THINK Week in Review: The “Digital Combination” Edition

Why are so many companies failing to optimize their digital investments? Because most are still deploying digital technologies piecemeal. If, instead, companies were to take a combinatorial approach, new research shows they could drive both significant additional savings per employee and higher market capitalization.

Ask yourself: Are you intelligently combining digital technologies to lead in the new? “Creating value with digital isn’t just a simple game of mixing and matching digital technologies, however. Companies also need to completely reinvent their operating models, production and value chains, becoming what Accenture calls Industry X.0 businesses.

Industry X.0 businesses embrace constant technological change—and profit from it. They move beyond experimenting with IT bundles or SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) stacks, combining digital technologies to drive both top-line and bottom-line growth. Industry X.0 businesses incorporate Industry 4.0’s core operational efficiencies, but also leverage combinations of advanced digital technologies to continuously create new, hyper-personalized experiences in both a business-to-consumer and business-to-business context.”

Mary Meeker’s Yearly Internet Trends Report is here, the most important takeaways:

  • US adults now spend 5.9 hours per day on digital media, up from 5.6 in 2016.
  • 38% of Chinese citizens are willing to provide sensitive private info in exchange for product improvements, compared to 25% of Americans (around 10% for Europe). China could gain a data advantage that lets it more rapidly develop new technologies and services.
  • 2017 – The year of voice: Amazon’s Echo install base went from more than 10 million to more than 30 million units in 2017
  • Public and private tech investment is near a 20-year high.
  • Ecommerce growth quickened in 2017 as sales reach 13% of retail sales.
  • China now hosts 9 of the top 20 Internet companies, while the US hosts 9.

The Art and Science of Data Analytics in Financial Services. “If banking providers are to succeed in winning consumers’ trust for personalized services that depend on access to their private data, consumers must clearly understand — and enjoy — the value they gain in return for sharing highly personal information.

The question is, can financial institutions hear what the data is telling them about individuals’ needs, and how these individuals relate to one another, their environments and their cultures? Can they hear how people are responding to these needs? Do they understand the messages being sent in response to offers? Moreover, do they know or understand what people will find acceptable?

Once an organization can answer yes to these questions, they can act, knowing that they’ll be doing so with positive intent, and integrity. But, if organizations rely only on data as a science, they’ll struggle to succeed where consumer expectations are increasing.”

Yes, this is an extremely long article by a former Amazon employee and Head of Product for Flipboard, Hulu and Oculus. Highly recommended because of its insights: Invisible asymptotes. “Because products and services live in an increasingly dynamic world, especially those targeted at consumers, they aren't governed by the immutable, timeless truths of a field like mathematics. The reason I recommend a healthy mix of intuition informed by data and feedback is that most product people I know have a product view that is slower moving than the world itself. If they've achieved any measure of success, it's often because their view of some consumer need was the right one at the right time. Product-market fit as tautology. Selection bias in looking at these people might confuse some measure of luck with some enduring product intuition.”

Andres Iniesta Farewell, and how to make endings count at work. “At many workplaces, we often lack the rituals and spaces to end projects and tenures. We don’t speak of “suffering through a game,” as soccer players often do when they describe their efforts. We reward active emotions such as joy, happiness, and enthusiasm — or even frustration and anger, as long as they keep us going. We reduce love to “love what you do, and do what you love,” but we don’t make much space for those hours or days in which love breaks our hearts. We want our passion focused on performance. We don’t want it to end.”