For several decades, the world has primarily measured technological advancements by a single metric: Moore’s law. As companies steadily harnessed ever-greater computing capabilities, they made incremental and important improvements in how they innovate, grow and operate. Moore’s law brought us progress that was exponential, but also predictable—until now.
Now, we’re at a new inflection point of technological disruption, as cloud, AI and metaverse evolve into megatrends that will dramatically bend the innovation curve. Much more than simply a form of computing, cloud is the operating system of the future enterprise. It allows businesses to run with greater speed and agility by standardizing operations on a common platform and enabling organizations to innovate and experiment faster. AI’s impact on business will be similarly far-reaching, because of its potential to reinvent practically every aspect of every enterprise. The metaverse marks a new era of digitally enhanced worlds and business models that will change how businesses interact and how they create products and services.
While the megatrends of cloud, AI and metaverse represent three technology “S-curves” that are disrupting businesses, they are also catalysts for productive business change. Legacy technologies limit an organization’s ability to change an innovation, but a strong digital core built on cloud, AI and metaverse enables continuous reinvention—embracing reinvention as a strategy in itself.
Breakthrough innovation sits at the intersection of understanding the potential of next generation technologies and applying them in novel ways to shape and capture white space opportunities and address acute needs in their business or industry.
We believe companies can engineer breakthrough innovations. To understand how this happens, executives should first understand what makes an innovation rise to the level of “breakthrough.”
In our experience, breakthrough innovations have one of three fundamental characteristics that set them apart:
- Establish category-defining new products, services and experiences – beyond growth and profitability, these breakthrough innovations spark entirely new businesses and categories of business; e.g. digital payment and settlement platforms, such as India’s universal payments platform, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal; Square, Stripe and Moven.
- Significantly compress time to value. For example, by re-using learnings from one business segment to accelerate breakthroughs in another, the way AWS used the success of Alexa’s conversational AI intelligence in the consumer market to capture a huge share of the enterprise contact-center market.
- Dramatically reduced cost of development. Today’s technologies make it possible to drastically cut development and associated costs, such as industrial manufacturers piggybacking on cloud, edge and 5G advancements to modernize manufacturing facilities without having to “rip and replace.”
Transforming technology into breakthrough innovation is possible
We are at a unique inflection point. Now is the time for companies to harness the power of cloud, AI and metaverse to establish a digital core and capitalize on the next generation of technology advances. We are inspired by many examples of breakthrough innovations happening already and technology’s power to help companies continuously reinvent their enterprise. By jettisoning a mindset of incremental innovation and embracing breakthrough approaches, business leaders will dramatically reshape their companies, entire industries and broader society.