IDEASCALE BLOG

Insights and sneak peeks into innovation and IdeaScale.

Expanding Into New Markets? Here Are Some Helpful Tips

Expanding into new markets can be a lucrative business move, but it’s one that should be taken with care.

Before you so much as dip a toe into a new market, you need some idea management. New markets may be the lifeblood of any business, but business history is littered with companies that leaped into new markets without, literally, any ideas. For every Microsoft Xbox, there are a dozen Coors Sparkling Waters. Here are the five steps to break in.

What’s Your Market?

One of the most dangerous places an innovation can arrive at is to be the solution without a problem. Before you consider entering a new market, ask yourself what this market is, and why they’d be interested in your product. How would they use it? Would it be better than a product they already use? Can you demonstrate it, in a context that will engage them? If they have no impression of your company, what will they take away from your product?

And remember to apply this to any market, even on the ones you’re already in. Part of idea management is finding new ways to apply mature ideas. In some cases, in attempting to break into a new market, you might solve what seems to be an intractable problem in a market you’ve been in for a while.

What’s The Future?

Another important aspect is the future of this market. To be clear, nobody’s asking you to predict the future. But you should know where the trends in this market are headed, and how your product fits into that. For example, robotics companies had an idea, when they began developing tools for the military, that their biggest consumer products would be vacuums scooting across floors. They perhaps didn’t know it’d be a competitive market, but they knew there was interest, and it’s since been a major driver for consumer robotics. What’s the possible Roomba for you? And don’t forget the other approach; if the market doesn’t pan out, what’s your risk and exposure?

Which market do you want to enter next?

How Are You Entering?

There are a lot of ways into a market. You can build from the ground up, buy out a competitor, partner with a company already in the industry, or even repackage a product you already sell with a new approach, a tactic familiar to anybody who’s noticed Fudgy The Whale and Carvel’s Santa Claus ice cream cakes look suspiciously similar. However, each approach has its own challenges, and each challenge needs to be considered carefully. For example, if you’re buying out a competitor, careful due diligence will need to be the order of the day.

Once that’s in place, you’ll need to ask how, precisely, this growth is going to happen. In some cases, it truly is a natural process, where infrastructure you already have in place can be scaled up or retooled to fit almost any need. Notice how Amazon went from books and other media to larger items that could be shipped, and has steadily expanded from there.

No matter what your company does, there are always new markets to explore. The chemical companies that started turning out sodium percarbonate for industrial purposes had no idea it’d become OxyClean. And with smart idea management, you can find, and open, those markets with ease. To learn more about idea management, contact us!

Innovating Community Support Services in Ontario

Community Support Services OntarioHealth Services in Canada are under enormous pressure: the population is aging, hospital wait times are getting longer and longer and money being spent keeps rising. The current situation is not sustainable. Which is why the Community Support Services sector is one of the most critical component for delivering holistic, close to home, one sector, client-centered healthcare services and end-to-end client and caregiver experience and improving health outcomes, improving efficiency, effectiveness and reducing the cost of services. Unfortunately, this sector is neglected and underfunded.

According to the Census 2016, for the first time in history, there are now more Canadians over 65 years old than under 15. The aging population in Canada is significantly increasing. Statistics Canada foresees that the population of seniors in 2036 will be about 200,000 – 250,000 across Canada.

This means that the healthcare sector must keep up with the rise of senior population to provide appropriate services.

However, as it is today, there is a shortage of medical practitioners and hospital beds capacity that result to patients’ long waiting time. There are many sectors that deliver health services such as home care service organizations, hospitals, primary care service organizations and other community support services (CSS) organizations, but they are often siloed.

The CSS is as equally critical component of the health service sector as the hospitals. The services that the sector provides, through not-for-profit and private organizations, are considered social services such that they extend care and connect to the core of the patient emotionally, mentally and psychologically.

Services such as friendly visiting, telephone assurance program, care for the caregiver, meal delivery services, adult day program, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, foot care, respite care are some of the many social services that the CSS provide.

