Bringing trailblazing ideas to life and translating visions into reality is what I do every day as the head of Amdocs Innovation Labs. But the process is less abstract than many think because everything we do in the Innovation Labs is rooted in solving business challenges.
"Innovation is particularly critical in the telco industry. You must apply the latest technologies to deliver new experiences customers seek. The reward is worth the risk for our customers who want to maintain their market leader positioning."
Since reality is multi-faceted, our process is also multi-disciplinary and context-driven. For example, our Gen Z Labs combines coding, robotics, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines to support innovation. The team brainstorms and ideates from different perspectives to bring the most relevant technology to life.
A context-driven approach to prototyping
In most enterprises, innovation is often perceived as a disruption, disconnected from the reality of the business. The innovation teams are outsiders—they must get business units to validate their ideas before building a prototype. The lengthy and cumbersome process ultimately stretches out the time to market.
Here, we approach the process differently. We develop prototypes connected to our products and rooted in our customers’ realities. Since the vision that drives an innovation stems from business requirements, we don’t have to spend time retrofitting our ideas to address market demands.
So how do we do this? We simply ask. We delve into the voice of the customer. This process allows us to create a working prototype in two to four weeks instead of months. But innovation can’t simply be reactive. We also anticipate the market’s next move and share our ideas proactively to optimize our clients’ investment and help them stay competitive. Time is ALWAYS of the essence. Thus, the conversation is never over, and our door is never closed.
Getting over the innovation hump
The next question is, what does one do with a prototype?
Our customers may proceed to turn a prototype into a product. Or we may take it in-house and further develop the idea. But more often than not, a prototype is abandoned, which is an inevitable part of innovation.
We believe in failing – and failing fast. We create many prototypes and keep the wheel turning until we land on an idea that delivers high ROI and meaningful business impact. Sustaining the relentless iterative prototyping process is the hard part. But you'll succeed if you do it long enough and are persistent enough.
Another hurdle to innovation is the high level of risks—we are taking a risk, and our customers are taking a risk. Why would our clients want to do so? Why wouldn’t’t they stick to the tried-and-true and let other people be the guinea pig?
Different approaches to innovation work for different types of businesses, and not every company strives to be at the forefront. Our approach to innovation gives leaders the edge they need to be the most advanced. They’re the ones to introduce new services to the market, deliver new experiences to their customers, and grow market share.
Innovation is particularly critical in the telco industry. You must apply the latest technologies to deliver new experiences customers seek. The reward is worth the risk for our customers who want to maintain their market leader positioning.
Achieving business success with innovation
Contrary to what many think, innovation doesn’t have to be costly. You don’t need a big team, but you must focus on the right things and set the right course of action.
One of the most important lessons I have learned through the years is that we must fail fast and fail a lot—and have a process to support that. To scale business through innovation, we must bridge ideas with practicality. We need the mechanism to turn concepts into products with a business case.