How can companies scale their digital efforts? In the course of our research “Rethink, Reinvent, Realize" we talked with Professor Jorge Guzman from the Columbia Business School about how companies can drive growth through digital innovation. As an specialist for the measurement of entrepreneurship he knows, that the successful scaling of any idea depends on a firm's ability to create a concept that is an appropriate 'fit' with the problem being solved.

Jorge Guzman

Assistant Professor of Management, Columbia Business School, Columbia University.

 

Has scaling proofs of concept (PoCs) in key manufacturing industries become easier in the digital era? If yes, why and if not, why not?

Jorge Guzman: Scaling of any idea depends on a firm's ability to create a concept that is an appropriate ‘fit’ with the problem being solved. Often, there is too much uncertainty to find this fit directly through planning, which requires experimentation. The recent boom in technologies reducing the cost of experimentation (such as 3D printing, and cloud computing) creates not only more successful PoCs, but also PoCs that can scale better and faster.

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What are the top three capabilities large US companies must invest in to innovate new-to-market digital products and services with agility?

Capabilities must span the range of company functions at every level. Companies need to understand their unique value proposition, how this proposition can be translated into a specific digital product, and what are the critical technologies under which this product gets built.

According to you how should companies measure their return on investments in scaling digital innovation?

Innovation is well known to impact much more than the direct bottom line of the product in which it is implemented. Besides net income for a specific product or service, innovative work also changes the capabilities of a company to tackle on the future, and helps companies try new ideas that could be risky, but potentially highly profitable. If a company hopes to find the truly innovative ideas that give a clear competitive advantage, it also needs to risk enough so that not all investments work out.

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This interview was conducted by Raghav Narsalay, global research for Accenture’s Industry X.0 organization. Reach out to Raghav via LinkedIn

 

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