The CSS sector plays a significant role in providing holistic services for seniors and those with health-related issues; however, this role is not fully recognized. Because the sector is composed of diverse organizations, it sometimes causes misunderstanding about the sector and its contributions when its services are vital.

A couple of years ago, a senior who lived in a little town called Monkton in North Perth, needed care from the CSS providers. There were CSS in Huron and Perth, but only four provider agencies are available in the senior’s town. The senior had to go to multiple places and retell their story to five different agencies to get the CSS they needed.

In 2016, this story inspired the CSS agencies in Huron Perth region to transform the organizational model, processes and system to provide end-to-end client-centred experience to clients and caregivers. The CSS agencies designed and implemented a model that enables the agencies to share client record through a single point-of-access, centralized client intake – a holistic agency approach in planning integrated care and coordinating services. Client information is shared across multiple agencies through the creation of multi-tenanted client database making intake processes more efficient for the agencies, and elevating patient experience as it eliminates re-telling of story.

Today, besides the improvement for clients and system partners, the CSS network structure is allowing the agency representatives to fully engage to the CSS group. What used to be mere ideas are now collaborated into a structure that is enabled by digital transformation. The implementation of the technology strategy was facilitated by INVORG, a private ICT and innovation partner based in London, ON.

The road to the full transformation of the health services in Ontario is going to be long and winding. It is critical that the journey is not only taken by one sector or group of agencies, rather, it must be a collaborative mission of the entire healthcare sector alongside private companies which are driven to operate business with a purpose to help uplift the community.

Innovation is staying relevant. No matter how small or big a company or sector may be, if the leaders’ ultimate goal is to improve their stakeholders’ experience, a simple idea can become a reality through re-engineered processes. Innovation does not have to be grand; sometimes, all one needs is to put ideas into action which are empowering and enabling the status quo.

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This is a guest post by Joseph Edward, CEO of Invorg. INVORG is an Innovation consulting company based in London. It is driven by its passion to help organizations innovate through digital transformation. To know more about INVORG, visit www.invorg.com .

Music for Innovation

Music for InnovationThere is a growing body of research that is dedicated to analyzing what kind of music makes an employee work more efficiently, joyfully, or precisely. Here are a few interesting working theories for music in the workplace.

Music can help in task efficiency. One study found that if you’re completing repetitive tasks, listening to music will make an employee perform their task faster than a counterpart without music.

Ambient noise can help improve creativity. But be carefu! If you listen to that noise (music or otherwise) at too high a volume, the creativity level begins to drop back down.

Introverts and extroverts have different responses. Introverts prefer the clarity of silence when they’re working, whereas extroverts like to have some music on in the background.

Happy music is better for teams. When researchers played happy songs (like “Yellow Submarine”) members of teams were more likely to perform activities that contributed to the good of the team (as opposed to their behaviors when they were listening to more aggressive or less well known songs).

At IdeaScale, almost all of us listen to music throughout the workday. We all have our pet theories: Joby swears by drone metal to really dig into a bit project while I appreciate lyricless, but optimistic electronic music. Rob just knows everything about The Boss.

Well, one of our innovation strategists, Whitney Bernstein, took some time to crowdsource an “Innovation Playlist.” She asked our customers, our partners, and us to share music that we like when we’re trying to be creative and she created “Workshop Tunes.” The thing that’s particularly fun about this crowdsourced list is that there’s something for everyone. There’s no study to prove whether or not it’ll help you be more innovative, but you might take a tour through innovative personalities and their music tastes all the same. You can find the playlist on Spotify, listen to it, and tell us what you think.

What sort of music do you listen to when you’re innovating?

Make Employee Engagement Part of Your Innovation Strategy

Innovation starts with teamwork.

Core to any organization is the people that join it. This is as true of the workplace as anywhere else: Who works for your company often defines it. However, a surprising number of employees don’t feel engaged or interested in their workplace. It’s estimated 70% of the workforce is doing little more than punching a clock, and they don’t particularly care who’s looking at that clock. Employee engagement and excitement can make the difference between an industry leader and an also-ran, and often your innovation strategy is the key to exciting your employees.

