Technology, no matter how brilliant , no matter the promise, is useless unless it gains traction and goes mainstream. Over the years I have noticed that it is not a shortage of ideas and concepts that exists but rather a lack of buy-in from key institutions or industries that would see solutions grow legs.
I believe that certain technology concepts are best adopted by a market once one or two big entities, think government or blue chip fast moving consumer goods outfit, latch on, and use the solution to derive competitive advantage or other value as measured by its key performance indicators.
The bottleneck however lies in the “innovation averse” nature of many of the people, on whose desks the opportunity to think different and experiment lies. From my interactions with middle to high level executives charged with providing leadership on core functions such as marketing, public relations, data mining and sales, it has become apparent that the innovation paralysis is caused by a lack of intimate understanding of the channels of engagement. In a nutshell, no one wants to be the first mover, lest the experiment falls below expectation and results in a beration, demotion or worse still, job loss.
There are two ways to manage this paralysis and bride the expectation gap.
The first is executive education on emerging technologies that brings key decision makers up to speed on what is happening in the world of technology, skewed to their industry. This type of education takes the form of a short sharp shock due to the busy nature of many of these key people. Done over the course of a number of days or staccatoed over a longer period , a technology primer is delivered with resources to support continued, paced learning and information digest. There is often times an immediate improvement in the innovation outlook of those who go through such knowledge transfer sessions, as they now get it and are not lost in conversation with their agency ot technology solution provider.
The second is to build on our own case studies that will inform local performance benchmarks. In the case where we do not have many campaigns to study and derive that information, then a critical analysis of the ecosystem needs to be done by an informed mind to arrive at a tentative yardstick. This will provide a good starting point for those looking to experiment with concepts as the results will not me measured against those of other markets whose variables are not likely to be similar to ours.
The value of sector knowledge and benchmarks derived from local data cannot be overemphasized. Companies and government must look at facilitating this transfer for innovation to be driven from within.