The human species has been devising ways to solve problems, alter the environment, produce goods, and meet their needs ever since they first appeared. In other words, humans are, by their very nature, technological innovators.
From the earliest stone tools of the Neanderthals and the agricultural and irrigation solutions that led to the first civilizations, to the modern technologies we use every day (automobile, television, internet, and cell phone), technology has been advancing at a relentless pace, bringing change to our daily lives and to the world in which we live.
The business world is increasingly reliant on technology. Industry leaders know that innovation is key to their competitive edge. To discuss technological innovation in the payments industry and beyond, and how InComm is implementing their innovation center, PaymentsJournal sat down with Michael Parlotto, VP Emerging Technologies at InComm, and Tim Sloane, VP Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group.
The Hype Cycle
Businesses spend considerable resources developing new technologies, hoping to bring them to market. But not all new technologies are created equal. Some are better than others at improving quality of life by making tasks easier, faster, more convenient, or less expensive.
Just because we can do something differently by using newer technology, doesn’t mean that we should or that we will. Why reinvent the wheel? Adoption of new technology requires a beneficial use case. Lacking any real beneficial use, many new products are destined to fail and may never be brought to market at all.
The influx of new products in the market results in a hype cycle, where a lot of new technologies get a great deal of hype, but few go on to become highly successful in the marketplace. Gartner’s hype cycle for emerging technologies in 2019 looks at expectations over time to provide insight into how emerging technologies are being received in the marketplace, which technologies are likely to prove successful on the market, and when they might see mass adoption.
The graph below suggests that the life cycle of emerging technologies consists of five stages. While all new technologies will go through the same stages, their pace varies. Some technologies will reach their plateau of productivity sooner than others. With every potential breakthrough comes a spike in interest and expectations. The level of the eventual plateau will be dependent upon market applications.
Sloane suggested that, “the way to solve the hype cycle” is to identify the unique technologies and capabilities of a business “and then bring those capabilities to market to help partner companies and fintechs be able to innovate and succeed in applying those technologies to their market to leverage and grow the business.”
InComm’s Go Studio is working to stay ahead of the curve with respect to technology by reviewing research and evaluating trends from multiple sources, including Gartner’s annual report, and directing its efforts accordingly. It is looking to find those use cases that provide the best possible solutions and truly improve the customer experience.
What is Go Studio?
“Go Studio is InComm’s Innovation Center, and it’s focused on helping solve our client challenges using many of the same emerging technologies listed on the Gartner hype curve,” explained Parlotto. “To do that we bring a diverse group of clients, partners, [and] employees together in design thinking sessions, where we ideate on cutting edge solutions, and then complete proof of concepts. Our goal is to be constantly looking ahead between three and 10 years out for the next big product or business,” he added.
The physical space is designed to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Everything within the open concept space is modular, allowing the space to be reconfigured to fit project needs. It is wired with audio and visual tools to maximize collaboration with clients, partners, employees, and other experts all over the world.
Another exciting feature is the capability to run a consumer research study while the organizers watch from an adjacent room or remote location. Testing a use case for a proof of concept and getting consumer feedback in real time can help guide product development to find a solution faster.
InComm has been a global leader in the payments industry for over twenty years, so it should come as no surprise that it is continuing to research innovative alternative payment solutions. But that is not the only focus for the team.
Go Studio can help clients solve consumer challenges using emerging technologies across a number of industries. “We anticipate a great deal of growth in other channels like agritech, and med tech,” said Parlotto, “and we’re looking at ways InComm can leverage our platforms and network to help address challenges and create solutions in many different industries.”
The X Factor
What makes Go Studio stand out in the crowd, its X factor, is the knowledge base and experience that InComm brings to the table, which gives it an advantage when it comes to innovating.
To gain further insight into specific consumer challenges, teams will go out and meet clients and their customers wherever they are to immerse themselves in the customer experiences. These insights become the basis for client workshops, leading to the formation of new ideas and next generation solutions.
“We’ve grown to understand their business, understand their customer base, and we bring that knowledge and experience to bear to help them solve their particular challenge. So that’s one of our largest assets,” noted Parlotto. But the “most important asset,” according to Parlotto, “are the people that we bring together because they all have unique ideas and vantage points, and can find those hidden innovation areas that maybe you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”
Businesses are always looking for ways to enhance their customers’ experience. Identifying and solving consumer challenges requires creativity and innovation. Having the right partners with proven tools and technology can streamline the process and lead to faster, more effective solutions.
InComm’s Go Studio is designed by innovation experts to encourage creativity, collaboration, and problem solving by leveraging experience, knowledge, and technology.
“It’s interesting,” noted Sloane, “that the technology that [InComm] is bringing to bear is really primarily about making sure the partner is able to figure out their use [and] be able to test that use case against an audience. And that could apply to any industry.”
To learn more about Go Studio and possible partnership opportunities visit GoStudio.io.