Brief steps for innovation in the era of E-commerce

As the Economist Joseph Schumpeter said Entrepreneurs can’t sit idle and try to innovate. They are the people who have an uncanny sense of using the resources from less productive use to more productive use. They are the ones who do Value creation, this is what we call innovation.

E-commerce belongs to this generation and Technology is irreversible; no one can hold it back and only curiosity won’t help us. Research activity is also needed. Scientific knowledge is essential (supported). Research is also supplemented by Developmental activities (R&D), closer to practical uses.

The Technological Innovation world involves product and process development activities (converted into manifestation forms). Then it transcends to the market/people with practical uses. Invention and discoveries constitute the technology world/innovation world- product process- market development activities (Administrative capabilities needed as well).

This all has to be assembled holistically and make the tech happen/forward driven with innovation. Business world needs tech entrepreneurship and administrative skills.

We have to question what value the tech will bring to our product. Simple innovation without value creation cannot create Blue Ocean/has no meaning.

Technological importance means the value that the technology brings to a product/potential product

We have to ensure not to bring value to other products in the competition. We need technological positioning. Frontier-ending R&D investment is needed to compete with the rival companies that are deeply entrenched in technology. Keep competitive parity is not an advantage.  

A technology portfolio consists of- Bet, Draw, Cash, and Fold

Regime of Appropriability

Is the effectiveness of legal mechanisms of protection of technology, Patents, copyrights, trade secrets, tacit knowledge, and codified knowledge.

Process innovation can’t be protected by patents.

Codified knowledge is very prone to industrial espionage, in other words, Hiring people from other companies. The regime of appropriability can be from high to low depending on the technology. E.g. KFC spice formula (easy to safeguard) or a new search algorithm (hard to seep safe).

Any innovation passes through two stages-

Pre Paradigm and Paradigm stage

Pre Paradigm is when a technology is in the process of innovation. Every innovation goes through this stage when it remains in the domain of the innovators and scientists.

In the Paradigm stage product designs are fluid and the manufacturing process is loosely organized whereas in the Paradigm stage less uncertainty for the design emerges and a final design emerges. The focus is now on process design.

Our objective is to transit from the pre paradigm stage to the paradigm stage as fast as possible. Successful transit of tech to practical use is called commercialization and has to be ensured with another set of capabilities called complementary assets.

The tinkering or invention needs to be followed by research and then a complimentary stage in development. Entrepreneurs have to ensure that complementary assets have to be built around innovation to be successful. Innovators need to have certain complementary assets which are not generic (highly specialized).

There is a third category of assets called Co specialized. These assets have a bilateral dependence. These assets have no other use other than their intended use. E.g.: A spacecraft manufacturing facility.

Many innovators fail and succumb and they don’t have the complementary assets. To counter that, entrepreneurs can do collaborative strategy by collaborating with partners with complementary assets. It should exclude the possibility of any other collaboration.  

Technology has to be adopted by people otherwise, it has no meaning. Early adopters need to leverage by patronizing the products. This gives way to the early majority who are more market-orientated. If they are satisfied they give way to the late majority. This transition will secure our position in the market.

But there is a catch, when technology falls between the transition space of early adopters and the early majority. This is known as ‘Chasm’. This change in emphasis poses a problem for innovating firms since incumbents are often much better equipped to meet the desire for complete products and low-risk purchases,and once you fall into this space. It gets really difficult to get out of it. A tornado (another group of people) is needed to take it out of the chasm and hit it into the mainstream.

E-commerce implementation can have two strategies:

Bottom-up approach and Top-down approach

Introduction of Ecommerce has complemented traditional business. This has also made traditional businesses more competitive.

Top-down approach implementation is preferred on a large scale and national level but when it comes to administrative (meeting the requirements of civil services), local trade and commerce services are suited to have a bottom-up approach.

Digital infrastructure is essential for making e-commerce successful. Cradle to grave digital identity is emerging as the new measure to the unique identification of people.

Common service center: Helps in providing e-Services to rural and remote locations where availability of computers and Internet is negligible or mostly absent. With the help of Interoperability and common information center data and information can be accessed at any location.

Mobile banking is another approach that is also increasing its proliferation.  But it’s still in its nascent stages.

Another concept that is emerging is Cashless transactions where all the POS and banking services can be attained remotely. Although the security issue remains which has to be taken care of by a central agency (Government).

One of the most important things to consider is Digital literacy. A certain amount of literacy is needed for availing all these digital infrastructure and access. For a widespread utilization of digital services, we have to ensure that more people are digitally literate.

We also have to keep in mind that common support ICT infrastructure and adequate private and public partnership will help to make these services more efficient and better.  With the help of aforementioned knowledge, an E-commerce can certainly endure in the realm of digital world.