Published on in Innovation

“With the internet, mobility, IoT and AI all in full swing, we are now in a position to innovate. All these technologies must co-exist and work together, but how do we make that happen?”

I was fortunate enough to introduce Dr Joseph Reger’s talk at the Fujitsu World Tour 2016 London leg earlier this week, in which he posed the above question to a packed keynote room.

The answer, he says, lies in a human-centric approach, and this is central to our philosophy at Fujitsu.

Let me explain that philosophy in action…

Start small

“Digital means different things to different people,” Dr Reger said. “You don’t have to create an entirely new digital organisation from the outset.”

To do so is needlessly intimidating, he argued. Companies could start by digitising certain parts of their operations rather than transforming their entire business model.

“You don’t always have to strive for the ‘big thing’,” he said. “These small steps all add up into something greater. You’re going to end up there in the end.”

Beware the roadblocks

Everyone is talking about digital, Dr Reger said, but when you speak with customers they always bring up the same five roadblocks:

  1. Lack of skills to plan and define digital projects
  2. Lack of skills to execute digital projects
  3. Inability to foresee digital outcomes
  4. Inability to integrate digital technology with legacy infrastructure
  5. Lack of an appropriate technology partner

Overcoming each of these hurdles is critical, but as the world of technology becomes increasingly complex, that fifth point becomes more important than ever.

Innovation for the people and by the people

The first step towards successful digital transformation, and therefore the ability to innovate more quickly, is to have the right goal in the first place.

For Fujitsu, that goal is to build a sustainable business in a responsible way. This, according to Dr Reger, results in a ‘human-centric intelligent society’.

“Innovation,” he argued, “should be for the people and by the people.”

As a business, this means involving your people in the process of digitalisation, and understanding not only how they are affected by things like complexity, security or digital leadership, but also how they can help you shape those elements in the right way.

“Digital leaders are not born,” he continued. “They become that way through experience and education.”

Achieving the digital balance

The final point Dr Reger made was about digital balance. Whether it’s analogue vs. digital, cloud vs. on-premise IT, or any other problem you’re facing, getting that balance right is critical for digitalisation success.

But this balancing act is not the same for every business. Each organisation has its own needs, minds and skillsets, so the balance has to depend on specific requirements.

There are a number of examples where Fujitsu has already helped businesses achieve this digital balance.

A leading European fashion retailer, for example, wanted to balance out the online and in-store experience. With online, you can use camera technology to assess what parts of a web page people are spending most time looking at, which allows you to make all kinds of decisions on products and user experience.

So they brought similar technology in-store – using cameras to detect which racks people spent most time browsing, what product lines and colours attracted the most people, and so on. In this way they were able to balance out those two very different experiences.

Another great example is a hospital in Australia caring for premature babies. They used Fujitsu’s digital technology to balance out the need for parents to be in the hospital and the difficulty in doing so regularly, in a country where hospitals could be hundreds of miles away.

The hospital is now able to send a live-stream of information to concerned parents. But most importantly it does this in a very secure way.

Building a sustainable world

As you can see, the above examples focus very much on how digital technology can be used to improve the human experience and help build a better world for all, not just on how companies can make profit. This, Dr Reger argued, is the only way forward.

“If we come together we can create, together, a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world,” he said.

“And the interesting, almost paradoxical, aspect of all this is that the more digital this world becomes the safer and more prosperous and sustainable it can be.”

Check out our Twitter feed for lots more action from the day. And keep your eyes on this blog – there’s more World Tour content to come!

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