Respect Is A Two-Way Street

Employees often don’t engage in a workplace because they believe their company thinks of them as disposable cogs and what they do doesn’t matter. From the beginning of history, people have felt that the organizations they labor for don’t care about them. Worse, employees can often feel that nothing they do truly has an impact. They do the work, they file the report, and then get asked to do it all over again with a different set of data, with no sense of what they achieved.

Part of this is purely an institutional problem, and it’s not limited to the workplace. You find these same concerns in schools among children, from voters when their government feels slow or non-reactive, and so on. Anything that is a structure involving a large group of people is going to struggle to feel personal, and similarly, if you have lofty goals, it can be hard to see progress towards them. So it’s a question of finding elements within your structure that give employees more ownership of the process and allow them to see and participate in actual progress. This is where your innovation strategy comes in.

Everyone has ideas worth hearing.

Innovation As Wake-Up Call

An innovation strategy open to your employees offers more of a voice in the direction of the company, by sharing and voting on ideas, and clear progress as an idea advances through the various stages. It can even allow employees to constructively vent frustration by suggesting changes to how your company does things; you might notice a few ideas have something to do with how their jobs get done, and how that might be done better. Employees will feel they have a voice and that they’re getting things done.

Just as important, however, is that you’re tapping into a deeper well of stakeholders and ideas. You can build the most brilliant aircraft in the history of aviation, but if you do the metaphorical equivalent of building it in the basement, it’s not going anywhere. With multiple perspectives and ideas from employees across the organization, your innovation strategy will improve both by anticipating potential issues with ideas before they become expensive to deal with, and by gathering ideas from places outside the usual. Often, it’s the idea from somebody who’s looking at the forest that turns out to be the most valuable.

Innovation strategy, at its best, gives your entire workforce a voice and a way to contribute. Feeling heard, that your opinion matters and is needed, is a powerful thing for people, and innovation strategy will ensure everyone at your company has that feeling. To learn more, request a demo.

4 Great Innovations that Started as Employee Ideas

Innovations that Started as an Employee IdeaThe idea for IdeaScale functions on a simple premise: good ideas can come from anywhere. This tenet underpins most of crowdsourcing and all open innovation programs. The idea isn’t new (after all, the very idea of democracy is based on the wisdom of the crowd), but it’s become more and more sophisticated alongside the systems that enable it and more and more powerful as the total population that anyone can reach out to becomes broader and more diverse. So we thought we’d take a moment this week to celebrate four innovations that started as employee ideas. They had the vision to identify a solution, test it and their companies had the foresight to support and implement it.

The Home Depot Bucket Mister. We started out with an example from an IdeaScale community. This product, which combined existing resources was a great new offering that demonstrated stellar results. And if this marketer hadn’t shared their idea in a crowdsourcing community, the product team might never have found it.

Opening an Adjacent Market in the Financial Sector. elMejorTrato.com is a South American financial company who was able to open a totally new line of business when their Engineer Alejandro Trecco realized that customers who were engaging them for a car loan would also be interested in contracting their car insurance through them, as well. They tested the idea in one country and then rolled it out across the rest of their company. That suggestion created an additional line of revenue over $21.5M.

A Credit Offering for SMBsFundbox is an artificial intelligence company that uses machine learning in order to assess the creditworthiness of small businesses and in the world of small business serving other businesses (what we call SMB2B) there isn’t an easy way to purchase products or services in the same way that consumers can easily utilize credit cards. So Ophir Horowitz developed a test plug-in that would bring Fundbox’s credit services to the SMB2B customer’s point of need which happens inside of SaaS accounting, payroll, inventory management, logistics, etc applications. The product was called Fundbox Fuse. 

