Balancing Innovation and Safety: The Tepezza Lawsuit’s Implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry

StrategyDriven Innovation Article | Balancing Innovation and Safety: The Tepezza Lawsuit's Implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry

In today’s time, scientific and technological breakthroughs have helped mankind combat the deadliest of diseases and bring relief. The mere onset of an unknown medical condition has the pharmaceutical giants leaving no stone unturned to deliver the antidotes as fast as they can.

However, more often than not, in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition and increase their profits, these pharma companies put human health at risk. 

Take Tepezza as an example. In its initial years, this drug was hailed as a game-changer for patients suffering from a critical condition known as Thyroid Eye Disease or TED.

In recent years, however, several patients have complained about severe hearing issues after using Tepezza. This has raised serious concerns associated with this drug. 

In this blog post, we will shed light on the concerns surrounding Tepezza and what it means for the ever-growing pharmaceutical industry. 

A Detailed Background on Tepezza

Tepezza is a medication developed by Horizon Therapeutics. In January 2020, the FDA approved Tepezza as the inaugural solitary medication tailored to address Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). This condition, a rare autoimmune disorder, triggers inflammation and harm to the muscles and tissues surrounding the eyes.

How Does It Work?

Tepezza is a human monoclonal antibody that targets and inhibits the Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptor (IGF-1R). By inhibiting IGF-1R, Tepezza reduces inflammation and prevents the production of proteins that can cause eye muscle swelling and tissue damage in TED patients. 

This drug is administered via injection, with healthcare providers conducting infusions once every three weeks. Individuals with Thyroid Eye Disease receive a total of eight Tepezza infusions as part of their prescribed treatment regimen. 

Initial Reception and Success

Following its FDA approval, Tepezza gained recognition for its ability to improve the lives of TED patients. Numerous patients experienced swift and substantial enhancements in their symptoms, enabling them to restore their quality of life and resume regular activities.

The success of Tepezza in treating TED led to its swift adoption by eye care professionals and endocrinologists, who praised the drug’s efficacy and its potential to transform the standard of care for TED patients.

Despite its initial success and positive impact on patient outcomes, the emergence of the Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit has raised concerns about the drug’s safety profile and the potential risks associated with its use.

Tepezza Lawsuits: The Legal Landscape 

Tepezza litigation asserts that Horizon Therapeutics neglected to apprise patients of the potential hazards and adverse reactions associated with the medication. This resulted in serious complications, such as hearing impairment and tinnitus.

One of the first Tepezza lawsuits was filed by Daniel Weibel in August 2022. As per his statement, the pharmaceutical manufacturer was aware or should have been aware that Tepezza, when utilized as directed and intended, induces detrimental hearing impairment and other manifestations, notably tinnitus. 

According to TorHoerman Law, the Tepezza Litigation is currently advancing, with 74 lawsuits consolidated under MDL 3079. These legal proceedings center on marketing, sales practices, and product liability matters concerning the drug. 

However, the number of plaintiffs is expected to grow as more patients become aware of the potential link between Tepezza and hearing loss. Horizon Therapeutics has denied the allegations made in the Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit. 

The company maintains that Tepezza is a safe and effective treatment for Thyroid Eye Disease. It was only in July 2023 that Horizon updated the drug label for Tepezza with a new warning regarding potential hearing impairment, including hearing loss. 

Balancing Innovation and Safety

The pharmaceutical sector is vital for creating innovative therapies that meet medical gaps and enhance patient well-being. However, the pursuit of innovation must be balanced with the equally important responsibility of ensuring patient safety. 

The Importance of Pharmaceutical Innovation

Pharmaceutical innovation is essential for addressing unmet medical needs and improving patient outcomes and quality of life. Researchers and drug developers work tirelessly to identify new therapeutic targets, design novel compounds, and develop groundbreaking treatments that can alleviate suffering and extend lives. 

The Need for Robust Safety Measures

While innovation is crucial, it must be accompanied by robust safety measures to protect patients from potential harm. Rigorous clinical trials and post-market surveillance are essential for identifying and characterizing the risks and side effects associated with new drugs. 

