Key Insight #2 from the SXSW festival in Austin Texas, 2018
With all these incredible innovations bubbling up all over the place, it’s all too easy to get sucked down an [insert technology zeitgeist-y buzzword here] rabbit hole, hoping against hope that you have finally found the silver bullet to solve the technology issues stalking your company. While these burgeoning technologies have enormous scope and potential, the real power resides in Convergence.
Convergence is the process of mashing multiple technologies into a new hybrid technology. This new technology achieves very specific outcomes that are far more powerful than the constituent parts.
A prime example of Convergence is drones. The various technologies, miniaturised video cameras, radio controlled vehicles, etc. that power modern drones have been around for decades, but reframing the combination of those technologies into the format of a drone has kicked off an astoundingly successful new industry that is predicted to be worth $127bn in 2020!
The same approach is being applied across the globe in truly novel ways, with many companies using Convergence to great effect:
- The US Airforce is combining VR, AI, voice and haptic environments to train their pilots far quicker and cheaper than ever before
- And SAP Hybris Lab has built Signal, a customer-complaint troubleshooting environment that utilises Leap Motion gesture control, VR, Big Data, Data Visualisation, Voice and AI to create highly a specialised and customer-centric toolkit.
So how can you use Convergence to unlock new opportunities for your organisation?
It’s important to get yourself into the right frame of mind here. Convergence opportunities are all around us, but they aren't as readily evident as we would like, and take some work to discover. This discovery journey takes patience and a lot of experimentation. Take it slow, and allow yourself to play with the process.
- The first step would be to pick a service/product that your company offers and list all the various technologies that it utilises.
- Next, try coming up with a few alternative ways to combine the same technologies to create another service/product. It doesn't matter if it already exists and that it might be applicable in a different industry than your own, you are just trying to exercise your convergence powers for now.
- Now try expanding your thinking by introducing one new technology, for instance Virtual Reality into the mix and see if anything interesting comes up. Again, the goal is to keep it free-from, there is no wrong or right here.
- Keep playing around with a number of different combinations of technologies and potential use cases and in time, you will start to identify a few possible Convergence candidates.
- Once you have some interesting ideas, find an amazing creative technology company like BRAVE who can help you build a few experimental prototypes to test your ideas out. With enough experimentation, it’s only a matter of time before you stumble across an innovative convergent idea.
The beauty of Convergence is that the technology you need is already here. You don't have to wait for some brainiac to invent a ground-breaking new thingamajig. It’s out there waiting for you to go find it.
The SXSW Festival...
SXSW is an incredible, intoxicating experience unlike any other; jam-packed full of like-minded thinkers, tinkerers, futurists and explorers, questioning, discussing, debating and soaking up ideas.
"There is nothing quite like being exposed to new thinking to break out of old patterns, to expand the context in which we operate, to extend the boundaries of our world-view, and we felt it would be a fantastic exercise to potentially unlock new opportunities for Fleishman and Brave."
- Grant Mills, CEO of Brave