A New Website Hosting Solution. Vendasta Technologies is a SaaS company and their new product, WebsitePro emerged during a hackathon in 2016. For years, the executives had talked about websites as a core part of any business’s online strategy, yet did not offer a website solution for our partners to resell. Then two Senior Developers at the time) decided to prototype a horizontally scalable WordPress hosting system built on top of Google’s Kubernetes Engine and CloudSQL products. After launching the completed project in October, the solution is already seeing some of the best client retention rates, with an 80% retention rate after 10 months.

Now it’s time to hear from you: what ideas started out from a random employee suggestion and delivered real value?

The Impact of Stress on Innovation

Impact of Stress on InnovationStress is something that affects all of us at some point in our lives. Although some amount of stress is unavoidable, businesses need to recognize the importance of creating as stress-free a working environment as possible in order to support innovation. After all, a stressed workforce can greatly impact innovation; causing employees to miss work and lack motivation when it comes to devising and implementing new ideas. You need to be able to create a workspace that boosts employee morale and combats signs of stress all of which will actively foster innovation.

How does stress affect employees?

Stress is a normal physical response that we have to events which make us feel threatened, upset or anxious. When our bodies sense any type of real or perceived danger then our ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered and the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are sent surging through our bodies. The end result is a pounding heart, tense muscles, elevated blood pressure and shortness of breath. Can you imagine trying to come up with innovative ideas whilst experiencing all of these symptoms?

When the issues causing these reactions aren’t resolved chronic stress occurs. An increasing epidemic in our modern world, chronic stress has rocked the productivity of workforces over the past few years. In fact, one Natural Green Secrets article revealed that 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are related to conditions caused by stress. Moreover, a separate Health and Safety Executive article highlighted how 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/2017. In order for companies to continue developing innovative ideas, this stress epidemic should not be underestimated.

Solutions for reducing stress within your business

Supporting innovation requires businesses to implement proactive measures that prevent their employees from becoming so stressed in the first place. By doing so you can ensure your workforce feel valued and remain motivated to produce innovative ideas for your organization.

Stress can arise as the result of one major event or the culmination of a series of seemingly insignificant incidents. External causes of stress among employees can include feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, whilst internal causes of stress can include chronic worry, a feeling of inflexibility in thought processes as well as a repressed anger or resentment towards certain aspects of their work.

Businesses need to recognise the how these underlying feelings can stifle creativity; leaving employees feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. Innovation can never flourish in this environment. One of the main sources stress among a workforce is a seemingly insurmountable workload. When your employees feel that their list of daily tasks is steadily increasing without having access to any additional support it is only inevitable that they will become stressed.

Fortunately there is a solution to these stress triggers. Providing your employees with easy access to helpful resources which improve their work experiences will help them to remain engaged with their company and create innovative ideas. For instance, at IdeaScale we have created a unique idea management platform that utilises crowdsourcing. Through this system your employees can efficiently pose ideas to an engaged community of prospective consumers who vote and comment upon the effectiveness of their ideas. Not only does this platform reduce employee workload but it also grants them the satisfaction of receiving direct feedback on their ideas. This collaborative processes enables your employees to evaluate, improve and hone in on specific ideas which will be best suited for your company.

The end result of idea management platforms on employee stress is impressive. Having access to this centrally managed system permits employees to manage multiple campaigns, measure the impact and outcome of innovation activities, and receive one-to-one training support from experts. This technology enables employees to collaborate on ideas easily; communicating with other departments in a hassle-free manner. Employees can also gather any essential data they need without stress, receive helpful support on areas of interest, and contribute their own ideas via a multimedia platform that is open, receptive and adaptive to their needs.

Seeing your ideas at work can be an incredibly rewarding process, so much so that  studies have shown that actively engaged employees outperform their counterparts by 202%. Equipping your company with such software enables you to foster innovation among your workforce without the stress of miscommunication. As well as reducing the onset of stress, these initiatives actively boost employee morale by giving them a chance to contribute ideas and receive feedback which makes them feel valued as an individual. As a matter of fact, 93% of employees surveyed in a Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study  stated they want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual.