Pharmaceutical companies need to conduct extensive testing and monitoring to confirm that the advantages of their products outweigh any potential risks.

Implications of the Tepezza Lawsuit for the Pharmaceutical Industry

The lawsuit regarding Tepezza’s association with hearing loss carries substantial consequences for the pharmaceutical sector. It has heightened public awareness and concern about drug safety, potentially leading to increased scrutiny from regulators, healthcare providers, and patients. This may result in more extensive safety testing requirements and longer drug development and approval timelines.

The lawsuit underscores the significance of obtaining informed consent. Patients need to be fully informed about the possible risks and benefits of medication to make educated choices regarding their treatment.

Pharmaceutical companies may need to work more closely with healthcare providers to develop effective communication strategies and patient education materials.

Additionally, such a scenario may lead to changes in drug labeling and marketing practices. Companies may need to provide clearer disclosures of potential side effects and risks and adopt a more conservative approach to efficacy and safety claims.

By increasing scrutiny of drug safety, emphasizing informed consent, and promoting transparent labeling and marketing practices, the industry can work to balance the need for innovation with the imperative of patient safety.

Holographic Light Field Displays

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |Holographic Display|Holographic Light Field DisplaysThey say a picture’s worth a thousand words. In 3D displays, it’s worth a million. The new generation of holographic displays creates an astounding effect of depth-of-view and enables the human eye to perceive vivid images unlike any ever seen in a display.

Leapfrogging advances in materials, photonics, optics, and electronics have precipitated a rising demand for 3D display technologies. Similarly, the increased development of 3D games, 3D mobile devices, and 3D movies has stimulated the demand for true 3D displays both in consumer and enterprise applications. The increased demand for enhanced imaging and the adoption of 3D technologies in smartphones, HMD devices, projector devices, and monitors are expected to catapult 3D displays across a new threshold of realism.

According to Market Analysts, the Global 3D displays market is expected to grow by double digits with market size of over $100 billion in the next 5 years. Key players in 3D displays include most of the top display makers in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China in addition to several startup companies with unique technologies.

Several display technologies including LED, OLED, and LCD serve this particular market. Most of the devices built today use LCD while OLED and LED are also being evaluated. Driving the 3D display market will be the jump in 3D video content and the continued escalation of Internet bandwidth. Also propelling things forward will be how quickly the entertainment and gaming industry will embrace 3D displays.

The new breed of 3D displays will be fully exploited by entertainment, advertising, telecom, and broadcast industries. The higher cost of 3D display technology and the availability of content continue to bottleneck the growth in this industry but it’s changing and changing fast. Advances in 3D display technology present enormous opportunities in many areas. Demand will be initially robust in consumer, gaming, and entertainment, with applications increasing in standalone devices, smartphones, and tablets.

A Feast for the Eyes

At the COEX K-Pop Plaza at Samsung Station in Seoul, South Korea, one can witness an amazing 3D display. Drawing huge nightly crowds, an eye-popping giant wave moves with breathtaking realism across a massive 3D LED screen. Even when you experience the effect via an amateur video, it’s hard to believe the image is not really water sloshing around a giant tank—regardless of where it’s viewed.

Similarly, in October 2020, a 3D Star Trek spacecraft came to life on a giant LED screen in Chengdu in the Chinese province of Sichuan. The spacecraft appeared to be sliding right out of the display with astounding realism. The technology demo instantly made headlines worldwide – drawing over 320 million views, including Star Trek fans that rushed in for the ultimate visual experience. The 3D LED display boasts an 8K resolution and a 1,000 square meter area. This combined with a 450 square meter ultra-high-definition screen on the side make up the “dual screens” for the display. The screens are linked by 90° seamless corner-module technology, a high-brightness wide-angle display panel, with high-contrast.

Latest Trends in 3D LED displays

Today’s 3D LED displays typically employ high-refresh, high- grayscale, high dynamic content, and smooth transitions between curved surfaces and corners with playback servers connected to a high-end graphics workstation and a multi-graphics capability. In playing the contents on the 3D screen, the main perspective chosen is designed to dovetail with the display model’s perspective relationship. The high resolution, high bright display with curated content ensures a realistic 3D effect.

