As I continue my research and interviews for my next book, I am presenting an interim perspective at the Lexmark/In2Lex Startup Advantage event in Lexington on Monday (am also presenting separately on my last book, The New Polymath).
Some of my findings so far:
a) Just about every non-technology industry is thinking about next-gen tech-enabled “smart” products and services. I have talked to companies in auto, aerospace, banking, chemicals, education, government, healthcare, media, retail and many other sectors and fascinating their reasons, methods etc as they prepare to become or improve as technology “vendors”
b) They are finding the tech industry, never slow, has changed even more dramatically in last few years. It is a world of accelerating “clockspeed” and scale. Just in last 2 years over 3 billion Android apps have been downloaded, Facebook user count has tripled. They are finding brick and mortar is not dead when it comes to tech products. Apple stores had over 230 million visitors last year. They are learning about the fascinatingly complex technology supply chain with China contract manufacturing, India software design and disruptions like those caused by the recent Japan tsunami. They are learning demand forecasting is hugely difficult in this new market as amazon, Nintendo, Cisco and others can testify to with their product shortages/surpluses. They are learning about user engagement and impact on product design. Even tech savvy auto companies are susceptible to being criticized for a poor, even risky, user experience.
c) They are finding they can only learn about above from a small group of their technology vendors. Most of their IT incumbents are stuck in 3-5 year product cycles and 5-10 year customer deployment rollouts, with traditional customer channels, poor UIs, data centers and ecosystems which were designed 20+ years ago. So many are not involving their IT and IT vendors in their product thinking.
Come to think of it, along than non-tech companies which are moving into smart products and services, many technology vendors will find examples from my book useful as they redesign themselves for our new tech world of amazing clockspeeds, brick and mortar and more.
Most readers loved the 150+ case studies and cameos I profiled in The New Polymath. The new book is shaping up in the same way. So much innovation, but just as impressive so much new process efficiency, best practices and benchmarks coming out of the changing world where we will all need to become “switch-hitters” – good at both producing and consuming technology.