I never cease to be amazed at the number of buzzwords that enter our vocabulary. Good ideas become nauseating when entrenched in bad phrases. Of course, the idea of keeping sick people away from old people or those with weakened immune systems is good, yet the phrase “social distancing” is oxymoronic and getting very, very old very, very quickly.
Digital transformation is another phrase that shot off like a firework but really doesn’t have a lot of teeth in its meaning. The idea of digital transformation is that all businesses should read recognize technology is a constant and growing component of products and services. Yet a whole lexicon of “digital” words has sprung up to describe a simple evolution in product innovation.
One new phrase is “digital innovation.” It means applying digital technology to increase operational efficiency, drive customer engagement, or to develop innovation products and services. Frankly, this is a very broad definition and can hearken back to the good – but simple – idea that computers can do basic calculations faster than humans. We have been using digital technology throughout my entire life to improve operations. For example, petrochemical plants are controlled via a DCS (digital control systems) that monitors temperature, pressure, flow rates, and valve positions. This is not a “new” concept.
What is somewhat different in the past few decades is evolution of a “digital strategy”. Instead of tacking on an application or programming for a product after it is designed and developed, innovative companies today recognize the importance of integrating technology throughout the development stages.
Technology generally allows us to move product innovation at a faster pace. Using social media and 3D printing to generate prototypes, new product development (NPD) practitioners garner rapid customer feedback. We conduct many more inexpensive trials before freezing the design.
Further, when software is fully integrated into a product’s functionality, features can be changed and adapted on an ongoing basis. We can customize many of the features and functions of products and services for each individual user. Digital transformation thereby enhances the relationship between the customer and the producer.
Advance Your Digital Transformation
Did you miss the digital transformation? Don’t feel bad if you missed the ascension and collapse of a buzzword. It’s likely your company did not miss opportunities to integrate technology into product design or customer experience. Using technology to analyze large data sets and to cull insights from qualitative measures is commonplace.
If your organization is not integrating applications, software, and IT into product and service development, you do need a digital strategy. The digital strategy also identifies how competitors are using technology to gain market share. If you are falling short, you may need to consider simple steps such as how to reshape your organization using apps or text messages to gain customer feedback.
Don’t Miss Another Opportunity
Language, phrases, and buzzwords don’t tell the whole story. You need to look at your basic processes and systems. Product innovation starts with proven best practices, customized to ensure competitive advantage. If you are trying to integrate digital strategy or trying to figure out what to do emerging from the corona-panic, you must join our online Reset Your Strategy workshop. Click here to pre-register (special rates for unemployed). Contact me at [email protected] or area code (281) phone 787-3979 for more information.
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I am inspired by writing, teaching, and coaching. I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. It brings me joy to help you build innovation leaders. Teresa Jurgens-Kowal is an experienced innovation professional with a passion for lifelong learning with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Computer and Information Decision Making. My credentials include PE (State of Louisiana), NPDP, PMP®, and CPEM, and I am a DiSC® certified facilitator. Contact me at [email protected] or area code 281 + phone 787-3979 for more information on coaching for entrepreneurs and innovators.