Display Technologies That Enable The Trend

The technology behind these advanced 3D displays involves looking at videos with a depth perspective. These next-generation 3D systems are no longer “contained” in a box. They can seemingly project in front of and behind the physical display, so you will likely attempt to touch these images or step back. Until now, holographic displays needed powerful gaming laptops to run even the simplest holographic media. But new holographic software can run high-definition media content.

Looking Glass Factory in New York/Hong Kong, offers display products that have been used in enterprise settings and their latest offering allow phone and professional cameras to capture realistic holograms. Their HoloPlay Studio automatically converts the depth from Portrait mode photos into dozens of perspectives to create a realistic hologram. The Portrait mode photos on newer mobile devices typically have some depth information, which is normally used to generate a bokeh effect. Looking Glass Portrait software uses this depth of information to generate three-dimensional holograms. The display works by generating 45 to 100 views of a three-dimensional scene and projecting those perspectives simultaneously into the real world. Unlike earlier 3D displays, multiple users can gather around a Looking Glass Portrait to see multiple perspectives of a three-dimensional scene without 3D glasses. When looking at the image, your eyes are exposed to millions of rays of light. These reproduce captured content from the real world or play back 3D synthetic content in the most realistic way. Unlike previous 3D technologies, which can sometimes cause nausea and discomfort, this technology produces a comfortable viewing experience albeit it’s a recent development and products have just started shipping.

There are other approaches to presenting three-dimensional images instantly. Some displays are fitted with precision lenticular lenses that present different images for each eye. Unlike 3D films made for the cinema or stereoscopic televisions operating with glasses, such 3D displays require proprietary content combining as many as eight discrete images. Viewers may stand freely in front of the display and move sideways to enjoy the 3D scene from slightly different angles. These displays show broad scenes with interesting pop-out and depth effects. They can embrace a global depth span in and out of the display equal to its width, and occasionally show much broader scenes when content is well suited. The displays can be viewed in good conditions by an audience of up to 50 people spread over an area of 90°, providing viewing distances are respected. A narrow transition zone where the 3D effect seems blurred occurs every 50 cm, but a slight step aside returns the viewer to the sweet spot.

Another technique uses a unique eye-sensing technology that constantly senses the position of your eyes and delivers a bright, clear 3D image to each one. A proprietary high-speed sensor follows your eye’s movement down to the millisecond, sensing pupil position through space on all three axes: vertical, horizontal, and even depth. A micro-optical lens is positioned precisely over the LCD. This lens divides the image into the left and right eyes, allowing for stereoscopic viewing with just the naked eye. The content extends deep within the display from any viewing angle. Moving around – up or down, side to side – creates the sensation that you’re interacting with the content in front of you. An algorithm processes real-time content for each eye without lag, allowing the 3D world to appear as smooth as in real life, even if you move around.

One company uses a miniaturized Light Field Projector Module (LFPM). This approach employs surface acoustic wave (SAW) optical modulators mounted on a printed circuit board and illuminated with precise fiber-optic arrays. Here, LFPMs are stacked to make an electroholographic light field projector that presents a 3D image without glasses when it is integrated into a TV, computer, or other display. The modular LFPMs raise the bar in compact, tile-able holographic video with the promise of depth and field of view. LFPM can be used in systems with the area of a postage stamp or tiled into mobile, desktop, or wall-sized holographic image projectors. That miniaturization is ideal for companies eager to reduce the size and weight of 3D displays.

Volumetric Video Displays

Volumetric displays present 3D information in real 3D space. These can realistically display 3D models, topographical data, volumetric video, 3D video game content, and medical data – in three dimensions. They literally project 3D data into 3D volumes of space. The displays employ several techniques, such as LED arrays, novel projection mapping, moving (swept or spun) LEDs or projection media, or laser-generated plasma. Many people can see volumetric displays, simultaneously.

