Innovation and Design Thinking with Digital Leader Mike Briercliffe

Innovation and design thinking are such relevant topics in today’s hi-tech world. Mike Briercliffe and I provided our perspective on how to handle disruption and discussed the way to innovate safely in business.

Mike shared some of his wisdom from 50 years in business management and over the years I always learned a lot from talking with him and working alongside him.

Mike Briercliffe was a Digital Leader, Social Business Practitioner, Speaker, Blogger, Connector, he specialised in Information Tech & Snowsports sectors, occasionally both.

If you want to learn more about Mike then here is his LinkedIn profile

We also did another important interview where we discussed Building a Community Online: Mike Briercliffe.

Learn more about:- Digital Transformation + Digitization with Red Hat Director of Strategy Brian Gracely – Episode 52

WARNING — AI Transcriptions Below May Cause Grammatically Correct People Serious Stress and Lack of Sleep!

Nathaniel Schooler 0:13
I’d like to introduce you to Mike Briercliffe. Mike is a digital leader, a social business practitioner, who specializes in the information technology and snowsports sectors, occasionally, both together with over 50 years in management and marketing, specifically, Mike has helped grow over 50 businesses, some from the ground up, and he has helped many people to progress in their careers. So let’s get into this interesting talk. Well, hey, Mike, it’s really great to speak to you again.

Mike Briercliffe 1:00
Yeah, good. Thanks for calling me Nat.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:03
No worries, I’m pleased that I’m going to learn a bit more about innovation. I mean, I think it’s a it’s a massive subject, isn’t it really, and as you said, to me, when we were discussing this, this expert talk, how, I mean, I said to you, it can be anywhere in business and in life, and process, product and departmental innovation, right. But you pointed out a few other really interesting elements to it.

Mike Briercliffe 1:32
I was talking about innovation, being all around us and able to able to be interpreted as product innovation, or service innovation, or process innovation, or business development, or, I mean, it’s such a wide subject. So we need to focus in on the areas that we want to really talk about, I mean, to me, I regarded myself as being innovative throughout my career, which is quite a long time, as you know, and, to me, the innovation matter in business is often best treated as experimentation.

And, an activity carried out by a small number of people, not the whole business. So for instance, if I wanted to innovate a new customer approach, for dealing with, with my clients, what I’d do is, I will find the two or three best people that I had, who I knew had the capability of delivering that innovation, get them to do it in a in a silo to start with and have them come up with some results and some measurable milestones and some understandable concept for taking the business forward, and then taking the business forward in that silo before then re delivering it to the rest of the business.

My experience was, if you tried to get 20 people to deliver innovation, it would never work, focusing on focusing in with the best two or three people and figuring out what the right pattern is, what the right speed is, what the right features are. And then working on that with a small number has two effects. One is you actually prove it without it becoming too dispersed. And you actually show the people who aren’t in it, where you’re going, and they certainly, normally anyway, they rally to the cause. Rather than saying, well:- “We’re all going to do this, and hope that we can all start off on this path.”

And in my experience, that tends to disperse, the focus and you never get the innovation that you looking for. So focusing with a team and then delivering that experience to the wider team seems to me the best way to do things, particularly when you’re focusing in on better ways to do your business.

Nathaniel Schooler 4:16
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, actually. And, you know, I think it’s a difficult one, isn’t it? I mean, I pride myself on being innovative as well, you know, and try and come up with better ways to sort of do things all the time. And from what I sort of said to you a bit earlier, I was saying that, you know, when I was when I was working in production in the wine industry, like however many years 20 years ago, ish, I sort of turned around and I said:- “Well, you know, why am I folding a box and then putting an energy into the box and then folding, and then turning the box over and then sticking the tape right? When surely, I can just get a box with an inner in already, and then stick the bottom of the box and turn it up the right way. But that innovation would only work if for one, the actual new product was cheaper, or you reapportioned the labor costs to somewhere else within the business. Right. But is it not true that everybody, especially with AI, coming along with artificial intelligence, and the way that machines are learning that everybody needs to be thinking innovation in their job and how to make their job easier and better and smoother?Right?

