In 2016, let’s cook our peasant common sense with a lean start-up sauce!
Barely recovered from the annual marathon that constitutes the truce for confectioners and its share of excesses of all kinds, we are already plunged into the heart of CES in Las Vegas, a major international show dedicated to consumer electronics, and a favorite territory big beasts of innovation that we are the futurists. Two remarks come to me immediately after this show: my stomach hurts from excitement as I touch in a very concrete way the digital revolution which has been sweeping over us for several years now and which is taking shape here by thousands of absolutely stunning innovations; I am impressed by the number of start-ups from the French ecosystem present at the show (I counted more than 200, which represents the second largest contingent after the United States).
2015 can definitely be qualified in France as the year of start-ups. Far beyond the restricted circle of entrepreneurs and geeks, a whole country has realized the potential of its small technological nuggets! Whether it is public opinion, large groups, the media, students, not a part of our economy that does not try, at its level, to be part of the adventure of these entrepreneurs representing our future or of its inspire from their methods. Yes to be inspired! Because well beyond the media turmoil that surrounds them, high growth technology companies, as our friends politicians like to call them, are above all a concentrate of new working and organizational methods that all large groups.
Whether on the subjects of product development, customer relations, team innovation, user experience or project management, start-ups, nurtured from their birth by digital technology and a culture “Millennials” demonstrate efficiency, responsiveness and adaptability, making many traditional companies green with envy. Beyond the many names used to describe these working methods, the best known of which is Lean Start-up, the success of these companies is mainly due to the common sense that our ancestors called “peasant”! Because no method is a guarantee of success and following them blindly without asking the right questions can be a one-way ticket to the bankruptcy of Monopoly without going through the bank. I could not advise you too much on this subject to read the very good post from my colleague Thomas Guyon in these same columns!
So many projects without any pragmatism! So many services without any potential outlet! So many products without any concrete use! So many start-ups without a business model going beyond the wet finger stage! Sometimes I have the impression of watching a scallion race of professors Tournesol in panic at the idea of missing the innovation train. And this is not reserved only for project leaders. Because very often, the lack of common sense is also found in the services of large groups. “What if we created a connected product!”.
You have no idea how many meetings I’ve had where I’ve heard from product teams that they would like the next generation to be connected. Why? For what service? How easy it is for the consumer Too many questions! Here I am in less time than it takes to say it described as preventing going around in circles.
Whether you like it or not, a product or service must meet a need, solve a problem faced by customers, make users’ lives easier. Whatever development method is applied, it must focus on use, simplicity and design. The rapid evolution of technology now requires constant updating dictated by consumers. These must be watched like milk on the fire in order to detect the uses they make of what they buy and immediately question themselves in order to stick to their expectations for the next version. At the base of a project, we have the ambition to respond to a problem by offering something new to the market. This is when you have to focus on the user experience to make it as intuitive, pleasant and rewarding as possible. This initial phase is crucial in any launch. Hence the relevance of the Lean method focusing on the user and integrating it into the product creation process.
However, you have to know how to keep your feet on the ground and focus on your core business by favoring partnerships to develop disruptive offers. YES, connected objects are introducing a revolution in many sectors of activity. YES, insurers have a lot to gain from adapting their offers to personalize them as much as possible on their customers’ day-to-day basis. NO, it’s not up to insurers to develop connected objects! It is not their job! The use of data from these connected objects is, however. This is true in all industries.
Adapting to bring more flexibility, responsiveness and innovation to your organization can only be a good thing if done with pragmatism. Creating a product or service by integrating customers upstream in the creation and updating process is clearly the right way, if we do not forget the obvious economic constraints. However, just because start-ups are fashionable, it doesn’t mean you have to blindly copy their mistakes. In short, a bit of good darn common sense! Let us be innovative and put the spotlight on common sense in farming in 2016!
Jean-Christophe Bonis, founder ofOxymore Inc., is now a partner and head of research and strategy for the strategy firm based in London and Paris. Specialized in new technologies for more than 15 years on behalf of investment funds then as a consultant, he devotes his professional life to the analysis of the consequences of new technologies on consumer behavior and the strategic implications on organizations. .