Innovation at the Speed of Now

The pace of innovation in 2020 was unprecedented for many reasons but questions remain about its sustainability.

These senior technology leaders question how the last 12 months’ digitalisation recalibrated their expectations of what’s possible.

With Jon Bernstein moderating, the speakers of this roundtable debate include:

  • Chintan Patel, Chief Technology Officer, UKI, Cisco
  • Paul Davison, Head of Data, Royal Mail
  • Eileen Jennings-Brown, Head of Technology Wellcome Trust
  • James Gupwell, CTO, Inigo Insurance


Innovation everywhere

With the rapid pace of technology, the word conjures thoughts of a Hyperloop, SpaceX moon voyages and other grandiose concepts that are part real, part science fiction. We often credit this rise to the boom in Silicon Valley decades ago, where our world seemed to evolve almost instantly. That era was the dawn of many products and services that have become integral to the fabric of our daily lives.

There is so much “innovation” that happens with the intent of being “the next big thing,” only to disappear a short while later. And innovation is in quotes because it’s a word with many meanings that covers a humongous spectrum, from the walking sleeping bag to consumers being able to travel to a different planet.

What if we took a different approach? What if we focused less on the big inventions and more on steps we can take every day to get there. If we only focus on innovation in the context of grand ideas, we’re missing out on the idea of continuous improvement and the major impact it has on individuals, companies and societies (sleeping bag innovation aside). The roundtable debated this and more.


Power of mistakes

Everyone is so fearful of making a mistake. They're quick to point the finger at anyone else when one is made. But if we shifted our perception of mistakes and saw them as opportunities to grow, we could learn and better ourselves from every mistake made. They are often gifts in disguise. We are certainly not aiming to err, but when it happens — and it will many times in a business — it is an opportunity for gathering information and pushing boundaries. Acknowledge them, learn from them, make changes and move on.

Mistakes contribute to a healthy company. Before finding success with my current company, I developed and launched a mobile CRM company with a good friend of mine in Argentina. Though we had a great product, we didn’t take the company to its maximum potential. But it is from the mistakes we made (and the many others before and after) that we credit for the path we are on today.


Curiosity calling

Tied closely with daily innovation is the idea that curiosity leads to it. As a person, or a company, your goal should be to remain in a state of constant improvement. Ask questions. We should ask ourselves "How can I make this more secure?" and  "How will this system most benefit my customer?" or "How can I approach this problem differently and more efficiently?" This is where continuous improvement comes in.

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