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Stockholm Tech Live

A recent visit to the Swedish capital for the Stockholm Tech Live fair presented an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by tech innovation in business. 

We’re living through a period where the only certainty appears to be a series of uncertainties. The pandemic caused severe disruption around the world, and the war in Ukraine now brings further global challenges.

Despite these testing times, I left Stockholm with a sense of optimism, which was shared by many at the event. Just being able to get together in person to exchange ideas was uplifting after more than two years of attending conferences remotely. There was a palpable sense of better times ahead. 

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The innovation imperative

During my keynote address in Stockholm, The Key Principles of Innovating in an Uncertain World, I discussed the critical nature of innovation for business success. It is not merely good to have, innovation must be a C-suite priority and a core part of a business strategy. Even those businesses offering best-in-class products and services will lose ground in the marketplace if they fail to innovate. 

Partnerships for progress

TCS works with some of the world’s largest companies in multiple industries to help them drive success through innovation. These are two-way partnerships. We learn from our partners as we help them create solutions that will enable them to reach their respective goals. It’s about building on shared beliefs to deliver innovations that bring mutual benefits and create exponential value. 

We saw the power of partnership innovation during the pandemic when multiple stakeholders came together to develop and deliver vaccines in record time. A challenge that previously took years, or even decades, was solved in months thanks to modern technology and a dedicated focus on converting an idea into an effective outcome.

Innovation by design

While the vaccine development was highly effective, it’s important to note that successful innovation is complicated. You need to know where you want to go and why and have a structure for your innovation strategy. The TCS Agile Innovation Cloud (AIC) creates a design framework for innovation that quickly shifts the process from idea to reality.

To be truly innovative, you must systematically convert ideas into new services and solutions to reach your preferred outcome. It is vital to understand what the customer needs to fulfil their role in the future. Sport provides a useful analogy. Look at elite football or hockey players, for example, through years of playing, they know where the ball or puck will end up and can position themselves to take advantage of this knowledge. In the context of innovation, companies can do the same.

Innovation can take many approaches, and it’s important to identify the best option to achieve the desired outcome. Do you need to change to meet customer demands, or adapt workflows to make your business more efficient? Should you drive innovation in-house or outsource your ideas for speed and efficiency? What existing technologies can help you meet your needs and when must you create proprietary technology from scratch? These considerations all offer different routes to your preferred position. 

A culture of continuous innovation

During my keynote address, I took a question from the audience asking if the Nordic countries are still as innovative as the local population believes. The short answer is yes. Over the past 30 years, the Nordics have been at the forefront of technology development, adoption, and innovation. The region has a deeply ingrained digital mindset. Just look at companies like Nokia, Ericsson, Spotify, and others.

However, these companies are aware that other countries are catching up. They know it’s critical never to be satisfied and never stop being curious. When we keep innovating, we create possibilities for us to find new solutions to the many challenges the world is facing.