I have a secret, I love to listen to the radio and my radio program of choice is the live broadcast of the Australian Parliament House (Senate or Reps). Mixed amongst the loud voices of politicians trying to get their desired news byte in the bag for the day and threats to expel members from the house for being too rowdy there are some rare speeches and bill readings about things that matter to me.
I care about what technology and innovation can do for my family and my community. Hearing politicians stand up and say our country needs to be more innovative and capitalize on using technology instead of relying on resources or manufacturing resonates with me. Negative people say you can’t have innovation without having a faster National Broadband Network” or “Having a faster internet will only benefit people streaming movies and consumers” but mot people do not understand the revolution that is coming our way.
The United Stated have been pushing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s) for a while now and this discussion is finally flowing into the Australian parliament. Many 6 year olds are learning to code, my 6-year-old is fascinated with elements, protons, neutrons, elections and quarks (now I need to learn about Fermions, Leptons, Anti-Leptons and bosons to keep ahead of his search for answers). Naturally I go to YouTube (Periodic Table of Videos, Smarter Every Day and CodysLab) to share his passion. My son may not grow up to become a chemist of scientist but knowing about atoms and chemistry is the basis of many industries from cleaning to cooking or computer chip making. Who knows where that knowledge will take him?
Helping the future generation is all well and good but how can small businesses benefit from the innovation boom today? Recent changes to laws allow for instant write off some technology assess future changes will allow businesses to crowd sourcing some projects and many smaller businesses to scale up their business structure without major tax penalties. If a business has an idea or a need to use technology now is the time to act. Resources and knowledge is not too far away if you look.
Larger businesses however are in a tough position; how do they capitalize on the innovation revolution? Gone are the days of businesses reinvesting 10% of their revenue back into research and development like GE, Honeywell and Google used to do. Many bricks and mortar businesses are focuses on streamlining internal processes, limiting risk and managing the increasing compliance burdens. I believe larger organizations need to stop looking at what their competitors are doing and instead look at what their competitors are NOT doing and what their customer want. Customers may not want the same thing from a business that the previous generations wanted from the same business. Customers are not afraid to tweet of give their opinion on Facebook, take advantage of this and ask as reward feedback.
- When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; but when you listen, you may learn something new – Dalai Lama
One of my favorite TED talks is by Simon Sinek where he compares innovative companies to traditional companies with simple to understand “Why, How, What” visualisation:
- Change is inevitable growth is optional.
The most dangerous phrase in business is “We’ve always done it this way”. Larger business resist change and they may think change has to be done in major leaps and it has to be perfect or no change is supported. It takes time to change direction and iterating in smaller steps is seen as being weak, this is not true. Not everything needs to be perfect and released in major cycles.
- Success = (Listening + Research + Plan + Execution + Evaluation) over and over.
- Global technology and innovation will march forward (if we keep up or not).
- We will never be happy with the speed of latency of the internet.
- Businesses can choose to adapt to new business models or shrink.
- We can choose to be creators/innovators or consumers.
Image Credit (but not endorsed by): Author JJ Harrison (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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