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Where can digital technology unlock growth or drive efficiency?

An interview with Andrea Latino, Innovation Growth Hacker.

Let’s embark together on a Digital Transformation Journey with Andrea, award-winning Digital & Innovation Manager with 10+ years of experience spanning strategy, experience, policy & data within global corporate, institutional, start-up environments and currently the one who leads the digital efforts of Nestlé’s Global Accelerator program.

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Of all the trends, tools, and ideas for the future, which is the one that draws your attention the most now and why? In terms of technology, of course.

The two trends that hold the most promise for enhancing productivity globally – a conversation often confined to academia and policy-making circles, but which should be a primary concern for business leaders for both micro and macro reasons – are the integration of generative AI and no-code technologies. A prime example would be programmatic SEO, where a no-code CMS can accommodate a large number of pages with AI-generated content.

How do you think innovation will help us manage and overcome the recession?

If a recession were to materialize in the coming quarters of 2023 in Europe, it would be a missed opportunity for top management not to use this context to ask: where can digital technology unlock growth or drive efficiency? Generally speaking, companies that enhance areas where European businesses currently lag – such as system integration and comprehensive digital transformation programs – will likely emerge stronger from a potential downturn.

How would you define the characteristics of a truly innovative business these days?

Defining "innovative" is challenging, as it depends on the context. After a decade of consumer-oriented innovation (e.g., delivery, social media), the next wave is likely to focus on deeper, B2B-facing verticals. I also see more "deep tech" being funded, as it aligns with global goals such as decarbonization. In general, businesses that can bridge the gap between rapid technological progress and the slower pace of organizational change will stand out. No easy task, to be sure.

How do you build an innovative mindset to keep up with all progress and changes, regardless of industry?

Cultivating an innovative mindset relies on two factors: having strong fundamentals in place (avoiding daily firefighting due to major issues) and consistently incorporating external insights into the organization. These stimuli can come from various players or even entirely different industries.

If you were to make a top of the most important technologies these days, what would this top look like?

My top pick is Generative AI, due to its immediate relevance. I'm also bullish on integrated Generative AI within existing products or through multi-platform integrations (e.g., GPT-4 plugins). Unlike previous trends ("Metaverse", "Blockchain", "Web3"), the practical implications of these technologies are tangible, immediate, and comprehensible to everyone, offering real business value.

What is the coolest thing you have read lately?

Although I'm not an engineer, I'm captivated by aerospace. I recently read about rotating detonation engines (RDE), which have been elusive for decades but are now feasible thanks to advances in manufacturing and materials. They could potentially play a significant role in our medium to long-range future space missions. What an exciting time to be alive!


"Observe your surroundings and reevaluate your priorities based on fundamental needs."

If you were to give a piece of advice to any business right now, what would that be?

Observe your surroundings and reevaluate your priorities based on fundamental needs. Also, remember that you can't manage what you don't measure. A significant portion of my upcoming Tech Week speech will address Digital Maturity and its assessment, as well as its pervasiveness across all aspects of organizations. I also wrote extensively about it on my website, AndreaLatino.com. Don't underestimate its importance!

See Andreea on the stage at Innovation Summit 2023, talking about what is absolutely essential to succeed in a Digital Transformation. On May 22, he will explain how assessing digital readiness is crucial for establishing a starting point and creating an effective roadmap, and how success hinges on managing stakeholder relations, engaging the board for strategic guidance, and designing incentive frameworks to boost employee morale and encourage innovation.


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