Mike Briercliffe 4:16
Process improvement is what you’re really talking about? Which is comes down to the general heading of innovation, I guess?

And the answer that is yes.

Although going back to my earlier point, that’s really why you need to choose your best people and get them to innovate, and then re deliver that innovation to the rest of the business. Because not everybody in the business either wants to innovate, or is capable of innovating. A lot of people are good at following what’s already been proven. A lot of people don’t want change.

Nathaniel Schooler 6:15

Mike Briercliffe 6:16
So yeah, what you said, it’s everywhere. It’s everybody’s responsibility to innovate. But you’ve got to have a certain mindset to be innovative.

And not everybody is.

Nathaniel Schooler 6:28
Right. Yeah. I mean, I think you could, you could, you could also break a particular part of the business, if you don’t do it correctly, because I was reading some of the other day, I think it was from Harvard, or somewhere like that. And it was just saying that, you know, certain departments are there to be solid to be rock solid. And the last thing that department wants to actually do is to innovate, because it’s going to break a process that’s working extremely well. Right.

Mike Briercliffe 6:55
Yeah. And that goes straight to my the point really, you don’t want to disrupt the whole organization, in terms of innovation, you got something working, then keep it working, and have a small team innovate, and then re deliver a successful innovation back to the rest of the business.

Nathaniel Schooler 7:14
Yeah, yeah. So with with the move in technology now. I mean, I’ve been sort of, you know, I do a lot of lot of audio interviews, I use the audio files, and I transcribe those into words, right. So that’s just one example of an innovation which it is moving in the right direction, it isn’t quite there yet. But it’s sort of an augmented approach between like, a human actually sitting there and listening to that audio. And actually a computer that is turning that audio into some words that then can be indexed, for example, in a search engine, right. And as we’re sort of moving forwards with these new innovations in technology, jobs are changing, and people are actually becoming more able to sort of work alongside the computer instead of just sort of doing their human job, if you like, and then perhaps doing something with it with a computer, right?

Mike Briercliffe 8:18
Well, there aren’t, there aren’t many jobs, that I can think of that over the last, let’s say, 20 years, that haven’t involved a computer. I think it’s important to recognize that artificial intelligence didn’t suddenly arrive in a rocket ship from from space. It’s a development of computing. And, you know, what we today call intelligence and wrap mystique and black magic around it. That’s not the way it is, when intelligence was conceived as a possibility, you know, can a computer think like a human when it first came from with Alan Turing, and so on. And that was in the 1950s. The approach is not the idea of the approach is not new. But it’s taken a long, long time and competing terms, particularly, to get to a point now where we can all look at something like this and give it a name:- “artificial intelligence” it’s important to recognize and I was discussing this the other day with some people we know quite well, you and I know quite well.

The Turing test, to my knowledge has not yet been passed, the Turing test was here is a way of deciding whether a computer is thinking like a human. And that test has not been passed to my knowledge. There’s been talk of it being past, but I think it’s been poo hooed. You know, artificial intelligence obviously, now becoming an accepted term. But the very gateway through which has to pass become defined to become artificial intelligence as defined by Turing has not yet been they haven’t passed through that gate. So there’s a bandwagon talking about new and innovative ways of doing stuff.

But we’re still really only at the very beginning of it, and it got fuzzy definition around it now. Because it’s not the clear, clearly defined, is this computer of its own volition, thinking like a human. All of what we’re seeing is advanced coding.

Nathaniel Schooler 10:32

Mike Briercliffe 10:33
And it’s very useful, and it’s very innovative. But yet, it isn’t yet in the spirit of what was defined as being artificial intelligence.

