Many business leaders are realising that it is time to move beyond outdated modalities like social business and digital business and also recast what it means to be innovative.
Companies that are still focused on going social or increasing their digital footprint risk falling far behind their competitors. Pitch competitions, lean startup methodologies and hackathons may infuse some energy into organisations, but they are proving to be ephemeral and shallow in their ability to create organisational capability and produce impact.
At EXOscalr, our hypothesis is that corporate intellect mirrors the collective human intellect of a company’s people. By understanding the workings of innovation psychology we can illuminate why there is a major shift under way in how companies operate and what is driving this change.
Cognition covers the set of mental capabilities and processes we use for attention, comprehension, decision making, evaluation, memory, problem solving and reasoning. Our cognition can operate consciously as well as unconsciously, it can be abstract or concrete and may be intuitive or conceptual. We use cognitive processes to transform existing knowledge into new knowledge.
Humans are becoming exponentially more aware, empathetic and empowered. They are increasing their cognitive capability. Neuroscience has shown that the unconscious plays a major role in how we act. Past patterns of behaviour to external situations can be triggered unconsciously. When the unconscious is non-dynamic and maps to outmoded behaviours that may have worked previously this creates a disconnect. The conscious mind knows that a current situation is markedly different from what has happened previously and wants to act a certain way, but the non-dynamic unconscious overrides this thinking and acts autonomously, with disastrous results. Deep therapy is required to uncover and reverse such situations.
It is our thesis that organizations use their collective mirror neuron systems to act in a similar way. The psychology of corporate innovation maps closely to the psychology of humans. Just as we have unconscious and conscious components so to do companies. This is why a company with a non dynamic unconscious can react rapidly, but anachronistically, to changing market circumstances even though its people know at an individual conscious level that this is not the best path forward.
Kodak as a corporation continued to unconsciously respond to new market initiatives much like it had before, even though many of the people working at Kodak could consciously see that digital photography was the future.
Cognitive business speaks to an increased capability for companies to lessen the disconnect between their unconscious and their conscious.
How can you embrace cognitive business?
Companies need to accelerate their adoption not only of algorithms and big data, but of more advanced forms of natural language processing and machine learning.
Collectively, such cognitive systems help to bridge the divide between corporate unconsciousness and consciousness and ensure that the unconscious component is as dynamic as possible.
Cognitive business weaves real time answers to contextualised questions.
These systems are already being used by advanced organisations to provide deeper and nuanced insights that are leading to the formulation of more accurate decision-making. This powerful combination provides companies with the ability to arbitrage market opportunities well before their competitors.
What this means is that when you contact a company it will increasingly know more about you and how you think than ever before. Companies will use these insights to shift from being transactional to interactional – this is at the core of being cognitive, being mindful.
Cognitive business is impacting on all industries. We are even seeing its adoption in that last bastion of conservatism, banking. Research has shown, for example, that only 10% of banks don’t believe that the era of cognitive business will be disruptive in their industry.
At EXOscalr we encourage business leaders to embrace cognitive business and the psychology of innovation to make change happen from the inside.