What I’ve Learned About Fostering Technological Innovation
(And what I’m excited for in 2020)
Some things never change. I’ve been a tinkerer since I was young (I first taught myself basic programming so I could get more out of my Commodore 64) – and one of my latest hobbies involves building a robot at home using the Android OS. While that part of myself has been consistent, change is what drives me, particularly in my career in technology. Today, innovating is what I love about my job. When I made the decision to join InComm, I was drawn in by the idea of working with founder Brooks Smith – talking with him offers a glimpse into the mind of a true innovator, someone who sees where commerce and technology are merging and is always building a road map for InComm to get there.
One of the great things about working at an innovative company is you never stop learning. Aside from the high-level technical expertise, some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career are more introspective and broader – but no less important.
Don’t be afraid to fail gracefully
You can’t innovate if you expect a 100% success rate. Trial-and-error are part of the process; taking an idea from birth to commercialization unveils a host of unforeseen challenges, some of which may even prove insurmountable. That’s fine. You learn more from failure than success. As long as you’re applying those lessons and keeping them in mind as you face your next obstacle, failure is a positive – it can help keep you humble, keep you focused, and teach you more than success alone ever will.
Stay perpetually optimistic
This one goes hand in hand with getting over the fear of failure, but attitude matters – both for you and those around you. Anything I do at InComm, I treat as if I’m carrying the torch for the organization. I’m not just hoping for the best, but striving for it, and challenging myself along the way. I set three or four goals for myself every day. If I hit one, I consider it a good day. They key is to keep reaching – and keep believing in what you’re doing.
Listen to new perspectives
No one has all the answers. As a leader, it’s important to make sure everyone feels heard. All inventions and innovations start as ideas, and those ideas doesn’t necessarily come from the top. I surround myself with people who challenge me, and I encourage people on my team to broaden their horizons – and their careers – whenever possible. The entire organization should have a voice, and independent visions should have a pathway to success. Collaboration yields the best results.
Success is in adoption
At the end of the day, results still matter. It seems obvious, but sometimes this principle only becomes clear after the fact. It’s easy to get distracted by the sheer capabilities of an emerging technology, but figuring out how to capture a new technology in a way that will readily benefit consumers (and that they’ll feel comfortable trying out in the first place) is an obstacle that should be confronted very early in the build-out process.
That’s why being customer-centric is imperative. In global commerce, there are many types of consumers facing many kinds of challenges, and any good solution takes this range of situations into account. Financial inclusion is a focus of ours right now – and our approach should always be to understand the range of consumers with issues and challenges we can solve for.
Pause and step back
It’s really easy to get caught up in the daily minutiae. We’re busy people with lots of responsibilities, and surprises come up all the time, too. When you compartmentalize projects, you can lose sight of the full vision, preventing valuable realizations from sprouting and flourishing. I’ve gained so much insight by taking advantage of pauses – big ones or small ones – and making sure to look at the whole picture with fresh eyes. Clarity is powerful, and giving yourself a moment to reflect is well worth it in the long run.
What’s on Tap for the New Year?
I’m beyond excited for 2020. Technologies such as blockchain and augmented reality are becoming feasible for commercial adoption, while the capabilities of artificial intelligence and personification technology and other once-futuristic concepts are being realistically explored.
InComm? We’re prepping for the future right now. We have an announcement coming early in 2020 that will pave the way for innovation and broaden InComm’s reach into emerging tech spaces. I’m proud to be helping guide our team as we explore new directions under Brooks Smith’s innovative charge. Every day I experience that same captivation with technology and urge to explore and understand further that I developed as a child. I feel like I have the best job in the world … I spend every day building out technology, working alongside some of the best and brightest in the FinTech community.
Check back with us on February 11th (and follow InComm on LinkedIn) to hear the latest details about our newest venture. If you want to know more about our innovative history. or the products and solutions we currently offer for a wide range of industries, visit us at InComm.com.