Paving the Way for Innovation Strategy

by Brian Solis

The digital landscape is rapidly changing, and technology is advancing in ways that were unfathomable even just a few years ago. As a business, you can no longer rest on legacy mindsets and antiquated processes, despite how much success they’ve driven in the past. Every industry is susceptible to digital Darwinism, where businesses struggle to keep pace with the rate at which tech and society are evolving. Long-term success is dependent on the ability to innovate and invest in a new generation of technologies, customer experiences, and a culture of innovation, that delivers new value and modern services to satisfy the everchanging needs of consumers.

The 21st century has seen a dramatic shift in the consumer experience. The need for immediate approval and satisfaction that was once the cornerstone of brick-and-mortar stores has been replaced with an increasing desire for convenience and simplicity. We’ve witnessed this with the flourishing trend of subscription boxes and Amazon’s omnipresent threat to traditional storefronts. All businesses must now adjust their retail and digital experiences to better serve the modern consumer.

The companies that truly prosper in this new era are those that root their innovation in customer experience, value safety and security. I recently joined executives from Experian to discuss how smart IT infrastructure, combined with innovative research and development, has inspired advanced products designed to meet the real-time demands of consumers and businesses, while also protecting their identities.

Experian contributes much of its success to a culture of continuous innovation according to Experian’s Global CIO Barry Libenson. They are driven by a primary goal of building around consumer needs to find the most inventive technology, expand their reach and provide everyone with access to credit in the most convenient and safe way possible. Experian’s Group President and Head of U.S. Credit Bureau Alex Lintner classifies Experian as the consumer’s bureau. He swears by a philosophy of not looking at innovation as invention, but rather how it can be applied to what already exists to make it better for consumers.

Barry, Alex and their teams have revolutionized how Experian operates and are capitalizing on machine-learning insights to make decisions with greater reliability and accuracy. During our recent conversation, I was pleased to learn more about the products emerging from their DataLabs, the research and development arm of Experian serving as the epicenter of their plans to modernize the credit industry. Their unwavering effort to innovate exemplifies how digital Darwinism demands companies to build creative solutions that enhance experiences and solve clear-cut challenges.

During our conversation, Executive Vice President and Head of Experian’s DataLabs Eric Haller discussed how the convergence of voice, display and artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a preferred method for interaction. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant platforms have captured consumer interest and created habits where voice search can be used as easily to command your thermostat as it can for ordering more laundry detergent – ultimately inspiring Experian to create a voice-controlled credit solution, Voice for Credit. However, Haller also emphasized that you must walk before you can run. While the technology for a Voice for Credit solution is already available, the timing is simply not right. Despite the popularity of voice-powered products, they are not yet ubiquitous enough for this product to reach its full potential. While the “trains” are built, many of the “tracks” still need to be laid, according to Eric.

Steve Platt, Group President of Decision Analytics and Data Quality for North America, expanded on this point, stressing how successful companies must evolve safety, security and the customer experience alongside the introduction of new technologies. The concept of identity is fluid and differs greatly from what it was at the turn of the century. Yet, the need to verify our identity is also arguably more necessary today than it has ever been. This presents a fascinating dilemma: How does a company simultaneously deliver better service and reduce friction while also advancing security to thwart ever-changing threats?

This was just one of the many interesting questions raised during my recent conversation with Experian and the answers were even more fascinating. I walked away from this discussion with an appreciation for Experian’s efforts to innovate through future-proofing as opposed to simply building for today’s market. Experian is fostering a culture around innovation, ultimately paving the way for successfully integrating a new generation of business services, and I look forward to seeing how this helps transform the credit industry. For more on my conversation with Experian, please watch the video embedded below.

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Brian Solis is a digital marketing analyst, award-winning author and keynote speaker who studies disruptive technology and its impact on business. He is also a digital anthropologist who seeks to better understand how technology affects and shapes behaviors, norms and society. Through his research and published work, he humanizes disruptive trends to help leaders understand how technology, markets and people are evolving and how to drive innovation and growth. Solis is recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation, innovation, experience design and digital humanities.


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