Volumetric displays project points of an image to specific loci in a physical volume of space. There, they appear either on an actual surface or in aerial images forming distinct depth planes. With the former, a light-reflecting medium either occupies the volume permanently or sweeps it out periodically. With the latter, aerial images are created in free space, which are perceived as cross-sections of a scene stacked one behind the other (multiplanar display).

There are already a dozen volumetric capture studios operating around the world that work by pointing dozens, even hundreds of cameras at a group on vast stages. Volumetric content captured in studios like 4DViews, Microsoft Reality Capture, Mantis Vision, Intel Studios and Metastage can now be displayed as three-dimensional moving images—setting the stage for the next phase of the moving images.

The new breed of holographic systems works with a wide variety of peripherals in Desktop mode, allowing for sophisticated interaction with holograms. This includes VR controllers, various sensors for environmental inputs, tactile feedback systems, as well as hand-sensing devices.

Practical Applications

The new generation of 3D displays offers a vast repertoire of applications designed to enhance the performance of anyone working or playing in 3D. The sky’s literally the limit when it comes to what users will be able to do with this exciting new dimension.

Artists/Photographers – 3D displays bring models and renderings to life. Artists can create virtual galleries and portfolios that can be shared worldwide. Models and paintings can be textured on 3D displays creating vivid, lifelike presentations.

Engineers/Designers/Architects – Engineers and designers in virtually every field, as well as interior designers and architects, will appreciate the realism and detailed spatial relationships 3D displays provide. Architects can get a “helicopter view” of a building or site to show the overall layout and how elements work together.

Military – The global drone market is already in the billions of dollars and is expected to grow through the next decade. Military leaders will need 3D technologies as they move drone and robotic technologies onto the front lines. Next-generation 3D monitors allow operators to see topographies and military unit deployments in greater detail–on land, underwater, or in the air. Navy commanders are already investing in unmanned underwater and surface vessels that can sweep for mines, patrol open oceans, and perform other critical functions.

Simulation and Training – Effective 3D display technology provides a realistic simulation experience and practice training for many types of field operations. Heavy machinery operators can train using 3D simulators before they step onto the job site, significantly reducing injury or damage to equipment. Pilots can employ 3D views to train and simulate flying in various weather conditions.

Gaming Today’s gamers want the most realistic and lifelike experience when playing. Video games are already a $100b+ market. It’s no surprise that 3D technology will be at the forefront of gaming, driving gameplay to new plateaus of realism and immersion.

Cell Phones – With the movie and gaming industries already working on 3D content for cinemas and home, the next logical step is the mobile market. The first products have already begun hitting the market in Asia. While many users might not watch 3D movies on their phones, 3D will be great for on-the-go gaming, and for providing visual cues to spruce up a graphical user interface.

Google Maps – 3D display technology brings a whole new dimension to Google Maps. In vehicles, 3D displays create a more intuitive interaction between driver and vehicle to enhance driving safety, especially for 3D navigation. There are already 3D models of 75 city centers across the world, with structures accurately reproduced with physical location, volume, elevation, and façade color information.

Surveying – Here, 3D displays can be effectively used to show “as-built” surveys of complex facilities, such as processing plants; deformation monitoring of land or structures; surveying hard-to-reach or hazardous areas; construction planning and progress tracking and modeling. With 3D displays, boundaries and other data can be clearly shown, including hydrographic data.

Medical – Armed with realistic 3D displays, doctors can perform surgeries and can see more detail while they operate. Vivid 3D images can help doctors find hidden tumors and better diagnose cancers. These displays will make the leap from traditional two-dimensional cancer screenings (like mammography) to 3D tomosynthesis, 3D ultrasound, and computerized tomography (CT). With 3D tomosynthesis, doctors can pinpoint the size and location of cancer tumors in dense tissue; they can detect abnormalities earlier and better see small tumors because the images are clearer and have greater contrast.

Drug Research – The applications for drug design and biotechnology using 3D displays can be exponential. One new 3D display has a resolution of 100 million volume pixels or “voxels.” Instead of flat square pixels, voxels also have depth. The complete volumetric nature of the display means no special goggles are required to visualize the image. Such powerful 3D displays are ideal for studying protein structure to alter the way drugs and compounds are discovered. Genomic information is transformed into so-called “structural templates” that are used to discover new drugs.