Nathaniel Schooler 10:43
Yeah, 100%, I actually looked into the group that were sort of talking around right now. And I had a look at some of the information in there and just thought, Well, to be to be honest, like, I’m not, it’s not adding any value to my life, even reading it. Like, I mean, I’m not being arrogant about it. But you know, you’ve been studying this a lot longer than I have. And I don’t expect you to say the same thing. But I think it’s very useful to actually see the opinions of so called thought leaders within the space. And actually, they’re not really up to speed with what’s actually happening. And the reality of it is, we’re miles away from the Turing test, I think, personally, from the people, I’ve been talking to machine learning professors and stuff, they actually think of the sort of hype that has been put out there, within these sort of circles of so called self professed experts within this arena. To be honest, you know, I’m sure some of them have some valid points and some valid information. But, you know, compared to sort of some of the industrial Internet of Things, people like Dan Dan Yama lock, who I interviewed a while back, who actually work on the ground with this technology. I mean, I was talking to my dad about it. And he raised a really interesting point, because he was he studied, like industrial engineering at MIT. Right. And, and, and he raised this point of like, actually innovation, when you are using a production line. So for example, if you’re in if you’re in a factory, you need to start at the end of the production line with the innovation, you don’t start at the beginning, which I thought was an amazing insight into into how it because imagine you create this amazing innovation at the beginning of the production line. And then what happens at the end, it’s going to create a nightmare, right?

Mike Briercliffe 12:44
Yeah, what you’ve got to do with all these innovations, technical or process or marketing or business development, is think about what the end consumer wants from this process, or from this, from this phenomenon that you’re creating. And which is the sameis referring to with your Dad, the end of the line, not the beginning.

Throughout my career, I’ve been working with people who’ve put some amazing things together, innovatively speaking, typically, technology wise, in the context of what I’m saying now, that have never ever really had success in the market, however clever they are, and however innovative they are. They didn’t think about well:- “What does the customer want?” And I think that’s an important point there actually, which I have believed all of my throughout my career. People you say when we’re implementing computers in the 70s:- “Well, let’s emulate the current process.” And that’s not a bad way to start thinking about it. But the fact is, you can do things much more innovatively with computing than you ever could in a manual process sense. So when you are designing processes of that kind and innovating business processes, you need to be aware of what’s possible, which computing, the business computing, phenomenon, made possible. But people because people didn’t know what was possible, they were coming up with old fashioned processes, without understanding what was no possible because of the different way of doing things. So it’s really important, to think:- “Well,

here’s now what is possible!” And finding someone in your business who gets that is really important. And then figuring out how what is possible can can meld with what is currently being delivered. And so there is process enhancement, process innovation comes from two points of view. I’ve just tried to describe them:- “What are we doing now? And how is it working? And can it work better? But what is possible here?” Because you can’t start off by saying:- “Well, we’re going to do it this way and we are going to do it that way.” And effectively deliver business processes in the modern age, unless you know what’s possible, because it wasn’t possible before.

So it’s really important thing, now you’ve got you’ve got to get a team together when you’re doing innovation who understands what happens now. And and people have a process, process orientation. And then you got to get the imaginary people out, who can say:- “Well, if this was possible, then wouldn’t it be great?” Somebody in the middle is going to say:- “Well, it is possible, or it’s not possible, or that’s not possible yet.” So that’s why this team thing that I was going on about earlier. That’s why implies so much in my mind, because you gotta get the talents together to figure out what the what the potential improvements to processes and the innovations you can make with your business are.

Nathaniel Schooler 15:51
Well, that leads beautifully into our next part of this conversation, which is design thinking and so, according to the MIT quote that I found the other day:- “Design thinking is a powerful process of problem solving, that begins with understanding unmet customer needs” Which is what you’ve you’ve sort of talked about. “And from that insight emerges a process for innovation that encompasses concept development, applied creativity, prototyping, and experimentation.” Which is we’ve sort of talked around that already. “And when design thinking approaches are applied to business, the success rate interesting enough for innovation improves substantially.”

So yeah, I think it’s really just the way to go isn’t it is ask the customer what they want. And that customer could be a department in your businesses, it doesn’t necessarily have to be external to the business, does it?

Mike Briercliffe 16:53
No, it doesn’t. I mean, there’s a long held concept within the particular American corporatations and therefore, the Western world, that your customer, the customer, is the is the is the department that you’re delivering your product or your service to, they don’t have to be a customer, customer thinking in that sense, can have many links inside the business, as well as having the ultimate customer, which is that person outside or that entity outside the business.

