By Andy Pandharikar, CEO and Founder of Commerce.AI, powering product innovation with the largest product data platform.
What is an innovator? Is it someone who creates new ideas? Someone who turns ideas into reality? An innovator is someone who can do both.
Steve Jobs, for instance, was an innovator with a vision. He used the power of his company to create new products that no one had ever seen before.
Ford is another example of a company that has always been thinking of ways to innovate. From the invention of the assembly line to the Model T, Henry Ford always found ways to innovate and revolutionize the automotive industry.
More recently, Susan Wojcicki initially contributed to the development of Google Images and AdSense and is now the CEO of YouTube. Today, YouTube has 2 billion monthly users and is worth an estimated $90 billion.
Another powerful example of innovation is found in the work of Elon Musk. Musk, who co-founded PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and OpenAI, has been a fountain of innovation in many different fields.
From Ford to Jobs to Musk, when we think of famous innovators, we tend to think of visionary people, not of AI. Nowadays, however, AI can be a powerful tool for coinnovation.
AI As Augmented Innovation
AI is not going to replace visionary innovators, but I believe it will augment them.
AI can help innovators make those leaps of creativity that are too hard to do alone. As the founder of a product innovation firm that specializes in providing data and insights through AI, I believe it will be the next tool in the arsenal of product teams, and it might just be the one that helps them create the next big thing.
Product innovation is one of the top priorities of many leading brands and AI can be useful for product teams, but it is important to remember that humans have skills that AI doesn’t, like creativity, empathy and a sense of humor.
This is what makes AI and humans such a great team. Humans excel at tasks that require a degree of creativity, while AI has the ability to scan billions of data points and provide insights into everything from product and competitive strategy to market research.
Augmented Innovation In Practice
Without market demand, a new product launch will inevitably flop. Data can inform innovators whether their new idea will actually pan out in the real world, and can even be used to generate entirely new ideas, product launches and acquisition strategies, based on the features that users are demanding. After all, coming up with new product ideas without referencing the data is a recipe for disaster.
To give a real-world example, one of our clients analyzes product data in the automotive industry and translates these findings into the prioritization of product improvement and development initiatives.
Ultimately, AI’s insights support human innovators, and human innovators support AI with their creativity, empathy and outside-the-box thinking.
The Future Of Product Innovation
The world is changing at a rapid pace. More and more, it’s clear that tech is everywhere in today’s economy. Netflix, Spotify, Google — all of these companies have been built on the back of the internet.
This new era has also ushered in artificial intelligence and machine learning as ways to power these technologies. Some might even argue that artificial intelligence is the new internet, the next big thing for companies to take advantage of.
The internet, of course, did not replace human creativity or ingenuity — it just made us more productive than ever before. The future of product innovation, therefore, is not either humans or AI. It’s both.
AI is proving to be a powerful tool for coinnovation, but it won’t eliminate the need for raw human creativity, nor should it.