Depth Sensing – 3D depth sensing lets users explore topographies using simple, intuitive gestures and create authentic 3D images on a screen. Users control the experience by tilting, rotating, or making a fist with their hand—a fascinating alternative to touch screens or cumbersome peripheral devices such as joysticks. The new gesture-control technology captures depth information surrounding a user’s movements with unparalleled accuracy and resolution.

3D CAD Modeling – Vivid 3D displays allow designers and modelers to create virtual reality objects with the same properties as an actual physical object—material, weight, size, optical properties, physical properties, etc. This virtual “model” lets designers see how the object will behave in the real world, even before it’s built. Designers can create assemblies of parts to see how they fit together. Or they can test how parts will react to forces applied to them, drop objects to see if they will break, and observe the motion and interaction of moving parts within an assembly. They can also examine how fluids will flow through an assembly and evaluate how assemblies can be manufactured using simulations. Finally, they can render near-perfect images to see how products will look in real life.

Advertising/Marketing Applications – 3D displays will dramatically change digital signage, visual merchandizing in stores and advertising globally. Studies have shown that 3D digital displays are 90% better for brand recognition and presentation and can increase revenue by over 25%. They are far better at grabbing and holding a potential customer’s attention than regular 2D displays. The new breed of 3D displays can be placed in malls, cruise ships, resorts, sports bars, ballparks, car dealerships, phone companies, retail shops, and multiple other venues.


The rising demand for 3D displays will usher in a bold and mind-blowing new era of realism in every facet of our lives. It will make what was once fantasy a reality, challenging the imagination of both workers and dreamers.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Sri PeruvembaSri Peruvemba is CEO of Marketer International Inc., in California. Peruvemba was previously Chief Marketing Officer for E Ink Holdings, where he played a major role in transforming the startup to a $1B+ global company. With over 30 years of experience in the technology industry, Peruvemba has been an influential advocate in the advancement of electronic hardware technologies. He is an acknowledged expert on sensors, electronic displays, haptics, touch screens, electronic materials and related technologies; and consults, writes, and presents on those subjects globally. Peruvemba has also held senior level positions at Sharp Corp, Cambrios, Novasentis, TFS Inc., Planar Systems, and Suntronic Technology. Based in Silicon Valley, Peruvemba advises high tech firms in the U.S., Canada, and Europe as well as serves on the boards of Omniply, Noctiluca, Summit Wireless, and Visionect. He has BS and MBA degrees and a post-graduate diploma in management. Peruvemba is also a right arm off-spinner for a cricket team he co-founded in Silicon Valley.

Designing A Product That Doesn’t Suck

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |Designing a Product|Designing A Product That Doesn’t SuckProduct design as a small business owner has to be one of the most exciting parts of the entrepreneurial process. When you start your own business and you finally get down to creating your product; it brings such a sense of achievement that cannot be replaced.

If you are new to product design and you need some help with the process, we have some ideas for you to help you create a product that is fun and will draw the attention of your customers.

Create a product that doesn’t suck by using these simple tips.

Get input from your team

When designing a product it is important to remember the value of other people. Two heads are better than one; and a whole room of heads is better than two! Make sure when designing a product that you have a meeting with your team and start brainstorming it together. You may find that your team has some amazing ideas you wouldn’t have thought of before and this will likely help you to succeed in a way you couldn’t on your own.

Collaborate with an artist

One of the things that can really help you in terms of product design is a stunning box. When designing your product, consider getting a local artist to help you design a pattern for your box to make it stand out from the rest. This is a trick companies such as Birchbox have done with great success because not only will you get more customers through better design; but as you promote the artist, the artist will also promote your product because it has their design on it. You can even make this into a community event where you have a new artist come and help you every few months. Building a community like this is a clever way to build your audience and sell more of your product – as well as make your product look amazing.

Use recyclable materials

It is so important these days that we consider the environment when making a product and this includes using recycled as recyclable materials. Source materials that are recycled and make a point that your product is made as such. This will draw in an audience who cares for the environment and you will gain support as a result.