Ultimately, by equipping your employees with helpful resources and additional support, you can help to combat the causes of stress and nurture a working environment that actively encourages and rewards innovation. Recognizing the impact of stress on innovation and tackling it directly enables companies to forge ahead of their competitors and solidify their brand reputation as an organization which cares about the wellbeing of each and every member of its team. If you would like to learn more about the ways in which our idea management platforms can help reduce stress and support innovation then please feel free to contact our IdeaScale team today and to subscribe to our IdeaScale mailing list.

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This is a guest post authored by Amber Tanya, a writer from Kent, England. Miss Tanya has worked as a ghost writer servicing multiple international news and automotive publications. Miss Tanya also holds a First Class Honours degree in English Literature from an esteemed British University. She primarily writes technological, travel and scientific articles but is versatile and enjoys writing across a broad range of other topics. You can contact Miss Tanya at [email protected] Miss Tanya can produce outstanding content upon request and can adapt her writing style to suit the tone of your brand.

The Complex Relationship Between Innovation and Risk

Risk vs. reward can be a hard thing to balance.

All of business, it has been argued, boils down to weighing the likely rewards of a decision against the likely risk. The problem with any innovation strategy is that, at some point, innovation runs into this equation. Any innovation, to some degree, is a risk. It’s just a question of weighing that risk against the reward.

Risk And Innovation

The fundamental problem is that neither risk nor innovation is an objective property. Something that seems an obvious innovation to a forward-thinking executive can seem like a pointless luxury or just an intriguing, but unlikely to pay, side alley to a more conventional one. A business making profit hand over fist isn’t going to want to risk profit, while a business with nothing to lose either way won’t be bothered by one more roll of the dice. Neither of these perceptions is wrong, either; a CEO of a huge, profitable company is probably smart to be more conservative with his risk, considering the jobs that might be lost, while the garage-based side hustle team should swing for the fences.

So, as you work on your innovation strategy, part of that needs to be an assessment of your appetite for risk. Many large companies have been found to keep innovation within a certain fence; they want to see innovation on their product lines, not entirely new product lines arriving. So get a sense of the risk and how much potential reward is truly worth it before you innovate.

If you’re a mouse, why bother? If you’re a human, why wouldn’t you?

Rolling The Dice

The truth is that often risk and innovation balance each other out early on in the process. It’s easy to pitch the idea of building a flying car, but even the most ambitious automaker probably rules that idea out rather quickly. But breakthrough ideas, or even just innovations that might push your company further, or cost a lot of money, do come through. So how do you balance out the risk?

To start with, ask yourself this: Where did the idea come from? If you’ve been developing it because customers keep asking you to fill this specific need, for example, then your innovation has a market. Another way of looking at this is to ask what problem this specific innovation solves for your customers. An idea with a built-in market is far less risk than a blue-sky solution.

Secondly, what’s the needed scale to prove it works? Google is a superb example of this; in any given year, they will pilot thousands of innovations in carefully designed small experiments that are dirt-cheap to run and potentially yield massive dividends. A $50,000 pilot project is a lot more palatable as a risk than a $500 million product launch.

Finally, what are the likely rewards for taking a good risk, and the likely costs of not taking one? Self-driving cars are an excellent example. It’s not clear yet what the market is for the self-driving car. But for the passive safety features self-driving car technology pioneers, like automatic braking and lane assist warnings? The research into a self-driving car pays for itself in that scenario.

Innovation is the lifeblood of any company, but risk is one of its fundamental dangers. A careful balance of the two, and collecting as much knowledge as possible, will help you better innovate and take the big, smart risks when they really matter. To learn more about innovation and risk, join our newsletter.

Four Innovation Lessons We Can Learn from Standard Bank

Innovation starts in the clouds and comes to Earth.

Innovation is particularly important for industries that seemingly move slowly, and that’s particularly true of banking. South Africa’s Standard Bank, which has branches across Africa and is expanding to other markets across the world, is an excellent demonstration of why. Innovation drives everything Standard does, and their particular achievement drew on their internal expertise to reduce the downtimes of their ATMs. Here’s how it happened and the lessons we can learn from it.

