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Rafael Pires challenges companies to discover the benefits of technological experimentation

Nowadays, technology is a key factor in determining the success of a company. In the corporate world there is a realisation that innovation through technological experimentation must be embraced in order to remain competitive.
The enormous potential that lies ahead for companies prepared to embark on this revolutionary journey was recently highlighted in a session at PIH, which featured keynote speaker Rafael Pires, a software engineer by training who has developed his activity around experimentation. As expected, there were important lessons learnt from the discussion and, for many of those present, this was a starting point for understanding how technological innovation can effectively transform businesses.

Technological Experimentation Is Required

The discussion kicked off by underlining how urgently businesses need to experiment with new technology. Complacency is no longer an option since sectors are always being reshaped by market trends, customer demands, and disruptive technologies. Since stagnation can result in irrelevance, forward-thinking corporations are motivated to try new things and innovate. As a curiosity, Rafael shared that the average age of S&P 500 index companies has decreased to <20 years. Since the 2000s, more than half of the companies in this index have been bought out or ceased to exist. This data should make us reflect on a company’s ability to innovate and thus remain relevant and sustainable.

Creating an Experimentation Culture

The relevance of building a culture that supports experimenting was one of the session’s main themes. Corporate entities have to encourage an environment where failure is welcomed as a chance to develop and learn if they are to harness the force of invention. Employees are more likely to think outside the box, investigate fresh ideas, and take calculated risks in a setting that promotes experimentation.

Driving Adaptability and Agility

Corporate organisations can become more agile and adaptable in a world that is changing quickly thanks to technological experimentation. Businesses may react quickly to changes in the market, client needs, and new opportunities by continuously experimenting with new technology and methods. This adaptability not only aids in survival but also creates opportunities to gain a competitive advantage.

Corporate innovation mechanisms

There is not just one mechanism to serve all purposes. Depending on the objectives, we should choose the mechanisms that best help us achieve them. These are as diverse as: dedicated teams, experimentation teams, intrapreneurship programme, shared resources logic, hackathons or open competitions that call on external parties to present solutions to a given problem, accelerators or incubators, acquisition of startups, among others.

Encouraging Cross-Functional Collaboration

Rafael Pires emphasised the need for cross-departmental and cross-team cooperation to conduct successful technological experiments. To ensure cross-functional cooperation and knowledge sharing, siloed thinking must be discouraged. Together, distinct minds can discover unusual solutions that might not have been clear to separate units.

A Strategy to Use New Technologies

Emerging technologies have a huge potential to positively impact businesses. The presentation clarified how businesses may use these cutting-edge solutions to streamline operations, improve client experiences, and develop fresh business strategies. But to get there, a strategy shall be draw and three questions must be placed:

  • What is the purpose?
  • What is the process?
  • What is the intended result?

Real-World Tale

Inspiring success tales from businesses who embraced technological experimentation and realised considerable benefits were presented throughout the event, being ITLabs (Sonae MC), Rafael’s current project, one of these tales. These success stories inspired the audience by showing them that innovation is possible and that the effort is worthwhile.

In conclusion, Rafael stressed that for companies looking for long-term growth and relevance in the digital age, embracing innovation through experimenting is now a requirement rather than an option. This implies a previous work to know how to embrace innovation, which can be achieved by investing in training, ideation, design thinking, among others.

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