Insights From the Real World: 3 Days With Telia Norway’s Innovation Lab
Seeking out business leaders I find fascinating has certainly broadened my perspective. I wish to diminish the gap between students and the business sector by sharing my insights, and inspiring students to do the same.
Sticky notes, colors, drawings, whiteboards, and coffee — that was my impression of a “design sprint” after first reading about it. However, after partaking in a sprint with Telia Norway, I can surely add some more words to that list. I was lucky enough to join their innovation team to map out the technologies that will have the greatest impact on us in the future. After three days with a lot of confusing business words, these were some of the lessons I learned:
To start, design sprint is a time-constrained innovation process of five phases. It aims to find answers to critical business questions through design, rapid prototyping and testing ideas with customers. The sprint has its roots in another methodology called design thinking. This is what the CEO of one of the most renowned design companies says about it:
“Design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success”
- Tim Brown
Some of you may have heard all about it, and some of you may not. But let me tell you something fascinating about this methodology: it is actually a superb tool to develop one’s emotional intelligence. This could be perfect for students, and it is something Connie Liu from MIT already has begun to test with her initiative “Project Invent”. Through this, Connie and her team tailor programs to educate high schoolers to impact their communities through invention. And one of the most prioritized subjects is design thinking, and the students love it. This methodology has endless possibilities, maybe you should try it out on your next research project?
Moreover, using the sprint to explore what the future could be like was a terrific educational experience. I might not be a fortune teller (that’s my plan C), but I can now definitely say that these technologies are something you should learn more about:
- The Internet of Things
The concept of connecting physical devices to the Internet, which also enables them to connect to each other and exchange data. This will create opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems. Thus result in efficiency improvements, economic benefits, and reduced human exertions.
- Artificial Intelligence
The concept of programming a machine to study a particular input, and then use the results to constructs data systems that will be able to solve problems and learn from their own experiences.
- Mixed Reality
The merging of the real physical world and the virtual world, to produce visualizations and environments where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
Another term you should familiarize yourself with is GAFA. An acronym for the four companies that pretty much dominate every facet of our lives: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. At the moment, it does not seem that their dominance will decrease in the future. As time goes by, they keep capturing more markets — everything from the phone-market to autonomous vehicles. After our analysis, it seems like a vast amount of companies have to adjust their strategy to GAFA’s future game plan to survive, and this is something they already should start preparing for.
At last, I want to emphasize the crucial role of a particular discipline in the future. It’s not economy, physics or programming, but the true foundation of knowledge: philosophy. When autonomous vehicles start rolling out on our highways and when our dear robot friends start to become more independent, their behavior in specific situations will have to be dependent on a particular ethical model. Is it so more righteous that your autonomous car takes the lives of two mischievous youngsters trying to cross the highway to be able to save you in an accident? or should the car rather maneuver away and drive straight into a tree knowing the airbag cannot save you? Think about that.
For by doing just that, you tap into the real superpower that differentiates us humans from machines. Our ability to reflect, philosophize and feel this sense of moral responsibility will not be replaced in the near future. Maybe it never will. Therefore I don’t see the point of not nurturing our true power to a greater extent in schools, so we can truly make a stand when needed, in a robotized future.