At the beginning of 2020, the majority of corporations likely had their plans decided for the year. Innovation schedules, new product development timetables, product launches—all were marked out in the calendar and waiting in the wings.
And then, the global pandemic unfolded.
Corporations were forced to step back, rethink, and redevelop not just their plans for the upcoming quarter, but for the year, and even the foreseeable future.
What we now refer to as the new normal doesn’t just refer to the way we interact with co-workers, or how industries have adapted to ensure their employees are safe—it’s much bigger than that. The new normal encompasses every aspect of corporate operations. It’s forced them to shift, pivot, and reimagine how they operate, how they work, and how they innovate.
I recently had the chance to speak with someone at the forefront of these kinds of changes: Mauricio Vianna, CEO of the global consulting firm MJV Technology & Innovation. Vianna and his team have helped major brands like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines tackle digital transformation, and he and I sat down to discuss what we can expect to see in terms of corporate innovation as we continue to navigate these new waters.
Shama Hyder: How can digital transformation in an enterprise be applied to the New Normal?
Mauricio Vianna: When going through a digital transformation process, enterprises need to anticipate and address customer needs and support them with new products and services in an agile way. An important step towards understanding customers’ needs is to map their journey across the organization, registering all the points of interaction and their emotional outcomes.
One interesting approach that MJV Technology and Innovation has been applying to help companies go through a digital transformation journey is to combine design thinking with agile methodology and software development, all supported by data science.
In the context of the new normal, where health and safety have become the number one concern for enterprises and customers, digital transformation brings the opportunity to rethink the way they interact.
Hyder: Do you think remote work will become the norm for large corporations? How should this assumption steer corporations?
Vianna: Remote work isn’t just a temporary fix to a pandemic problem. It’s here to stay and will more than likely outlast the pandemic.
It’s important to note that one of the primary casualties of remote work, especially in larger corporations, is innovation. Traditionally, innovation relied deeply on in-person creative processes. Now with teams distributed worldwide, companies need to build a digital environment that fosters the same innovative culture.
I believe that companies should begin to tightly focus on creating a digital environment for their teams that are comprehensive, seamless, easy-to-use, and effective for remote work. It’s crucial to craft a digital space that maintains operational efficiency, but also includes easy ways to foster and boost culture and morale within a company.
Hyder: You’re a big proponent of Agile systems. Are you seeing a greater emphasis on Agile right now?
Vianna: The most significant paradigm shift we’ve seen is an increase in the sense of urgency in getting things done. This has led to a greater emphasis on creating an agile culture and implementation, not only for developing software in the IT department but also across the whole organization—marketing, HR, production, etc. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a substantial increase in our clients looking for help in not only implementing an agile culture, but scaling it as well.
Hyder: What’s one major innovation that you think will continue to have momentum in 2021?
Vianna: Contactless technology has quickly become a top priority. Whether it’s in product delivery, customer service, or rethinking traditional retail and hospitality environments, touchless technology will disrupt the consumer experience more than any other force in 2021.
We’re working with many top consumer brands, including household names like Coca-Cola, to integrate contactless technology into their product lines.
It’s pertinent to understand that touchless isn’t just a temporary trend because of the pandemic. Though COVID-19 might have greased the wheels and jump-started the process, contactless or touchless technology is going to become an important, integrated part of the customer experience within any industry—including home delivery, retail stores, and restaurants.
More and more, we’re seeing requests from clients to review the customer journey and implement contactless solutions where possible.
While there is simply no way we could predict all of the repercussions, changes, and comprehensive long-term effects of the pandemic, one thing is for certain: the way corporations work, do business, and innovate has been shifted and altered forever.