Ask for opinions

When stuck between a few designs for a product or looking to create the final design – be sure to ask for opinions before you go ahead. Ask your team, a focus group, and even ask people online via a social media poll. Show people that you value their suggestions and you might get better responses, as well as a better looking product.

Keep it simple

There’s a reason why the Apple logo on a plain white box is so well loved and known the world over. Less is more. Keep your design simple and don’t ever make it too busy that it puts people off buying it.

Use our tips to make a killer product today and squash the competition.

6 Ways Technology Can Help Companies Innovate Out of the Coronavirus Downturn

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |Coronavirus|6 Ways Technology Can Help Companies Innovate Out of the Coronavirus DownturnAs our world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders must understand that it’s going to be technology that determines which companies survive and build success from this unprecedented event.

The current COVID-19 pandemic may be the biggest “unfreezing event” that our economy has ever experienced, certainly since World War II. To turn a block of ice into a new shape you must first unfreeze it, pour the water into a mold, and then refreeze it again. Human habits work much the same way. COVID-19 has forced us all to behave differently—To unfreeze. Our habits will mold into new shapes, habits and routines that may endure once the current crisis has passed. Businesses routines will have to change too. We are entering a new fluid state that will lead to an unprecedented period of innovation and transformation.

Before COVID-19, the world was already on a path to widespread change. In my book, “The Innovation Ultimatum: How Six Strategic Technologies Will Reshape Every Business in the 2020s,” I outline the technologies that will drive unprecedented innovation into products and services in the 2020s, creating entirely new business models. The pandemic makes those technologies more relevant now than ever. These technologies are:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
  2. Blockchain
  3. The Internet of things (IoT)
  4. Augmented reality
  5. Autonomous machines
  6. 5G and satellite networks

While some organizations had begun to embrace these technologies before the pandemic, it’s now critical that business leaders keep moving ahead with innovation efforts as we move into a new normal.

With social distancing, we have already seen new behaviors emerge: Increased use of telemedicine, online food delivery services, video conferencing, and home streaming services.

Online schooling is another example. While there has been some investment in online education by various institutions, that’s going to accelerate rapidly as millions of kids are required to learn from home. Educators are installing digital infrastructure, learning how to use it themselves, figuring out best practices on how to get the most out of the medium, training kids on how to use it, and setting expectations for proper use. Once this investment of time, money, and trust is made, a new normal is created. When the current crisis is over, that investment remains, and the barriers to shifting at least some of the curriculum online are already gone. Where it makes sense, digital education may become a common part of all schooling.

This is a clear example of an acceleration. Education’s shift towards digital was already underway. The constraints placed by pandemic only accelerated the inevitable.

The same applies for telemedicine. Here, the issues holding back the shift are not technological; necessary infrastructure is mostly in place. The barrier slowing roll out before the pandemic was that doctors couldn’t bill as much for their time as for in-person visits to a clinic. Expect this challenge to be addressed quickly, and telemedicine to become a more important component of our healthcare systems in the future.

While it’s premature to determine how the world might be different going forward, it’s not too early to take a few educated guesses. Here are some initial thoughts on how things may be different, and how new technology might play a significant role.

