Is has been some time ago that the introduction of new technology has created such a vibrant enthusiasm at the Moscone center in San Francisco. As in the very best days of Apple – which seem quite a bit in the past right now – Google finally managed to pull it off this week.
Not with the launch of the Nexus 7 tablet: nice device, a few specs beat some competitors, the price beats some others, but all in all it’s a me too proposition that builds on an already existing market and only incrementally shakes up its players.
The real excitement is with Google Glass. When we witness skydivers in real-time landing on the Moscone rooftop through their network-connected glasses, only to arrive minutes afterwards in the conference room, it’s almost as good as the Girl with the Hammer, destroying the image of Big Brother. We realize we are watching a breakthrough, Black Swan technology, something we really haven’t seen before and we can only remotely imagine what it will do the way we access information and connect to others and the outside world.
It contains an important lesson that we need to remember regularly: disruptive technologies challenge us to fundamentally rethink our products, services, processes and ways of working. Not just in an incremental way – with only incremental benefits – but also in breakthrough, game-changing ways.
So one hand, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is very right if he insists that the power of Big Data should be democratized and infused in every day business through Excel, but on the other hand it is clear that Excel – by now a beacon of established processes and practices – may not be the ideal medium to dramatically change the script. After all, our recent Big Data survey with the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that no less than 85% of the interviewed IT leaders most value the ability to analyse and act on data in real time (rather than just be able to deal with larger volumes of data than a spreadsheet currently can deal with).
So the new Excel might suspiciously look like a pair of glasses in just a few years from now.
It’s a matter of not just Paving the Cow Path and it equally pertains to the disruptive potential of mobility, social and business process management.
Sometimes, we don’t see the best innovations right around us. But they already may have landed on the roof.