From Incremental to Exponential review: Another guide on how companies should proceed to remain relevant

Amazon is a great example of a technology innovation company (Reuters)

At the present time it is accepted that innovations cannot be merely incremental because they do not work. The scale must be exponential. This is what Vivek Wadhwa, Ismail Amla and Alex Salkever say in their book, From Incremental to Exponential.

This is another guide to how companies should proceed to stay relevant and in any such narrative the examples of Kodak and Sears are a must. These companies never saw change coming and did not change their business plans, making it irrelevant. Willingness, adaptability and speed are the ingredients here.

One normally associates technology-based innovation with start-ups, as this is where all the good stories are told. But large existing companies also have the power to innovate by leveraging technology. Here they give the example of Amazon and its expansion. Starting with being a bookstore, it sells everything. The use of technology to connect buyers and sellers has made the conventional concept of retail quite obsolete.

Amazon Prime’s idea of ​​paying an annual fee and delivering free shopping is a new innovation that brought in billions of dollars in sales as all buyers opted for this program and then went on to buy more on this site to make it happen. the cost. All other subscription channels and entertainment models are extensions of the mantra of innovation using technology. Therefore, existing companies must also learn to innovate greatly.

While this makes sense that every company should adopt this course of action since access to AI and ML is open to all of us, why is it that it is not universal? Ideally, if everyone followed the same, there would be winnings from everyone and there would be only winners. Here the authors point out the eight deadly sins that hold companies back.

The first does not listen. There must be an open culture where one must internally listen to suggestions and warnings. The second is a lack of patience. This is difficult, as it is difficult to find a balance between the time it takes to wait for the results to be delivered. The third is the lack of distance that applies mainly to existing large companies that incubate new ideas through a separate company. Fourth is the lack of sufficient resources available for R&D. Other sins are even more common. Having made the wrong people do the job for one. Next is the lack of responsibility. The other two factors that are again important are the lack of culture, which is difficult to change, and the political support that refers to the Council’s willingness to provide guidance and encouragement.

Innovation is not limited to the for-profit private sector, but also to the government, which can innovate and save money by not making a profit.

This is another “how to” book and may not say anything new, given that there are many publications on the subject with similar examples. But reading is useful as it drives the message home.

Madan Sabnavis is chief economist, CARE Ratings

From Increase to Exponential
Vivek Wadhwa, Ismail Amla & Alex Salkever
Page 216, Rs 499

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