We think of the innovator as a loner: Darwin following in the footsteps of unusual finches in the Galapagos, Tesla toiling alone in Wardenclyffe on his massive transmitter, Marie Curie busy isolating isotopes in a converted shed outside the École Normale Supérieure.
But, in reality, innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are people, ideas, and thinking that came before to lay groundwork, and there are chats, experiments, and happy accidents every day that make the ongoing potential (and spark) of innovation possible.
Darwin chased his theories alongside a now relatively unknown naturalist—at least in popular culture—named Alfred Russel Wallace. It was a real rivalry, and it drove him. Tesla lived in a scientific world made possible by Edison. It was a turbulent relationship, but it drove him. Curie built on the X-ray work of Wilhelm Roentegen and Henri Becquerel while teaching. It was the very definition of mentoring, and it drove her.
Innovation in any form is driven by rivalries, by relationships, by reversals of fortune. It’s driven by concepts, by collaboration, by conversations. It’s driven by people coming together to talk about what’s new, what’s hype, and what’s truly coming.
At Oracle Industry Connect this year, innovation can be found in every conversation, across every represented industry from energy to retail, whether you’re looking for information on blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT, or new and exciting concepts of customer experience.
Darren Bechtel, founder of Brick and Mortar Ventures and a speaker for Oracle Construction and Engineering at the show summed it up for his industry.
“For an (architecture, engineering and construction) organization to remain relevant, survive, and thrive over the next 10 years, we believe they need to be investing in innovation right now,” he said in a recent interview for this blog. “And much more than just talking about it, they need to be actively seeking out new technologies and learning how to work with the new generation of ever-improving solutions, or they will have a hard time remaining competitive.”
And that need for innovation permeates all industries. It’s not just construction and engineering looking toward new ideas to remain competitive. This in-the-now view of innovation comes from a single source—disruption.
Every major industry has been dissecting major disruptors and how to react for a number of years. The innovation conversation is the next major step in that process.
“From Netflix to WhatsApp, digital disruptors are everywhere,” added Dave Shively, Group Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Insurance. “It is happening in the insurance industry as well. Many insurers are using core systems replacement as the foundation for digital transformation, which insurers are counting on to help them become more agile and responsive.”
A number of new innovative concepts answer those disruptions and enable industries from construction to hospitality to be more agile. (Blockchain, for example, both allows for faster, more real-time energy markets and has potential for verification and establishing integrity in clinical research and healthcare as well.) So, the deep-dive facets of a variety of innovative touchstones are infinite.
But one area in particular is rising to the top of every industry when it comes to innovative thinking—and that’s reworking, re-examining and, in some cases, completely rebuilding the customer experience. What do they see? What do they hear? What do they want? But, first and foremost: What do they need and what should stores, hotels and healthcare providers offer to answer that need?
In the energy and utilities field—one of the many industries represented at Oracle Industry Connect—they’re starting with the basics.
“Innovation is not about the tech,” said Lawrence Orsini, CEO of LO3 Energy and speaker within the Energy & Utilities’ track at the conference. “It’s the people. They’re going to be interested in services, [not necessarily about energy in general]. We’ve got to engage people in ways they comprehend; it’s the biggest hurdle we have.”
Indeed, while the tech shouldn’t be the beginning of any customer conversation, for many industries, getting down to the elements of customer-listening sparks new forays into new gadgets and software.
In the areas of retail and hospitality, for example, that move to customized customer experiences has led quite quickly to another major innovation concept: the cloud.
“By shifting to [a cloud service], we are empowering our teams with an intuitive and modern interface, and a holistic planning solution that provides store-level detail and allows us to make more strategic merchandise decisions,” said Julie Fillion, Senior Director of Planning with Groupe Dynamite and a speaker for Oracle Retail at Oracle Industry Connect.
“In hospitality, it’s becoming clear that one of the key factors for success will be the ability to deliver personalized service to each guest,” added Laura Calin, Vice President, Strategy and Solutions Management for Oracle Hospitality. “And that requires the power to innovate quickly, which makes one of the biggest arguments for cloud. The writing is on the wall.”
Find what drives your innovation this April at Oracle Industry Connect. Here are a few of our most hotly anticipated sessions to highlight on your schedule:
Or search all of our Oracle Industry Connect panels and sessions by your favorite innovation topic: cloud, AI, blockchain and more. Start that search here.
This post was authored by Kathleen Wolf Davis, content marketing manager for Oracle Utilities.
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