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Challenges and innovation: the answer lies in people

innovation

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11 September 2018

It’s not what you know, it's how good a learner you are

We live in a complex, immersed world that is constantly evolving. It’s difficult to understand the extent of its depth and context. This means that, now, we are aware of and experience many things that we didn't even know existed 20 years ago. We can’t even imagine what we will have to learn and experience in the next 20. How will we live? How will we interact?

Technology is key to this revolution. It has helped us scale an infinite number of processes, knowledge areas and experiences which, previously, were only shared between friends and acquaintances. We have changed how we communicate, share and consume products and services.

People at the heart

As users, we have gone from choosing from a selection of products and services, to designing them to fit our tastes, based on our needs. Users and end clients are changing roles, and the change is a complete 180º flip.

Conversation with brands is direct and opinions, while sensitive, are a source of improvement and continuous innovation from our own consumers. Increasingly, users are the central axis in the development of innovation, even within the systematisation involved in many production processes.

This change of role changes everything. We are faced with a world of opportunities and challenges, each determined by our ability to listen to customers and establish channels for their direct participation in product and service design.

The challenge is maintaining momentum

But are companies prepared to adapt the way they work and respond to these new users and customers who have switched roles? How can we get closer to them so we can interact and create together? Are we prepared to listen to their needs and respond with new products and services, or through new ways of providing our traditional services?

And, most importantly, how can we be more agile and evolve at the same speed as our users and end clients?

It's no mean feat. It depends on many variables, situations and contexts. One thing that is clear is that it’s becoming increasingly important that we establish these channels that enable us to direct, facilitate and maximise user and customer participation in our creative and innovative processes. Innovation that is both our present and our future.

Co-creation spaces

These channels begin with meeting points. Innovation spaces, such as the everis LivingLab, are places for creating, designing, sharing and learning with customers, partners and collaborators. They integrate with the startup ecosystem and international innovation lab and hub networks. They are spaces where co-creation is the very foundation and principle on which all activity is centred.

The methodology used to face these challenges also plays a fundamental role in these spaces. Design thinking (viewed as philosophy, in both its product and service development dimensions) and agile methodologies enable us to implement co-creation processes. Here, we can get internal and external actors involved; those who represent the more technical and functional view, and the various users involved in any of the solution's aspects.

In conclusion, we have discussed processes and methodologies that enable us to enrich conversation, align expectations and obtain high-level, correct results.

The more complex the context and the greater the challenge, the more important it is to take an interdisciplinary approach and incorporate different views in various parts of the creative process. This will enable a holistic view of the solution.

It is interesting to see how, in this new relationship whereby customers establish themselves with the brand through their direct involvement in creative processes, the trend of physical spaces also emerges; spaces that become brand experience centres, as a sort of nerve centre where innovation comes to life.

Open spaces

Innovation requires conversation, creativity and experimenting. Along this line, co-creation spaces must be open, inclusive, lively, dynamic and inspiring. They must break from traditional corporate spaces. Spaces must be adapted to change through their versatility and flexibility, the same elements required in the various phases of the creative process.

These new spaces see away with the border between the physical and digital experience. The digital world is part of the physical world, and vice versa. Both form part of the entire design and implementation process, and are also boosted through experimenting with disruptive technologies.

The everis LivingLab was born from this philosophy, with a firm belief in the values it represents. It was designed to facilitate co-creation, evolution and revolution. Hence, the possibilities are endless. This is not only due to technologies already being worked on (augmented reality, robotics, voice recognition, artificial intelligence), which act as catalysts for innovation, but also due to the entire scope of activity for which the space is designed.

The answers are within our reach

Society and customers are constantly demanding new solutions, with technology progressing at great speed in an attempt to meet this demand. The two run perpendicular and, where they meet, they create unique value: innovation. This is where these co-creation spaces take on a new meaning, as meeting points between users and technical possibilities. Meeting points where everyone (customers, users, suppliers, partners, collaborators, programmers, etc.) can offer their knowledge and experience to ask new questions and find new answers. Meeting points that feel like home, where their surroundings encourage them to get the best out of one another.

And while all of this is important, we mustn’t forget one of the everis metavalues acting as a basis for this relationship with our customers, partners and society: transparency. Now more than ever, we need to be open with what we are doing, and get them involved. Transparency is the cement used to build trusting relationships and collaboration. Relationships that enable us to co-design the society of the future in a space such as the everis LivingLab.

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