By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
It doesn’t really matter who you ask, there’s a general feeling out there that we’re heading into uncharted waters with a new administration. Some pundits and business experts say there’s a shift toward a business-centric focus with Donald Trump and that’s a positive thing. Others bemoan what they are sure will be the end of America’s social fabric and position of influence in the world.
Whatever side of the fence you’re on, there’s still one truth people on both the left and right wing of the political spectrum agree on and that’s the fact that innovation still drives our forward progress as a nation and people.
And there are lots of bright spots to focus on:
- One of PwC’s releases on the subject–Service robots: The next big productivity platform plots some hard to ignore points that join together to paint a very clear picture of tomorrow’s robotics being fuelled by today’s innovation. There are three points on the modernization triangle here and improving cognition, recognition and manipulation ( which includes support for verbal and nonverbal interaction with humans ) are goals the company is working on now.
- Even the face of currency is changing as IT and innovation become synonymous and the spinoff industries blend with more traditional enterprises. Bitcoin is a great example of a bright idea that’s taken shape and there is at least one full service bullion dealer that’s started accepting this cryptocurrency.
- People keep opening doors for people. It’s not always about cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Sometimes there’s innovation that springs up the good old-fashioned way from unexpected places. Consider California’s recent passage of Prop 64 and the legalization of recreational marijuana that it brings. Smart and inventive people are either capitalizing on this new movement or moving towards the mainstream with a variety of accessories and technologies that are leading the way to fill a hole in a new market. Accessories like water pipes are taking on a brand-new look and respectability with the emerging legalized recreational marijuana industry.
Why does innovation still matter?
No one really needs to be convinced but there are a few compelling reasons why innovation is more important now than at any other time in the past. First off, consider the nature of globalization. Although Brexit and Trump’s policies appear to be moving the world towards more protectionist views, there are some industries that can’t be stopped from expanding past their borders by their nature alone.
Businesses that rely on cyberspace to either communicate with distant sales teams, sell their products online, or even just use cyber platforms to get the word out on their goods and services, will likely find ways to sail above any new restricting policies. As soon as innovation launched into the world of cyberspace, it became a juggernaut that more than likely won’t be stopped anytime soon.
Here’s a few stats to back up the importance of a sound innovation focus:
- Lab42 is a research firm from Chicago, Illinois that’s done some work with innovation and what it means to consumers. Here’s one interesting finding. Consumers consider the notion of innovation one of the most important aspects they consider before purchasing something. In fact, the research shows 84% of people find it very important the company they buy an item from is considered innovative.
- However, it’s clear from the same research that there are a few gender differences when it comes to buying a product that’s hot off the shelf. Men are more adventuresome and 65% will buy a product as soon as it comes out and feel comfortable about doing so while only 59% of women fall into that category.
For food items, a stunning 64% of the consumers polled will pay for an item that they consider to be an innovative product. Of course, innovation is the lifeblood of products in financial markets and others that are closely associated like insurance. If you take a look at the recent advances in the banking industry, it’s clear to see how innovation is the gasoline fueling the fire for change. Innovative mobile banking apps and uncluttered website design are just two of the clear benchmarks that show where this aspect of the financial industry is moving.
Every industry is moving towards or has already been affected by the possibilities mobility, cloud computing, analytics and a host of other inventions bring to the innovation table. Even financial products like a self-directed IRA can be found in an online format in today’s ever changing markets. In the end, innovation still matters because it transcends politics and moves forcefully across the global landscape.