Don’t fear automation: 3 ways business builders can embrace it

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

In 2017, I gave a talk on the power of technology to dislocate 80 million jobs from workplace automation and how pharmacists could be displaced by vending machines and how self-driving vehicles could transform transportation, distribution and logistics. I ended my talk with three core engagement principles – committing to long-term creative destruction strategies, leveraging culture building and embracing & leaning into the automation wave. These principles take advantage of the promise and potential of automation versus the “dark side” of automation.

What is the future of innovation and the business world in general? Undoubtedly, automation will play a role. But what might that look like? Here’s a look at three ways the dynamics will likely change:

1. Automation means time savings + speed

Automation is poised to help business builders focus more on the end deliverables. With processes streamlined through technology, companies can dedicate more time to innovation and less on administrative items that can be time sucks. For example, open source is democratizing access to software and making it easier for startups to go further faster. With these systems gaining steam, going from idea to execution will be significantly less time intensive.

2. Virtual work will still leverage place-based options

The Bureau of Labor Statistics identified that up to 24% of U.S. workers conduct some or all of their work from home in 2015  (most current data available) and this number is expected to grow. Companies today more than ever are open to nontraditional work setups. Emerging technologies such as VR virtual conferencing mean it’s only a matter of time before more convenient and customizable options are available for business builders. This means business builders will be able to source talent and capabilities exponentially, but placemaking will still be a catalyst.

3. Faster validation and cheaper sources of capital

The most experienced business builders know that products don’t go to market overnight. The validation process can take months or years. However, as the world gets smaller, feedback is being driven by online crowd-sourced communities like GoFundMe and Kickstarter. This means a business builder can discern whether or not to pursue an idea in a fraction of the time it took a few years ago and the funding required to prove its validity is likely cheaper. What’s more, this means by the time a product is formally introduced, there’s often already a community of support behind it.

Speaking of automation, we are celebrating an exciting development at The NIICThe NIIC is one of 40 organizations from 28 states and two territories to be awarded funding to create and expand cluster-focused commercialization program under the Economic Development Administration (EDA) 2018 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. This includes a three-year, $750,000 grant to The NIIC to form the Indiana Connected Health IoT Lab/Network. Health IoT describes health-related technologies where just about anything can be connected, communicated and used remotely in an intelligent way.

The Lab will soon be looking for interested companies and individuals who want to be a part of this effort to expand their capabilities and grow their customer base and their businesses.

To learn more, support or be part of the Indiana Connected Health IoT Lab/Network, contact Mike Fritsch, Director of Revenue Development & Entrepreneur in Residence at The NIIC, email mfritsch@niic.net or call 260-407-6442.


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