Yeah. So basically, the comment I’d make upon what you just said, following your description of what design thinking is, the customer doesn’t always know what he wants.

Well, customer might know what he wants, but he doesn’t know the customer doesn’t know what’s possible for him to want. So it’s important that somebody on that side of the equation is either helping the customer to say the right things to you as a supplier, or that you will have some kind of entity, which is advising the customer on what’s possible. Most. I’m talking really computing now, which is where I spent most of my career. Most customers don’t know what’s possible. Therefore, how can they accurately describe what they want?

Nathaniel Schooler 18:18
Right. Yeah, I mean, I was sort of talking, talking with Dan, who you know of, and he was kind of saying, well “Go out and see what’s out there already. And if it’s out there already go and have a look at some of the software platforms where you can kind of find these things, and have a little think about it!” And actually for one example, I mean, if you look at how you can you can actually use trance translate apps, for example, you can you can plug in like Google, Google has a translate open source application, you’ve got Microsoft that’s got one of those. So it is possible to all right, it’s not hundred percent accurate. But it’s very accurate compared to what it was 200 languages are available now. Which you can plug in whatever you’re doing into that, potentially. Right. So that’s just one example of something that you can use, right? And I’m sure you know, loads of other examples.

Mike Briercliffe 19:23
Well, in today’s in today’s cloud world, it’s really interesting that to think that almost any process can be delivered on demand into the system that you’re creating. So innovation in a system sense, is, very easy to prototype these days.

Once you once you got somebody who understands how to architect a system, and how to how to pull the services that are required from the entire web, using using the cloud approach, it’s really easy is to design the system, the first level for certain, and then then the innovation, design thinking comes of saying, well, all these things exist in the world, we don’t have to develop them, all we got to do is bring them to the process flow the system, bring them there, prove the concept in terms of :-“Will this deliver what we want?” And then deal with the issues of well, it’s not quite fast enough, or it’s a bit too clunky, or it’s a bit expensive, or the code over there doesn’t really work well with the code over here. But fundamentally, you can, you know, I find it hard to, to define a service that you would require within a business process that wasn’t available using Cloud delivered technology.

Nathaniel Schooler 20:47
Yeah, it is mind blowing. When you when you think about it, I mean, you know, I’m you know, I’m teaching my Dad how to use his iPhone, right? He’s at he’s 86 this summer. Yeah. And, you know, it, he’s to write programs like 50 years ago, I mean, he can’t remember now, but, but it blows his mind, like just talking to Siri, just as an example, and getting Siri to do certain things, you know, like, send an email kind of a thing or, you know, send a text message and, and the kind of voice to text capabilities now, are taken for granted, I think, in many, in many instances with regular users. But when you sort of see someone that’s, that’s, that’s kind of not seen this before, and how amazing it is, you realize that, we’re in this bright, shiny kind of object world where, you know, everyone in technology is obsessed with the next technology, the latest thing, but actually, when you break it down, and you look at it all, it’s like, well, let’s look at where we are now with an iPhone eight, or whatever the latest one is compared to like an iPhone four, or an old Nokia, right? Then you then you just you just look at it. And it’s like, well, how many prototypes and how many millions of people and millions and billions and billions of questions have actually gone into like refining Siri, for example?

Mike Briercliffe 22:17
Well, voice recognition is not new. And the the versions of voice recognition that appear on our phones these days, like Siri, and Alexa. And those other things, I forgot what Microsoft is called. But anyway, that there are a number of voice recognition systems, which are hooked up to doing real things. And, you know, speaking, what you and I were talking about Chatbots, a few months ago, a Chatbot is a very simple thing in a way. Because once you’ve got voice recognition to a level where it’s efficient enough, what you’ve just done, they simply added the voice recognition layer, to the user interface of an application. And it’s not something I find hard to, hard to grasp.

