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5 Examples of Accelerated Innovation Propelling Companies Forward – ReadWrite

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Brad Anderson


It’s not 2028, but it might as well be from a digitization standpoint. According to McKinsey Research, the digital portfolios of many companies leapt forward by a whopping seven years. Why? Covid-related shifts in both workforce operations and consumer behaviors prompted organizations to change — and change fast.

In fact, digital acceleration happened across all industries, spurring incredible amounts of innovation. As a result, every sector experienced some type of disruption. And although the pandemic crisis appears to be waning, the innovation it fostered hasn’t interrupted its breakneck pace.

5 Examples of Accelerated Innovation Propelling Companies Forward

Which fields have been impacted the most in the past few months by innovative thinking, products, and services? Five major ones have undergone some serious reinvention.

1. Manufacturing

Practically every product has a manufacturing component. Take clothing and accessories, for example. From sourcing fabrics to constructing garments, the manufacturing process usually involves making and then storing items.

The problem, of course, is inventory and overage. Though many manufacturers have applied just-in-time principles over the years, they usually end up with extra merchandise. That merchandise routine often ends up being sold at a loss or discarded.

Again, the retail fashion industry has been notorious historically for an abundance of inventory. Frequently, retailers order so many garments that a full fifth of them never get purchased. Until now, no companies have found a way to shave down stockpiles without making customers wait endlessly for products. However, innovators like Gooten are offering a new option: on-demand manufacturing.

Gooten offers a catalog of products ready to be personalized and created on-demand. In addition, their process pares down the domestic manufacturing timeline to about three days per item. Consequently, Gooten’s partners avoid inventory management costs while getting merchandise to eager consumers rapidly.

2. Education

The education world changed radically in 2020. Whole schools moved their instruction online, forcing students, teachers, and administrators to rethink learning. Though remote classrooms weren’t new, they weren’t extensively embraced. Covid changed that entirely.

To be sure, schools are set to reopen and in-person instruction has already resumed in K-12 and college institutions. Nevertheless, schools aren’t about to discard what they’ve discovered about digital learning over the past year. Plus, they’re better equipped than ever to handle mass shifts to online education if the need arises.

Similarly, many companies have thrown their hat into the education ring, including Google. The search engine plans to create a series of professional degrees that take about a half year to finish. The degree programs will be affordable, as well as suitable to professionals at all levels. Like Google, Instructure’s Canvas is boosting its successful online learning platform.

Boasting around 30 million student users, Canvas is testing tools like flexible assessments to better serve those users. At this time, 14 states have adopted Canvas as a primary education platform for remote public school instruction purposes. As more states come aboard, students from all backgrounds may find it easier to access online learning.

3. Finance

Moving money in the B2B marketplace often involves clunky, time-consuming workflows. This means that businesses and their vendors may wait several days for transactions to post. Though these delays may sound inconsequential, they can cause friction points for all parties. For example, during the height of the pandemic, having dollars on hand could mean the difference between meeting or missing payroll.

The issue is that real-time payments have been out of reach for most companies. Yes, they can collect money quickly in some cases. Still, no carrier has offered true real-time paying capabilities. Yet FIS believes it’s on the cusp of being able to leap into a nearly real-time movement of funds.

FIS announced its innovative cloud-based product, RealNet, in early 2021. RealNet uses existing payment rails to shift money from place to place. RealNet’s smart-routing decision engine gauges each rail to determine the quickest payment route for each B2B transaction. This ensures that money quickly gets transferred, including money being moved across international boundaries.

Businesses are poised to benefit highly from real-time payments. So are consumers and even government entities. That means FIS’s single innovation could fuel sweeping changes across the financial landscape.

4. Healthcare

The Covid crisis spilled over into a healthcare crisis. People experienced lockdowns, hospitals became overcrowded, and medicine was put to the test. Amid the swirl of experimental treatments and vaccines, innovative companies attempted to fill healthcare gaps.

It’s hard to limit the examples of healthcare innovations to just a few. Perhaps one of the most dramatic was the use of drones. Not only did drones help drop ship supplies to people in remote communities, but they proved reliable and sturdy. Many providers predict that drones will come in useful for other similar applications.

Another pandemic-propelled innovation in medicine was the growth of 3D-printed supplies and parts. One writer from The New York Times even mused about the possibility of printing human tissue.

It wouldn’t be fair not to discuss the speedy evolution and embrace of telemedicine. Consumers and their providers made use of online portals to diagnose and treat a myriad of conditions. Normalizing telemedicine has increased patients’ comfort around requesting a time-saving digital appointment. Time will tell if the rise in telemedicine will correspond with improved patient compliance.

5. Transportation

During the shutdown period of Covid, many consumers worked from home. For some, losing their commute resulted in extra hours to engage in physical activities. Consequently, they scooped up physical fitness equipment so suddenly that they disrupted the exercise industry supply chain.

These former “couch potatoes” have started to return to more traditional office settings. Nevertheless, they haven’t all gotten rid of their desire to embrace a healthier lifestyle. This means plenty are more open to the idea of always or occasionally riding bikes to work.

This phenomenon is especially prevalent in European countries, although it’s growing in popularity in the United States. Yet many parking garages lack proper, safe storage spaces for bicycles. Enter Bike2Box. The company has designed a modular box that can store 12 bikes in a standard-sized parking spot.

The pandemic was a difficult struggle, no doubt about it. Nonetheless, it served as inspiration for innovations across a variety of industries. And those innovations will continue to spur other disruptive solutions for years to come.

Image Credit: pixabay; pexels; thank you!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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