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◼️ Innovation Micro-interview #9 - Tim RAYNER, Australia

A series of micro-interviews with people we work with. Partners in crime, current or former customers, all have a unique view on innovation and the current zeitgeist. Five questions on innovation, short answers. We might agree, we might disagree. No context, no comments.
◼️ Innovation Micro-interview #9 - Tim RAYNER, Australia
Tim Rayner
Tim RAYNER, Australia / Co-Founder & Director at Phase One Insights, a research agency for future-focused companies, author of Hacker Culture and the New Rules of Innovation.

1. How do you define innovation, and why is it important for you (personally, not for your professional activity)?

Innovation is the creation of the new. It's progressive in spirit, but there's always an element of violence involved. Innovation is a means of effecting change, and hence whenever we think of innovation we must identify the technologies that are used to effect change and the strategies that lie behind the play. What's the material or medium being used? What is the framing conceptual structure or ideology and whose interests does it serve? How is change being affected or delivered? Who's being changed? Who benefits? Evidently, a socio-political perspective on innovation. But revelatory applied to commercial ventures too.

2. If we only consider “digital” what’s the biggest impact you witnessed directly these last years (remote working notwithstanding)?

I'm interested in human-machine interfaces, so fascinated by AI-driven research tech and new creative tools like Midjourney. Collaborations with AI are transforming our sense of the possible. The design innovations generated by Midjourney will reshape imagination in fashion, architecture, film, culture... Research tech will force researchers to be more empathetic, imaginative, and focused on storytelling - in short, more quintessentially human. Analytics and insights will be produced by machines, making humans oracles and seers.

3. What’s currently the hottest topic in your field that you believe might have a chance to really be transformative?

As I've suggested, AI research tech will disrupt research and consulting this decade. Market research is particularly vulnerable, since it's stuck in the last century. Efficiencies will flow into new product development and innovation. When companies can complete large research projects within days, as opposed to weeks or months, it will enable experiments in growth hacking, freeing up corporate innovation and transforming the innovation function.

4. In contrast, what's the most over-hyped topic and why?

VR and virtual workspaces. AR has numerous benefits but no one wants to be stuck in an animated boardroom surrounded by legless avatars. There's just no compelling use case.

5. What is the most surprising weak signal you have direct knowledge of that we all should be paying more attention to?

In the 2021 Australian census, Millennials outnumbered Boomers for the first time. Millennials, of course, have a very different set of digital expectations and are being prodded toward innovation by the Zoomer generation behind them.