As a huge fan of Star Wars, I cannot let the opportunity go without using the film as an analogy in today’s digital market. Whether you agree or not, sci-fi is a reality. I’m not suggesting that we encounter people with pointy ears, or that we enjoy drinks in Mos Eisley’s cantina, or that we take on battle stars and enemies in outer space. What I’m saying is that many product developments, which fall in the big futuristic domain of the Internet of Things, are already happening and can spark the imagination for new business models.
From Star Wars’ inspired robots, like the Sphero (a standing 4½ inches tall miniature, responding to your Bluetooth device or your own voice!), or the QRoss rolled in its spherical shell, to the mobile refrigerator R2-D2, up to the command center’s connected officer from Cloud City? Boy, oh, boy! Star Wars overflows with important themes and lessons we can translate and use in real life. Seems to be the model for the future: low-emissions, sustainable, connected, technology for all, managed and distributed production, efficient urbanization. Ok, you always have the bad guys, but the right side of the force always wins, right?
What I’m really getting at is that while great technologies – either commercialized or in experimental stages – appear every day, many industries and enterprises remain resistant to this positive and sustainable change, or at least complacent with their routine. Smart, connected products are radically transforming radically industries, models, companies, operations and organizational structures. Are these embraced fast by every CEO, CIO, and CMOs? I’m not sure they are.
The pace of change is as fast as it will ever be, and as Master Yoda said in training the young Jedi “Do. Or do not. There is no try”. “There is no try” when transforming your business with broadband, mobile, and cloud solutions in logistics, tourism, music, health, banking, education. “Do or do not” captures the IoT opportunity. The vast majority of the companies that I know and have interactions with still today don’t have in place co-creation partnerships, advisory customer-panels for product development, tech tools to facilitate customer experience, IT to accelerate new services, production and service synergies between adjustment companies, or integration of services at one touch point.
Every time corporate leaders question their growth figures or the sustainability of their models, I hear Obi-Wan Kenobi saying: “In my experience there is no such thing as luck.” Because if they don’t transform now, there isn’t enough luck around for them to survive. I’m sure you will recognize so many simple examples of the “Empire of complacency”: the hotel owner who is not using digital; the retailer who is not marketing based on ratings; the high-street shop owner without touch-panels or mobile discount coupons to attract traffic; the transport authority that doesn’t use smart meters for pollution and traffic management; the public authority that isn’t serving citizens real-time, on-line, 24/7.
Every time corporate leaders question their growth figures or the sustainability of their models, I hear Obi-Wan Kenobi saying: “In my experience there is no such thing as luck.”
In our real world, we do have a few Jedi (some academics, startup owners, developers, designers). They fight and preach change on their own and try every day to strike to the Empire of complacency’s galactic spaceships. But many Darth Vader out there keep on repeating an old-school routine and you even hear them say “I find your lack of faith (in the old ways) disturbing.” So, I’m proposing to all young talented digital disruption Jedis to start using in their pitches the intro line “I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you.”
May the Force be with you change-makers, so we can live in a better, efficient, effective world.