DIGITAL INNOVATION

Innovation changes the world. The discovery of fire and writing, the invention of wheel and printing, steam engine, electricity, internal combustion engine and others.

If Sir Isaac Newton had not laid the foundations of modern physics and mathematics in 17th century, it would be difficult for James Watt to invent steam engine in 18th century. And they both recognize their ancestors and claim that they could only get better thanks to them.

It was not only Edison who brought electricity where it is today. Before him, there was Volta, Ampere, Galvani, Ohm, Joule, Siemens, Faraday, Maxwell, Hertz, Marconi and of course Nicola Tesla… The biggest discoveries are a product of the interdisciplinary and collaborative studies, not a product of a one-man discoveries or articles. 

First comes the scientific foundation, followed by development of new ideas so the concept matures. Then, the technology emerges and finally engineers and inventors get into the picture to produce solutions with an aim to adress the problems of daily life.

WHILST THE TECHNOLOGY MATURES, IT ADOPTED BY THE SOCIETY

In the meantime, the writers, the poets, the painters, sculptors and similar thinkers and artists step in to question these new concepts/products by voicing the unspoken and unconsidered ideas. Such as Jules Verne, Aldus Huxley, Leonardo, Karl Marx, Goethe, Shakespeare…

Whilst the technology matures, it craves to be embraced and adopted by the society. The first steam engine and locomotives were rejected by people as, with fear and anxiety overtaking, they saw those as a thread to their jobs and existence.

WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMICS OF THE TECHNOLOGY?

But what about the economics of the new technology? What is its impact be on the employment and/or on hourly salary rates? There are many unanswered questions on how the story could develop. Though in time, the equation of “technology, society, economy” is balanced, the legal and social rules, it’s cultural and artistic values are shaped. That is what happened since the beginning.

But what about the economics of the new technology? What is its impact be on the employment and/or on hourly salary rates? There are many unanswered questions on how the story could develop. Though in time, the equation of “technology, society, economy” is balanced, the legal and social rules, it’s cultural and artistic values are shaped. That is what happened since the beginning.

If we are to look at today’s digital age and follow the same logic, we see similar developments and results. First the foundation was built, the discovery of semi conductor and communication protocols, information theory and many others. On top of these, in Silicon Valley and similar centers in East and West, the inventors got into the picture and come up with inventions that the world had never thought of until that time. They found investers, customers and grew their business. Thanks to the World’s stability between 1950-2000, the humanity has witnessed a tremendeous development trend in science, technology, economy and society despite the small crisis from here and there.

FROM PC TO MOBILE PHONES

In this period, we met new inventions from PC to mobile phones, from internet to the laptop and such. However, those inventions were only the starters which acted as the pioneers of the real digital transformation. Facebook, which was founded in 2004, has reached one billion users in 2012 and two billion in 2017 thanks to this infrastructure which enabled internet and mobile phones to everyone, in everywhere. As a society, we got used to these technologies, worked on its economics, and adopted its culture with all the emoji, selfie, shit-storm vb functionality.

This is how we should consider digital innovation, everything goes hand in hand. We should always question, what else could be built in/on the existing scientific and technolgical foundation and how we could use this potential innovation to adress the problems of world people. Why? Why not?

When thinking about digital innovation, please consider those:

  • Scientific infrastructure:
    • What is the subject?
  • Technologic infrastructure:
    • Is is reliable enough? Is it mature enough? Is it scalable?
    • Did society favour it or will they at some point? Is it a forerunner or a follower?
  • Social infrastructure:
    • Are there enough people who needs this solution?
    • Are they ready for this solution? Are they “technology” literate?
  • Economical infrastructure:
    • Are there any signs or examples of your dream business model?
    • Could it be a part of a value adding ecosystem?

The number and the nature of such questions can be proliferated in the light of legal, cultural, artistic and political situations. But our intent is not to scare you. On contrary, we just want to highligh that before any business idea can be materialized, there will be obstacles on the way. And unless there is a reliable and sustainable foundation in place that you can base your business on, you may have challenges to convert those obstacles into opportunities.

For example, in 1999, Migros for the first time tried Jet-Kasa. However, it is understood that the society was not ready for this change. When Migros reintroduced the same concept in 2013, the idea became a success because in the meantime, the society adopted using smart phones, check-in kiosks and credit cards. It was brave of Migros to re-try the idea, despite the misfortune first launch however they were smart enough to assess the changing circumstances and act on it when the right time came.

Please note, what we have shared so far is still just the first step towards developing a new idea. The second, and maybe one of the most important, step in the innovation process is the “execution” part. You should convert your idea into a product and your product into a business model which will then pave the way for a successful business.