Innovating with the Unknown – Blockchain

I love how Blockchain experts paint the future: all of ‘us’ will be Blockchain-ed in some capacity and all physical elements, currencies, services, and even energy will be traded, shared, or tracked using Blockchain. Even our movements today can be made more secure with a Blockchain footprint. All material assets, from money to stocks to diamonds to art, will also be on Blockchains. Energy will be tracked, distributed, and traded via a Blockchain.  Everyone will benefit from the transparency of the new universe if we move to this immutable form of managing data.

I buy into this vision and endorse it. 

However, when someone asks me to demonstrate value through Blockchain, I often have few success stories or solutions to share or offer. The truth is that it is okay to say, “I don’t know.” And, I say that often.

For innovators, the value of Blockchain or other emerging technologies lies in the ability to unleash new possibilities, and not define a clear cut formula.   

I believe the practical approach is perhaps adopting Blockchain as a technical capability now in order to find success with the technology later. In some ways this is analogous to what we do with Machine Learning (ML). We engage in several ML projects because we know that eventually, with enough data and time, Machine Learning will deliver deep insights and foresights even though today’s projects may seem like glorified pattern-finding exercises.

Emerging technologies will have a profound and life-changing impact on the future of certain businesses. By involving people with little knowledge of Blockchain but deep subject matter expertise in other areas of business, we can find ways to unlock new opportunities and find value. Experimenting is key. Right now, Blockchain is siloed and yet it is a powerful technology looking for business solutions.  Those with the answers to its business value and capabilities need a way to understand and practice with emerging technologies. 

Developing a decentralized model for advancing technical capabilities – where everyone across an organization has access to technologies and experiments – may speed up adoption and value realization of these new technologies. As we continue to hunt for the best use cases, we are committed to helping our clients develop technology capabilities that deliver business value.  Waiting for these technologies to mature, may make catching up impossible – allowing others to secure the competitive advantage. 

Rakhee Das

Innovation Practice Leader at Sirius Solutions, LLLP