One of the things I find hard to grasp, at the moment, to be honest with you, is when I talk to Siri, it keeps getting, it probably isn’t understanding a Northern accent very well. It often, it often screws up what I’m saying to it. But fundamentally, I’ve got a very dear friend who speaks to it almost mechanically, and gets a top results every time. So you know, tech, speech, recognition, converting that to text and converting it to systems commands. Is all is all the rage now. And all those things? It’s a bit like I was saying just a few minutes ago about all these things have been available. I think the glory of what’s happening right now is they are being integrated, innovatively, and put into applications like Siri and Alexa and so on and so forth. Is it Cortana? They actually

Nathaniel Schooler 24:05
Yes, it is.

Mike Briercliffe 24:08
That they actually are doing the things that you would have normally done with your fingers on a keyboard up to a couple of years ago. So it’s, it’s this whole phenomenon is taking stuff that’s kind of been in development for years and decades, and bringing it to a point where it’s integrated in such a way that the application of that combined technology or those combined technologies is just changing the way we work.

The Chatbot thing that you and I were talking about a couple of months ago kind of minimizes the reality of what’s happened here. And it kind of kind of trivialize it is a better word.

Nathaniel Schooler 24:46
The word bot you mean?

Mike Briercliffe 24:47
Well, the word chat and the word. But the fact is, this is the user interface for really serious systems that is driven by voice. People say, oh, there’s a Chatbot, my bank’s got Chatbot I want to talk to it doesn’t make any sense. In fact that happened just the other day. If I yesterday, in one of those conversations that you and I were looking at in that group, and you know, people, people have trivialized it. You know, the word as an example, the term 3D Print, trivializes the fact that this is this is fabrication, 3D Print is layered fabrication.

Nathaniel Schooler 25:26
Can you explain what what layered fabrication is, because I don’t quite get that. I mean, I’m probably do but…

Mike Briercliffe 25:32
The other reason that it became kind of called printing is that something like an inkjet printer lays down a layer of materials. And then it lays down another layer on the top of it, another layer on the top of it, and then another layer on top of it until what’s been built is not it’s not print on a page. It’s actually a physical object.

Nathaniel Schooler 25:54
Got you.

Mike Briercliffe 25:55
So now, you know the idea of saying, well, that’s 3d printing, in my opinion, there’s done the whole process no good at all, because people can’t get the head round. How can you print things? Well, if you say, Well, if I if I put one layer of material on the on the table, and another layer on top of that, another layer on top of that, and on top of that, everyone can understand what we’re doing here. We’re building. We’re building things in layers. And but but the the point I was making about about chatbot. And the point I’m making about 3d print, it trivializes what the process is.

Nathaniel Schooler 26:32
Yeah, yeah. Well, also, but also, voice recognition can be used in so many different ways. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a chat boy, it can actually be used to used in security for calling your bank, for example.

Mike Briercliffe 26:48
Well, basically, what we’re saying here is, here’s some system components, which, in my opinion, have been laughingly called Chatbots, which are capable of driving your systems. Instead of having to type again, it’s taking your words and relaying them to a machine, which has got the pre programmed intelligence to come back to you and say, yes or no, or what do you mean by that, or in that case, you should do this. So a Chatbot is a lump of computer code, which is pre programmed by a human, not by some mythical thing in the stratosphere, by a human, to interact with you on the basis of what you’re saying, it recognizes what you say, because of voice recognition.

You know, these things are not mystical, but them Chatbots makes them sound like they’re some kind of really small thing. They’re not, you know, you can drive a very significant system by talking to it. And that’s what they’ve, that’s what the hung the name Chatbot upon. And it’s trivialized it. And what I was saying earlier about 3d, 3d print, the same thing has happened to 3d print. You know people don’t understand how 3d print can be, because how can you print a bottle, while you can print a bottle, if you if you really lay down a layer of liquid glass using an inkjet technology and keep doing that and keep doing it and keep keep doing it until you’ve got enough layers, it will become a bottle, or a vase or wherever it needs to be. But the term 3d print is trivialized it. That’s why 3d fabrication is a much better way of describing what the processes and giving it the gravitas that it needs. So, you know, I’m a big critic of the industry, my industry, my computer industry at large for coming up buzzwords, that that that kind of Cloud, there’s one itself that cloud the reality of what’s being done here. And these are very serious pieces of work and they are being called trivial things. Yeah. It’s one of my big hobby horses.