  • Robots don’t get sick. All businesses will make moves to improve business continuity and reduce risk. This may accelerate investment in automation technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, sensors, autonomous vehicles (e.g. for delivery), and blockchain technology. Self-driving delivery trucks and drones don’t carry disease if properly cleaned. Even governance of operations can be encoded into blockchain networks and artificial intelligence.
  • Better supply chains. As part of a broader risk reduction exercise, we will see companies make moves to build more robust supply chains. Expect many measures here, including requirements for multiple sources across multiple countries, some onshoring (especially for critical components and products) and increased levels of transparency and traceability for goods in the supply chain. New provenance chain technology, based on Blockchain technology, can play a big role here. New automation technologies will make onshoring of manufacturing more attractive.
  • More remote workers. Again, to reduce risk, we may see bigger companies move away from large HQ campuses towards many connected, highly distributed sites. More people will work from home offices. This will constitute a balance between risk mitigation and rapid information flow in organizations. The high-speed connectivity of 5G and satellite networks will be crucial to this shift.
  • Social apps. New apps and services will emerge that help people remain social while keeping their distance. Humans are social creatures. Let’s see which company will be first to capture the world’s imagination with a new social game designed to connect far-flung family members of all ages.
  • A new reality. Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) technology will likely get far more use. VR offers a powerful sense of immersion, making you feel like you are transported to another place. At a time when that’s one of the things that we can’t do, people will crave the ability to visit distant places and to feel like they share the same space with family and friends. Avatar technology is improving, as are sensors that capture our movements and even our expressions. As low-cost, high-quality AR headsets become available in the coming few years, there is an incredible opportunity for developers to create new social experiences at a distance. Those could include, for example, an enhanced shopping experience in the home or better collaboration between remote coworkers.
  • A race for broadband. The next several weeks will make the value of a broadband connection crystal clear. Yet, broadband Internet is still not available to half the planet. People in rural areas are particularly disadvantaged. Satellite constellations, built by companies like SpaceX, OneWeb, LeoSAT, Amazon and others, will bring broadband connectivity to every corner of the earth by the end of the decade, much sooner in many locations. This build-out cannot happen quickly enough.

We live in unprecedented times. It’s too early to call how this all plays out, and we should all expect our plans to shift over time as new information becomes available, but every company must begin to think about the new normal and build their business plans accordingly.

The pandemic has proved that in order to survive, every company must become a technology company. Every company must become a data company. Business operations must be retooled using both process automation and worker augmentation.

A construct that I find useful as a futurist is to ask myself several simple questions in the face of a new force of change: What will stop, what will start, what will accelerate, what will decelerate, and what will transform? Think about how answers to these questions will affect your business in the future.

A colleague of mine, former Intel CEO, Craig Barrett, told me back in 2008 that the best way to weather a recession is to invest your way out of it. That way, when the market turns around you can race out of the gate ready to take fullest advantage of the upswing. No company ever saves their way out of a recession. Innovation will be vital to recovery.

For companies that heed Barrett’s advice and choose to innovate their way out of recession, new technology will be key. As we reimagine products, services, channels, companies, and the entire economy for the rest of the 21st century, six strategic technologies—artificial intelligence, the internet of things, Blockchain technology, 5G and satellite networks, autonomous machines, and augmented reality—will each play an important part.

Every company needs to gain a deep understanding of these technologies and how they might be deployed to meet rapidly evolving consumer needs, to create new channels (that enable remote interaction), to automate business processes, to boost business continuity, and to deliver innovative new products and services that fuel economic growth.

The best way to get out of recession is to innovate your way out of it. The sooner we start to think that way, the sooner we can slingshot ourselves out of our current situation.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Steve BrownSteve Brown is an energetic speaker, author, strategist, and advisor with over 30 years of experience in high tech. He is the former futurist and chief evangelist at Intel Corporation and helps others understand the business and societal impacts of new technologies and how they will shape the future five, 10 and 15 years from now. He is the author of The Innovation Ultimatum: How Six Strategic Technologies will Reshape Every Business in the 2020s. Steve holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in Micro-Electronic Systems Engineering from Manchester University. He was born in the U.K. and became a U.S. citizen in 2008. He lives with his wife in Portland, OR.

A Fast – and Brutally Effective – Way to Make Your Organization More Innovative

StrategyDriven Innovation Article | A Fast – and Brutally Effective – Way to Make Your Organization More InnovativeStartups are good at innovation for many reasons, but the two most important ones are people and culture.

They attract people who are looking for a challenge and opt into taking risk in the pursuit of a potential, yet uncertain, upside. The successful ones create a culture that embraces problems as an opportunity to break the rules and find a better way. There are clear incentives to succeed and significant repercussions if you don’t – like losing your job. These organizations are often resource-limited, which creates an incredible focus on only doing what really matters.

They also fail at an incredibly high rate. According to the Startup Genome Project, more than 90 percent of startups fail. If you tried to do something with that failure rate at most established companies, you’d be fired. So what can you do?

