harness it and utilise it for innovation, will lead some of the most exciting changes society will see.


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