Nathaniel Schooler 29:11
So with with problem solving, right we’re understanding what the problem is, for whichever department we’re trying to we’re trying to fix could be an outside customer, it could be an internal department, then we’re going to create a concept, then we’re going to find out if it’s going to work, we’re going to apply that creativity, prototype, the product, and then we’re going to experiment with it to make it work as best as it can. And then were going to scale it and use it on with more users. Is that Is that a fair process?

Mike Briercliffe 29:47
I’m sure, I’m sure if I if I wrote all that down and put it into a flow chart, and then put the critical points and it’s in the milestones, they’ll be some work left to do. But broadly speaking, yeah, that’s it, you know, and going again, back to my don’t want to sound like the record. But going back to my original point of do it in a small sense, and then roll it out, or do it in a narrow sense, and prove it works. And then roll it out to the rest of the business is a much better way, then hoping the process that you’ve designed does work and then giving it to the whole business all at once.

Nathaniel Schooler 30:23
Yeah, but also actually having the money to invest. Because like, you know, I mean, I was when I was talking to Dan about like, some of these CEOs keep approaching him and saying, you know:- We need some AI.” And he’s just like:- “Well, what do you mean guys like, and they’re like, but we need AI.” And he’s like :- “Well, actually, if you’re going to invest in AI, for something within your business, you’re going to need to increase your staffing within that department by two times, the kind of number of people you’ve got ready for two years is basically what he’s what he’s recommending, and then you’re going to get the benefits.” Because people are just under the impression that there’s a magic wand that technology can just kind of fix, you know, and in many cases, it’s not that right is it really?

Mike Briercliffe 31:10
No it’s not, to repeat myself, again, this is a computer code. Now, you know, people, people sell pre pre written computer code, and the more we sell, the less the price gets on, the bigger they are, the more they can invest in producing these products that are so called AI. But the reality is that whatever tools you use, to do these jobs, and whatever tools you bring alongside to help you do the jobs; process is the key issue here, and if you can’t stop a process and start a process, just in the hope that it’ll work, you’ve got to find a way of building the process over time testing, integrating partitioning, and so on in order to make sure that, you know, you don’t simply say:- “Well, we’ve got a you know AI so we don’t need those jobs anymore.” I think there’s a there’s a period of time, in the in the big, big fear about AI going to take all our jobs. Dan’s quite right, there’s a time when actually, we’re going to employ more people in the in the short to medium term. Because there are two sets of people at work here, there are the people who are implementing the AI. And there are people who are there already. So it’s not simple. Ai takes all our jobs, I think there’s a period of time where AI increases jobs, and then you start to be refreshed. You start refining. And you know, going back in time to 70s, when when people were saying this to me, this computer will take my job away. Most most people who successfully adopted and implemented, and drove forward with computers grew that businesses and grew their jobs didn’t didn’t find themselves in a situation where they didn’t need people anymore did they.

Nathaniel Schooler 33:05

Mike Briercliffe 33:07
And it’s the same thing. Really. We’re 40 years on now. But it’s the same thing.

Nathaniel Schooler 33:12
Yeah, I mean, I think everyone in technology and they like to think that you know, what they’re doing is is like so far ahead. But it’s like without those principles, and like the business knowledge that people build up as well, like, nothing has actually changed that much. It’s still a process, and it still needs work. Right. And, you know, I think also the companies that are not innovating are seriously in trouble. I mean, they’re going to be I don’t like the word disrupted. But if you if you if you think about what happened with with Blockbuster. And, in fact, what happened, actually, that I heard the other day that the CEO of Blockbuster launched a Netflix rival project within the company, and he didn’t get the support from the rest of the company. And that’s the reason that that Netflix took it took over basically, they weren’t fast enough to innovate.

