Speeding up product development with Infopresence

True product innovation has long heralded not just greater growth for companies, but for nations and individual careers as well. (Apple is a great example of this.) Now take it a step further: the ability to repeat a successful product innovation model confers an even more important benefit: lasting competitive advantage. (Again you can look to Apple and its concerted efforts to continue innovation in the absence of Steve Jobs.) Yet we see successful innovation within large companies trending consistently downward, and according to the Journal of Product Innovation & Management, up to 49 percent of innovations now fail.

So what can companies do to bottle innovation?

Overcoming common barriers to collaboration is a start. According to Salesforce, 96 percent of executives cite a lack of collaboration as the main source of workplace failure. Innovation has long been understood as the product of team effort, thus peak levels of collaboration and engagement are necessary. A common problem is a lack of effective and timely collaboration around information from myriad stakeholders and subject matter experts participating in development. Also, with collaborators increasingly more geographically dispersed, it is an embedded workplace reality that handicaps from the start the kind of fluid collaboration style needed to bring about successful innovation outcomes.

Speed to market is no trivial matter either. New product innovations often fail because they simply take too long to reach the marketplace. This trend is particularly costly to product designers in an atmosphere of rapidly evolving consumer need. Yet as the cycle of this need accelerates, the conventional product-to-market cycle slows. Presently, most new products can take 12-36 months to hit the market, by which time the developed product innovation has lost most of its potential to satisfy its target audience.

An ability to uncover insights is essential. We are living in an era of data deluge, from the web, live streams, sensor systems, regulatory updates, plus our own databases, management systems, and reference materials. There is also blooming awareness that businesses need to overcome the limitations of their own conventional decision-making models, which heralds the introduction of more new data streams, in the form of AI and cognitive computing. It seems exponentially larger amounts of information drive every innovation decision, and this trend is predicted only to intensify. John E. Kelly III, Vice President of IBM Portfolio Solutions, observed recently, "We are at the beginning of a huge wave of information, and much of that will be highly unstructured, highly noisy. Our ability to analyze it is a huge challenge."

All of this together places a great responsibility upon business innovators to transcend traditional, sequential development processes, and to discover faster, parallel and real-time working processes to simplify the thorny problems of ineffective innovation and faster market cycles.

Infopresence solves for many of these pressing problems. Infopresence is an emergent term born of a recognition that business decisions are driven by data and reached through collaboration. Infopresence refers, in particular, to the collective experience of teams being both physically and cognitively immersed in their critical content and data.

Infopresence has proved revolutionary in its ability to foster better group decision-making. When data from dispersed and disparate sources is brought to life simultaneously and three-dimensionally across the many surfaces that surround the work group, information is made fluid and accessible. When people and data come together simultaneously in an engrossing visual environment like this, teams begin to see problems in a new light (especially important with the growing number of smaller and mid-sized huddle rooms, a trend recently highlighted by Wainhouse Research who numbered small to medium meeting spaces at more than 45 million globally). They efficiently contextualize, process and act on information, which leads to deeper understandings and better-informed outcomes.

Perhaps most disruptive to conventional collaboration models is that Infopresence transforms a sequential innovation and decision-making process into parallel working processes through this radical shift of perspective. Immersive, spatial visualization of previously siloed data-streams engages teams more quickly, easily, and effectively, simultaneously animating group creativity while coaxing meaning from masses of undifferentiated data.

The result, of course, is the feedback and revision phases of development happen nearly at once, hastening consensus, speeding solution discovery, and leading to a condensed new-product-development process that launches innovation into the market while consumer need is still relevant.

By immersing teams and enabling collaboration within a dynamic environment rich with data and inspiration, more reliable and repeatable methodologies emerge for launching timely and successful new products. Infopresence is an essential workplace experience that ensures an ongoing competitive advantage for business.

Photo credit: Pressmaster / Shutterstock

David Kung is VP Product Strategy at Oblong Industries and is responsible for the company's product roadmap and strategy. Prior to Oblong, David served as VP, Creative Director at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online. At Creative Artists Agency, he specialized in emerging technology for clients including Coca-Cola, Sprint, and Hasbro. Previously, David developed enhanced television programs as a Disney Imagineer and was a design lead with Art Technology Group. He holds degrees from MIT's School of Architecture and the MIT Media Lab.

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