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Want to Become an Innovation-First Company? Here’s How. – ReadWrite

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Want to Become an Innovation-First Company? Here’s How. - ReadWrite


When the pandemic hit, many leaders responded to the unprecedented global uncertainty by cutting their investments. Dispensing company spend in research and development became the rule. While decreasing expenses is a viable response to a crisis, cutting innovation entirely can cripple your company’s success.

Want to Become an Innovation-First Company?

Technological innovation helps your business grow faster, perform better, and respond thoroughly to new problems (like a new competitor or a global pandemic). That’s why living in a “survival mindset” isn’t enough to save your business.

You must dispense with the fear of failure and believe you can be the disruptor during difficult times. Stay ahead of the curve and know that you will pivot, quickly, when necessary.

As a company leader, you have to make technological innovation a companywide objective.

Only by prioritizing transformation can you truly weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.

Which Industries Need Technological Innovation?

Any company can benefit from technological innovation, but some industries need it more than others. For instance, in the tech industry, innovation is required if companies want to be more than just IT departments. They either need to develop digital products or processes that help clients achieve their goals or create new, groundbreaking tech that disrupts the status quo.

The legal industry is also ripe for tech innovation. Cutting-edge firms are revolutionizing legal service delivery and improving the efficiency of traditional services. Digital transformation in the legal industry will support these two goals. The financial sector has also been largely conservative with transformation.

In the past, tech innovations found different ways to deliver the same services. Moving forward, technological innovations will need to put customers first.

Lastly, there’s the education sector. Digital transformation in the education sector has primarily focused on making education cheaper by eliminating full-time professors and replacing in-person experiences with online schooling.

However, the innovations that will shape this industry in the future will focus on student outcomes, prioritizing quality over quantity.

How Can You Implement Digital Transformation?

Before rolling out any tech innovation, you need to understand the problem, business benefits, efficiency gains, and success definition. Here’s how to make innovation a primary objective in your organization:

1. Define success upfront.

No matter what industry you’re in, digital innovation needs to help you overcome an existing challenge or address a new need in the market. Whatever form it takes, it should bring value to both the company and the customer. Keep in mind that value to the company doesn’t have to mean profit — although it certainly can.

Because innovation must start with a pain point or opportunity, you need to determine what success looks like before you start. Ask yourself questions like, “What would solving this challenge look like?” and “How will we know when we’ve reached a solution?”

2. Connect innovation initiatives to company goals.

Let’s say your company is great at making hamburgers. If you were to start a tech initiative to improve battery technology, then you won’t benefit from your efforts. That’s why you need to define and communicate the connection between your innovation initiative and your company’s goals.

Explain why innovation is important to individuals, teams, and departments. By doing this, you can ensure that the entire company understands the purpose of your initiative.

Make sure you communicate throughout the project to ensure people always know the current status of things.

3. Get buy-in from everyone.

Tech rollouts are more likely to fail if you don’t have early buy-in from stakeholders. No matter how much time and effort you spend on tech innovation, people won’t use it if they don’t think it’s applicable. That’s why securing buy-in at the right time is so critical to the success of your initiatives.

Aim to inform and involve stakeholders as close to the start of the project as possible. For instance, you could ask for input as you’re defining success.

When stakeholders have a say in initiatives, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with rollouts.

Over the course of the project, involve stakeholders at key points in the project. Most importantly, listen to what they have to say — especially the naysayers. They might save you from a costly mistake.

4. Validate success.

After any tech rollout is completed, you’ll need to measure success. Prove you hit the metrics you wanted, whether they’re related to efficiency, employee happiness, customer satisfaction, or something else entirely.

The metrics you rely on to determine success depend entirely on the initiative, but there are some valuable KPIs you might want to track. Customer lifetime value will tell you how valuable customers are throughout their relationship with you, and hours saved can help you quantify automation efforts.

Digital innovation isn’t the result of a happy accident — it’s the final product of a company’s concerted effort and experimentation.

Conclusion

Thinking and executing on the innovation-first principle — and making that principle the foundation of your companywide priority is vital to success.

Tim Scott

Head of Experience Design at Frogslayer

Tim Scott is head of experience design at Frogslayer, a custom software development and digital innovation firm that rapidly builds, launches, and scales digital products and platforms for clients.

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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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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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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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