Mike Briercliffe 34:12
Yeah, and company size has got a lot to do with that as well. It’s often said that I was using this comparison just yesterday with someone, It’s often said small companies are better innovators and large companies. And by the way, small teams are better innovators and large teams without any question. It’s particularly in the software development arena, there’s a there’s an equation that I can’t remember the dimensions on it. But if you if you had six people in a software development team, and you said :- “We need to go faster!” And gave them 12 instead, the project and slow down, because it’s not really all about raw manpower. Or raw brainpower, it’s about the ability to interact in a in a in a flexible and meaningful and, and rapid way. But the thing I was I was talking about yesterday was Tom Tom, you know, I was I was navigating from A to B, and I was using Google Maps. When you think about it I say five years ago? That was Tom Toms domain? No one buys one, I don’t know whether it’s true. But I wouldn’t think about Tom Tom. Now, Tom, Tom with a market leader five years ago, Google came in with such a mess of resource and expertise and preordained assets that everyone to my knowledge now uses Google Maps to navigate. And Tom Tom has dwindled away. So you can you can be the market leader today. But, and it’s not only innovation, here, it’s the ability to call on massive resource.

Nathaniel Schooler 35:51

Mike Briercliffe 35:52
But if you don’t, if you don’t innovate, you’re not in good shape. If you can’t call on the same kind of resource that your major competitor does, then equally, you’re going to suffer. So you know, innovations got the rapid movement of a small team as well focused team. Within its spectrum, it’s also got the massive resource, but a company like Google in its spectrum, because they can outpace people. People like that can outpace anyone know, you couldn’t hope to get the kind of assets behind you. If you’re the leader of TomTom that you can if you’re a leader of Google. So it’s not only about small and focused and rapid and flexible. It’s also about available, massive asset.

Nathaniel Schooler 36:50
Yeah, I was, I was actually saying someone the other day, that I don’t know any other company that is as old as IBM within the technology space. And I think that the reason is because they just buy so many so many companies, you know.

Mike Briercliffe 37:06
Well, I mean, IBM is, is legendary for innovating. And somewhere in the heart of IBM, there must be an equation somewhere that says what we don’t want, we don’t need these products anymore. But we still own the innovation rights mean, the PC was called the IBM PC. But the company that grew off the back of the IBM PC was Microsoft.

The innovation in the very first place was IBM. It wasn’t it wasn’t Microsoft, the notion of Cloud has been IBM since forever. And again, IBM are in the Artificial Intelligence space. They are really active in there, as you will know, yeah, really not the player, but they are a very influential player in the Artificial Intelligence space. So that, you know, innovation, in a technical sense, isn’t always met by product delivery. With IBM, they stopped selling on the PC level, the number of years ago, sold the business, but they still are the thought leading champions of having made that market movement. So I admire IBM and their approaches, really, very much, and the way that they approach technology. And the word I’m looking for here, the intellectual thought that goes into IBM initiatives is very commendable.

Nathaniel Schooler 38:44
Yeah, they’re a very ethical company, actually. So I mean, some innovations can be too early though, right? Like, if you sort of look at the market, and you say:- “Well, okay, so Google Glass came along. And then you’ve got like Microsoft HoloLens lens, and you’ve got all these sorts of things.” And, and actually, those innovations were also amazing. And like, I want to, you know, get on board with that. And when it when it becomes more widely available, and easier to use, I will probably end up embracing some glasses to replace, in essence, my handset for my telephone, right? But if people aren’t ready, then that innovation just dies. Like with Google Glass. They just shelved it didn’t they?

Mike Briercliffe 39:30
It isn’t dead?

Nathaniel Schooler 39:31

Mike Briercliffe 39:32
Google Glass will come will come back from some later point in the evolution of system interfaces, you know, the idea that you can wear a pair of glasses, and it can be showing stuff within the lens to you. It’s basically a heads up displays isn’t it.


It’s an interactive head up display. And that concept is not gone. But they brought it and they tested it and they very quickly then said, okay, well, you use the words:- “This is not quite the right time for it. We know it works now but quite the right time.”

So shelve it, not throw it away. shelve it.

Nathaniel Schooler 40:12
Yeah. Yeah. Wait for the right for the right time. Well, thanks, Mike. That’s been that’s been really, really useful.

Mike Briercliffe 40:18
That’s good. It’s always good to talk to you that and I hope that some good comes from this conversation.

Unknown Speaker 40:28
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