My perspectives on the future of digital economy in 42 bullet-points

the future of digital economy - innovation copilots

I have been doing a lot of work on the future of digital economy for various multinationals these last months. Part of the work is to map the key driving forces that are shaping the future of the markets.

It’s not about checking the latest technologies hype, because it’s essentially irrelevant and doesn’t really produce solid foresighting. Remember five years ago when everyone was focused on the emergence of the internet of things? After everyone tried to connect its fridge or spread bluetooth objects in retail spaces, what happened? Nothing much.

It’s also not so much about just checking where the internet is at the moment (in which case you should read the always remarquable Mary MEEKER’s report). But that again, is very tech oriented, and while Alibaba and a few others are discussed, it’s also eminently US-oriented. And this is a problem on so many levels.

That being said, if you’re in the business of seeing where the digital markets are going to shape the next five years, this is in 42 bullet points what I think you should consider as key events and drivers:

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Interview – Innovative Management at Worldline

Claire Déprez

I’m glad to be sharing this article about Claire Déprez, Innovative Management Programme Leader at Worldline, the youngest of the transformation leaders I’ve interviewed. I’ve met Claire in 2014 when she was a mentee in the mentoring pilot programme I designed for them. The year after, she became member of the voluntary mentoring coordination team. But this interview is not about mentoring even though the programme was the trigger for her career insight, her evolution in the company and the management culture transformations that followed.

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The US just forced China to commit to full digital sovereignty

trumpocalypse - innovation copilots

I’m in Vietnam right now and don’t have a lot of time to share my thoughts and a thorough analysis. I just want to pin that down for further reference:

China has spent nearly two decades building a digital wall between itself and the rest of the world, a one-way barrier designed to keep out foreign companies like Facebook and Google while allowing Chinese rivals to leave home and expand across the world. Now President Trump is sealing up that wall from the other side.

NYT, 2019, May 20 by Li Yuan

I can’t agree more.

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Innovate in Mumbai, Sell in San Francisco

innovate in mumbai sell in san francisco

Remember how since 2008 India was supposed to be an innovation force to be reckoned with? We had hundreds of keynotes on Jugaad innovation , bottom-up innovation, etc. Look it up, it’s fascinating that no one remembers that anymore. End result: not much, if anything really. This didn’t change anything in London, Paris or San Francisco, not even in Mumbai. But lo and behold, India seems to be back with a new idea on innovation: ride-sharing motorbikes.

Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking right now. What’s new?

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Why Startups Fail

why startup fail

You might not remember ANKI Robotics, an hardware and AI startup featured onstage at an Apple event in 2013. Well, this company folded yesterday and had to fire 200 employees after burning through $200 million in capital funding (including Index Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz). And ANKI was not idle in the market, it was generating around $100 million in revenue since 2017. This is not small potatoes!

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Interview – A Finance Transformation Expert at DSM

Finance transformation

So I’ve decided to continue the series of transformation leaders’ interviews and I’m starting this year with Thierry Zedda, a French engineer, currently working as a Performance and Portfolio Manager at DSM [one of the largest Dutch companies with 10 bill € in revenue, and employing over 20,000 people].  Going from engineering to finance to more transversal roles, leading or involved in complex large scale transformations and with the creation of a knowledge platform [], Thierry has an interesting experience and perspective on finance transformation.

His engineering background grants him a pragmatic approach to transformation and a penchant for technology. But don’t be fooled, Thierry is curious but not crazy for the techno hype we have seen recently entering finance (automation, AI, block chain etc.). And for a finance guy, he has learned to look way beyond the figures and work with the cultural change required to really implement beautifully crafted solutions.

The two key subjects that struck me in our conversation were :

  • His passion for helping the finance profession to question itself and do a real introspection about its roles, about the meaning of new technologies and about its valuable new position in the organisation. 
  • Measuring the effectiveness of mindset transformation with maturity assessment, non-financial KPIs and storytelling.
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So, now Apple is a bank (finally?)

In 2013, Apple launched Apple Pay as both a digital wallet and a mobile payment service, and now Apple is a bank?

Up to now, even with iPhones NFC capabilities, biometric authentication and the very robust Apple ecosystem, Apple Pay wasn’t a amazing success. An extra feature in Apple’s ecosystem yes, not a revolution. And since then, I’ve been waiting for more news and more commitment to this service.

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Keynote (Pas de risques, pas de startup !)

pas de risque pas de startup - keynote - innovation copilots

I haven’t done a public keynote in a while, so just a quick heads up: I will be in Toulouse (France) and have a one hour talk on startup valuation, managing risk and uncertainties, and what it means for investors (including corporations and their innovation programs).

It’s in partnership with Nubbo the local incubator and a dear partner of us since 2013. The keynote will be on April 8 and starting at 6:30pm. It’s a free event (you’re welcome).

You just have to register here.

Click below for the full presentation (in French):

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Innovation is not about being smart and fast

innovation 2030 plan - innovation copilots

There is this on-going fallacy about innovation. Innovation should be about being smart and and being fast. Or at least, smarter and faster than competitors. Seeing the next big thing, catching the next wave, seizing the white space, finding the blue ocean… These narratives are all about a promised Eden, hidden from the masses of companies that are not smart enough to read the market or the technology.

If we unpack this mindset, we get the following familiar reasoning:

  1. There will be an optimal way to go ahead and outcompete everyone else;
  2. We are then at point A in time and need to go to B (the future optimum);
  3. Investment is needed and we’ll have ROI when at B;
  4. Going from A to B shall then be as fast as possible;
  5. Knowing where B is, requires intuition if we’re looking into it too early;
  6. If we are too late (others are already getting to B) we’ll need to spend more money and, as followers, get less ROI.
  7. We obviously need to be smart to be just in time to run for B.
  8. Rinse and repeat.

This has been taught in every innovation class of every business school, university and tech entrepreneurship class since 1962, when Everett ROGERS modelled his diffusion of innovation theory.
Let me make the case that it’s actually a terrible (terrible) reasoning. Continue reading “Innovation is not about being smart and fast”