One of the solutions that some larger companies have tried is to create an innovative startup within an existing business. This approach hasn’t had much success, as it’s far more complicated to implement than people think. These internal startups strive to be innovative, but tend to become more incremental. They’re limited by the people available to them and the culture of the parent organization.

The good news is that there’s a faster way to get innovation going: Eliminate all the jobs in your company with the title of vice president. This probably seems like a drastic step. But, if you want to innovate, you need to find the right people and create a culture that’s willing to embrace unconventional ideas and is unafraid of change. Keep in mind, culture isn’t defined by words; it’s the embodiment of your actions.

You can’t get serious about innovation until you’ve put these foundational pieces in place.

Substance over form

To get started, take your current organization chart and delete the vice president positions. You’ll still need some people to lead teams and organize work, but call these jobs what they really are: managers. If there’s an overlap between jobs with all the titles removed, it’s a great time to simplify things and get rid of any role that isn’t critical to achieving the goal. Fewer people results in a secondary benefit of smaller teams, which research has shown are much more innovative.

When you tell someone you’re eliminating their title, you’re forcing them to choose to derive their value from the work they do instead of what they’re called. You’re making them choose substance over form. If the title is so important that they can’t or won’t do their job without it, then they’ll get in the way of innovation. If they’re willing to quit over their job title, it’s highly unlikely they’ll embrace the culture required to pursue innovation and drive change. Innovation requires people that care more about what they do than what they’re called and can deal with the brutal truth.

Why target the VPs?

The VP title is a symbol of bureaucracy, which is the enemy of innovation.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a vice president is: “an officer next in rank to a president and usually empowered to serve as president in that officer’s absence or disability.”

That seems like an important role if something happens to the president, but if the U.S. government only needs one, why do companies need so many? They don’t, that’s the point.

It seems illogical that anyone would want the vice president title to begin with. You’re explicitly acknowledging that you’re not trusted to be in charge unless there’s an emergency. If you literally described the title on a business card it would read something like: “John Doe, Not really empowered.”

If someone wants that job, they’re not the right person to be on a team focused on innovation. You can’t have people waiting around to be empowered; they need to be motivated enough to empower themselves. In fact, if you’re going to pursue something that’s never been done before, you need people who are willing to hold themselves accountable for things outside their direct control.

As organizations evolve over time, you’ll likely be recruiting people from larger companies who feel they need titles to do their job. This is a warning sign that they’re not aligned with the innovation culture. You will hear the argument that titles are cheap; they don’t cost anything. But titles are more expensive than you can imagine; they can cost an organization its soul.

Beware of C-level fever

A new enemy in the title game is potentially more problematic than having too many vice presidents. In Russell Fleischer’s article for Fast Company, he talks about a “C-level fever” that’s not only affecting big companies, but startups as well. He points out that if everyone is a chief, no one really is.

Unlike vice presidents, the chief of something implies that someone is in charge, and when it comes to innovation, this can lead to two significant issues. Chiefs tend to like to make decisions, or at least to be consulted on decisions, which slow people down. They also tend to make themselves the focus of their team, when the focus needs to be on solving the next problem and finding the next idea. One of the keys to innovation is optimizing the people doing the work, not those sitting around talking about it. Limit the number of chief titles to those who need to be legally responsible (and potentially liable) for the actions of the company. When people understand that personal liability comes with the title, it tends to be an effective deterrent.

Innovation is hard, but only because we allow ourselves to make it complicated. Simplify your organization chart, find people who don’t need titles to feel empowered, and create a culture that insists on substance over form. You will be much more successful creating solutions to problems that other people believe can’t be solved.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Chuck SwobodaChuck Swoboda is Innovator-in-Residence at Marquette University, President of Cape Point Advisors and retired Chairman and CEO of Cree, Inc. He is co-inventor on more than 25 patents covering LEDs and lighting technology, and has over 30 years of experience in the technology business. Additionally, he is an author, speaker and host of the “Innovators on Tap” podcast. His new book is The Innovator’s Spirit: Discover the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible (Fast Company, May 5, 2020). Learn more at