DIGITAL TRENDS : Time for innovation inside out

Thursday May 2 2019

Innocent Swai

Innocent Swai 

By Innocent Swai

The digital economy has demonstrated how some brands are able to innovate. However, the biggest problem has to do with stupidity as our cultures must be broken down for better results.

For example, the idea of employees just walking out of a boring work related meeting is a dream come true to many. The term ‘idea’ used here, implies that any information that can be stored in people’s brains; not only affects their behaviour but also humanity.

Few years to come; humanity will have a permanent settlement on the Red Planet according to Elon Musk. It’s just the other week his Tesla brand; an electric vehicle (EV) maker (a.k.a technology company) announced plans to roll out an insurance product.

How come this guy, a polymath has managed to make innovation much easier by eliminating pointless bureaucracies, getting rid of outdated technologies as well as giving its top performer employees permission to take matters into their own hands? They are bypassing sacred structures, ignoring silly corporate edicts in favour of going straight to the person “doing the actual work” by hacking work!

This new concept of hacking work has to do with the type of mental attitude for empowered employees who truly want to change the way business operates. Imagine such employees hanging up tedious phone calls, avoiding jargon vocabularies and bypassing unnecessary chains of command from anywhere in the workplace! The best lesson here is that it’s not a matter of innovating for innovation’s sake, but in order to respond to unmet customer needs.

As we know, the challenge has always been to do with humanity cultural values. Even the former IBM Chairman and CEO Mr. Lou Gerstner from 1993 until 2002, in his excellent book “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance,” said that “culture is not part of the game, it is the game.” Nevertheless, cultures always keep changing.


Hackers modify cultural ideas and sometimes the modified versions are passed to future generations. The inexplicit ideas are always hard to pass on accurately from one generation to another as there is no way to download them directly like computer algorithms. Moreover, the future of innovative business models is unknowable, because the knowledge that is going to affect it has always been enabled by emerging digital technological tools. Ever come across the new sales pitch which for Tesla EV? It claims that buying other different car models today is the equivalent of “buying a horse,” implying that they have advanced so much digitally when it comes to self-driving technology.

Just as no one in the 19th century could have foreseen the consequences of innovations made during the 20th century including new fields such as computer science and biotechnology, so the future of humanity will be shaped by knowledge that is not there yet.

We cannot even predict correctly most of the challenges that to be encounters! Furthermore, opportunities and appropriate solutions follow some known secretive business invented patterns religiously. Call it serendipity or happy encounters.

Who can predict the outcome of a phenomenon whose course can significantly affect the creation of knowledge. Most entrepreneurs walk the talk of being “innovators” and “disrupters.” They have mastered the art dealing with humanity in a truly world-shaking ways in compelling ways.