Workshop Wednesday - Keeping up with Innovation
Read Time: ~3.5 minutes
On Wednesday's I share actionable strategies to create efficiencies and innovations within your business.
Picture this: you're in a car that doubles its speed every two years. You begin at a comfortable 60 miles per hour, but before long, you're hitting 120, then 240, and soon you're moving at a breathtaking velocity you never thought conceivable. This mirrors the blistering pace of technology for the last several decades, thanks to a remarkable concept known as Moore's Law.
In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore posited that the number of transistors — the powerhouse of computation — on a microchip would approximately double every two years. His prediction has held steadfastly for over half a century, leading to an astronomical surge in computing power that has transformed our world. From the genesis of the internet to the ascendancy of artificial intelligence, Moore's Law has made the unthinkable a tangible reality.
The accompanying chart portrays Moore's Law in action, capturing the exponential growth in computational prowess over the years (Note: The Y-axis is logarithmic):
The seismic shift in technology isn't an abstract concept. It's a palpable reality, manifesting in every corner of our existence — and our industry is no exception. Let's delve into a few examples:
Evolution of Financial Services: The roots of stock trading in New York City trace back to 1792. Fast forward 112 years, and EF Hutton emerges as the first retail stock brokerage firm. Another 71 years, and we see the advent of discount brokerage model by Vanguard and Schwab. Within 16 years, E*Trade revolutionizes the space with online trading. Barely a dozen years later, robo-advisors usher in the era of automated investing. It's clear: innovation is accelerating.
Market Growth: The Dow Jones Industrial Index needed a full century to grow 3150%. Yet, in just the past 37 years, the Dow has skyrocketed by over 2660%.
Investment Products: The first ETF made its debut in 1993. Today, the market is teeming with more than 2700 ETFs — a figure that doubled in just eight years, dwarfing the ten-year stretch it took to reach the first 125 ETFs.
In both our professional and personal lives, we're witnessing innovation at a staggering pace. This prompts a crucial question: how do we keep pace with the relentless march of innovation while also growing our business, serving our clients, expanding our team's skill set, and balancing our personal lives?
The challenge seems to mount each day, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed. It's why many resist the pace of innovation. It's unfamiliar and uncomfortable, and our instinct is to retreat to our comfort zones.
Such reactions are entirely human, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, as leaders, it's incumbent upon us to adapt, evolve, and help our teams, clients, and ourselves stay ahead of the curve.
Cultivating a culture of innovation isn't an overnight task. It requires patience and consistent nurturing. It's not the prerogative of a single committee or individual but should permeate every level of the organization. And, as innovation hastens, our commitment and communication about it must keep pace.
But where do we start?
Innovation isn't a mere technology — it's a mindset, a process, a novel way of doing things. Matt Ridley, a renowned British scientist and journalist, hit the nail on the head when he stated, "Innovation happens when several different ideas have sex." He's right. Innovation springs from merging diverse ideas, urging us to look beyond our industry and explore what's happening elsewhere.
Keeping a finger on the pulse of other industries doesn't just help us keep up with innovation; it provides fodder for internal creativity. An innovative practice in another industry, combined with our unique industry insight, could spawn a revolutionary opportunity for our team or clients.
Instilling innovation within our teams is paramount. Understanding your company's 'why' lays the foundation for an innovative mindset. Why do you do what you do? It's more than providing financial advice or investment management; there's a deeper sentiment at play. The quest for this 'why' and instilling it across the team is the bedrock of an innovative culture. (This video by Simon Sinek provides great clarity into this concept: Understand your why.)
Equally important is celebrating failure. Fear of failure often stifles creativity and impedes innovation. As leaders, it's our responsibility to create an environment where team members feel encouraged to take risks.
With a strong foundation for innovation, we can incorporate strategies to stay updated with the rapid pace of change. Regular brainstorming sessions, company-supported book clubs or discussion groups, client and team interactions about favorite tools or experiences can fuel the innovation engine.
Deep engagement with innovative FinTech firms, understanding their product trajectories, and establishing relationships with their teams can provide insights about industry trends. Curiosity, continuous learning, and an openness to new ideas are keys to keeping abreast of innovation.
In summary, keeping up with innovation starts within our business and our DNA. It starts with creating an innovative mindset. Once we have this, then keeping up with the rapid advancements becomes easy… actually it becomes part of your ethos.
Why: Embrace an innovative mindset across all levels of your organization by understanding your company's deeper 'why' and encouraging a culture of risk-taking and learning from failures.
Look outward: Invest in continuous learning and cross-industry exploration, promoting activities like regular brainstorming, company-supported book clubs, and active discussion on diverse topics.
Connect with FinTech: Foster deep relationships with innovative firms and products within and outside your industry to gain insights and predict trends, aiding your firm's ability to stay relevant and competitive.
The best is ahead!
How did today's post resonate with you?