Lesson #1: Spot The Right Problems

ATMs are a crucial customer-facing piece of modern banking. But there’s a fairly simple problem Standard had to solve, namely, getting cash and repair teams to ATMs, which see heavy foot traffic from Standard’s customer base. The problem was that the personnel that resupplied the machines with cash often found themselves behind on their route. Too often, Standard customers would swing by the ATM and find it out of cash or in need of repair. This was just one of the problems Standard wanted to deal with, and it’s one its own employees would solve dramatically.

Lesson #2: Innovation Comes From Everyone

It started with Standard creating an internal innovation group called Up Squad. Up Squad drew together five separate groups of employees where business touched the entire range of services and set up an innovation platform that let them easily propose, discuss, and refine ideas. Employees could brainstorm, spot issues other departments might face and have them filtered out before the idea got too far along in the process. When it came to the ATM problem, there was an interesting idea.

Innovation platforms enable creativity.

Lesson #3: Always Refine

The idea started out simply, as employees considered the problem and the reasons it was emerging: Is this something that could be solved with software? After all, shipping companies have route optimization software, couldn’t the same be applied to Standard’s trucks?

From that seed, the ultimate solution was refined out and put to work. Employees determined it was best, for both the safety of the personnel on the route and for Standard’s needs, if that was figured out internally. The route optimization software, given the name ‘Navigator,’ was designed internally and was built to take into account both needed maintenance and cost savings, so that route drivers didn’t have to hit every ATM every single day.

Lesson #4: Innovation Has Knock-On Effects

When Navigator was fully up and running, having been thoroughly tested, everyone could take pride in a job well done. The routes were better chosen, for both the bank and the driver; the data was tracked more precisely, and they’d solved a problem quite neatly. But everyone was surprised as the initial data came in.

It turns out that even the prototype of Navigator, once it was going, reduced the downtime of ATM service centers by at least a fifth and sometimes nearly a quarter. As the team wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen, this was a pleasant surprise. And as Navigator gets more data and is more refined, it’ll just get better, allowing personnel to fix ATMs faster and address service issues more accurately.

When you’re ready to see how innovation platforms can help you apply these lessons, contact us.

The State of Innovation in Healthcare

Innovation in Healthcare

In a recent survey, researchers found that seventy-five percent of hospital executives at a location with 400 or more beds are planning to build an innovation center. According to Gartner, innovation centers can serve many purposes, including building cultural innovation norms in the workplace, providing workspaces for strategic goals, and beyond. But when I read this study, what I took away was the fact that hospital executives are beginning to respond to dramatic shifts in trends and technology in a collateral manner.

You see, perhaps no industry more than the healthcare sector has been impacted by technology changes over the past decade. Which is why global investments in medical and health research and development have grown by more than 13%. Whether we’re looking at the health applications of nanotechnology and CRISPR or just looking at how patients now have access to a wealth of their own digital data, the landscape is fundamentally different than it used to be, so healthcare providers are trying to figure out how to keep up. Here are four areas that we think innovators in the healthcare industry will focus on.

Data. There’s data coming at you from just about every direction these days, which is why every industry is trying to understand how to leverage and manage big data. In healthcare this even more true where data can unlock life-saving information, but also presents unique challenges for privacy and security of particularly sensitive data, both for patient care and for research.

New Technology. My father predicted long ago that he would be treated by nanobots in his lifetime. I don’t know if that prophecy will come true, but I know things like that are definitely on the horizon and healthcare professionals need to be aware of what’s already out there and develop a plan to accommodate those new solutions in their future approach to care.

Patient Access. Everyone at some point in their life will have a healthcare need. How do you distribute those resources around the globe? Will telehealth be the trend that shapes this? Business model innovation? There are numerous ways to start scaling our approach to healthcare around the world.

Cost Savings. People want better care for less money and there’s a lot that healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies can do to become more efficient. Employees often have easy digital solutions for healthcare efficiencies and what seems like a small change, can result in millions of dollars of savings at scale.

