In 125 countries today you can go out and buy a new Galaxy S5. If you’re an observer of the smartphone industry then you’ve witnessed business at hyper-speed, while sitting in the front row. Apple growing its developer ecosystem to the hundreds of thousands in two years; Google following suit. Nokia rising to the very top and falling as a phone maker, in under two decades. Samsung knocking new products out every month.
But the speed bug is spreading. Car maker, Toyota yesterday announced it will introduce 14 new engines over the next two years, including small 1.0-liter and 1.3-liter gasoline engines, diesel and turbo engines and hybrid systems, according to the Wall St Journal.
And so, today Samsung launches its Galaxy S5 – a new model a year in each of its main product lines. Samsung does more than that. In 2013 we saw 5 new S4s and no doubt we’ll see the same with the S5 (leave aside the ATIV laptops, Note series, Curve, and connected kitchen white goods- by the way over in Europe the bill-boardings are now showing a new Samsung vacuum cleaner. Samsung is also making a robotic cleaner).
The scary part of all this, if you are not focused on how you accelerate innovation, is that new products are cascading into the market at unusual speed but in both hardware and software. It means speed is now a new competitive weapon across all product types.
Not even the key transformations of business are immune. Apprenda, for example, is a new platform tool for migrating corporate IT assets to the Cloud and then supporting their conversion them into apps. It means companies can huddle around the IT-business convergence point more quickly than in the past.
Speed gains have been low hanging fruit in software. It is cheap to change code, cheap to give teams a chance to learn in their peer communities online, and the translate emerging practices into the product suite.
But having tools to industrialize transformation is the new trend, alongside the new speed capabilities that innovators like Samsung and Toyota are showing in hardware innovation.
I suggested a week ago that the new innovators’ dilemma is now the business model you choose when hardware and software innovation becomes this easy.
Easy, you might ask? Sure there are companies that still struggle with the very basics of innovation.They are still asking, how do we become more creative?
At the top of the tree though, where the leaders sit, the questions are more likely to be, how do we best manage several hundred simultaneous and interdependent innovation projects?
At the bottom of the tree a company might ask, how do I get new ideas? In the mid-level they are asking, how do I make the right choices from the abundant opportunities that are screaming at me to change, change, change? How do I bring coherence to a chaotic external environment?
At the top of the tree, they need to be asking how do I use my innovation capability to change the relationship I have with customers, to interpret my constant connection with them (like they do in smartphones) so that I get automated customer feedback; how do I create community (like they do in smartphones), and how do I develop downstream revenues, just like Apple and Google have done. Toyota might dwell on that a while. All those product recalls? They’d look a whole lot better on a subscription model of car ownership.