To learn more about innovation in the healthcare sector, download our complimentary infographic on the subject.

What We Mean When We Say “Machine Learning”

Our current world is shaped by machines that help us perform certain actions in a more efficient way. We’ve become so used to them that we probably can’t imagine our life without them. They are meant to help us and compliment our work, but some people are intimidated by the increasing impact that they have. How is it possible that 30 years ago we didn’t even have Internet and now we’re testing autonomous vehicles? So in this article we will address a new emerging theme: machine learning and try to answer the question “who learns faster, a machine or an human?”

What we mean when we say “learning”

“Learning” is defined as changing the system´s state to produce an output based on objective functional goals. Basically it is about having a problem, goal or objective, and being able to apply a different behavior than before, in order to achieve it. So in order to achieve our goal, we have to be able to understand success and the factors that influence it.

People can get stuck in the process of learning. They’ll often try the same action over and over, hoping to get different results. Sometimes, however, we meet people with both the willingness and motivation (and that is a key word here) to change and test different actions.

How does a machine learn?

The way machines learn is a buzzword in the current innovation and technology industry. Companies have shared numerous videos and messages surrounding “Machine Learning and Deep Learning.” All of them show us that the methodology that machines use to “learn” is similar to human neurons. But are they actually learning?

Many experts have stated that machine and robots do NOT learn, besides, they simply replicate a task and optimize their performance of that feat. Given a specific task and past experience, a machine can work on it through a complex algorithm and improve on its past performance. But they cannot necessarily “create”

When you learn, you add new tools that you can use and combine in ways different than you did before. And you do that because you have the motivation to do so.

Even though artificial intelligence is able to improve a given task/activity, it will never be able to create the motivation to do it by itself.  It is a human behind the machine that offers it its motivation.

“Computers can outperform humans on certain specialized tasks, such as playing [the game] go or chess, but no computer program today can match human general intelligence,” says Murray Shanahan, Professor of Cognitive Robotics for the Department of Computing at Imperial College in London. “Humans learn to achieve many different types of goals in a huge variety of environments. We don’t yet know how to endow computers with the kind of common sense understanding of the everyday world that underpins human general intelligence, although I’m sure we will succeed in doing this one day.” – TIME

Machine Learning

 

 

As we can see in the picture, all those machine learning beahviors that drive the machine to improve are human-directed. There is no room for “self-motivation” and creation on the machine’s part. They just follow a path and methodologies and perform tasks millions of times faster than humans.

How does a human learn?

Remember when you were young and you were riding your bike all across your neighbourhood? Your parents would be always by your side paying attention to you just in case you were about to fall down. But only after falling down ten times, crying and trying over and over again, did you come to learn yourself without external motivation. Humans learn by mistakes, but machines learn by theory.

Yes, we can read millions and millions of books about how to – insert activity here -, but we will never be able to perform it 100% accurate until we put ourselves in a position of failure. Some people take 1 day to ride that bike perfectly on two wheels, other group may do it in 1 year! But we have to put it into practise in order to achieve and master it.

Redefining learning for a human is very important as well. For a machine, it will only work on it if you give it a task, experience and a goal. Human being have the capacity to learn without a goal. We can perform that task of learning, even if we do not have a clear goal. We do it by the sense of learning/improving and getting better in general. There is a motivation and creativity process on it.

Who learns faster?

Artificial Intelligence has the capacity to store millions of types of data in its system and ccess it even faster and more accurately than a human. However, we do not judge who is the fastest or more able to store data when we gauging someone’s ability to learn.  We ascribe intelligence to someone who is capable of listening, paying attention, analzying data, driving conclusions and the motivation to learn more.

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 David Ayza EneroThis is a guest post authored by David Enero. David Ayza Enero is Marketing Manager at Apiumhub, a software development company specialized in software architecture and web & app development. He has a passion for new technologies and extreme sports with the hobby of writing articles and knowledge sharing about new technologies, methodologies in the innovation sector and their diverse applications.