Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney
An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create game-changing products or services. Phil McKinney, retired CTO of HP and the creator, and host of Killer Innovations has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer".

I’m searching for real innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI).  A surfeit of AI products leaves me skeptical. Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but the term appears on countless products.  Even so, some companies do the work of real innovation in AI.

Charting AI Territory

DeviceBits is one such company.  This start-up charts a unique path.  Their AI customer support suite is distinctly real innovation.  AI customer support is new ground and makes a widespread impact.  It brings value to people’s everyday lives.

The Rankled Customer

Who hasn’t reached peak frustration with some new tech product that won’t function?  You seek answers on the internet and through product instructions. Finally, you call customer service.  This heightens the tension. Maybe the customer service agent can’t resolve the issue. Or the agent doesn’t answer the phone quick enough.  At this point, you may do one of the following. 1) vow never to buy that company’s products again. 2) return the faulty item to the store. 3) shelf it until something better arrives on the market.  From the company’s perspective, they lost a customer.

The Catalyst for Real Innovation

This frustration was the catalyst for JC Ramey, DeviceBits CEO.  His previous start-up focused on mobile application development. This was early in the mobile applications market.  The business grew from a basic text messaging app to millions of apps. In a short time, the growth of technology was exponential.

During this tech spurt, JC observed customers - including himself, friends, and family.  People struggled to understand, use and fix these products.  This highlighted an area for improvement: customer support. JC had career experience in tech and telecom.  He’s also a self-described “ultimate consumer.” This gave JC insight from both sides. 

AI Innovation Gets Real

DeviceBits’ customer support solutions integrate AI.  Customer service agents access AI generated knowledge portals.  The portals enable quick response and resolution. Another option is AI assisted self-service.  Customers can resolve issues on their own using this interactive support. These products exemplify real innovation.  They reach beyond incremental improvements.  DeviceBits transforms a critical aspect of business.

The Takeaway

Key lessons JC shares from his experience (big telecom to start-up):

1. Put yourself in the place where things happen.  

  • For JC, this was Silicon Valley.  The move set things in motion for him.

2. Your team is critical.

  • Temperaments and skill sets should complement and sometimes even conflict.
  • To garner respect and bring value, team members should know their swim lane.

[shareable cite="JC Ramey, DeviceBits CEO"]Know your swim lane really, really well. And no matter how brash you may appear, everybody respects the knowledge that you have and what you bring to the organization.[/shareable]

Track DeviceBits at https://www.devicebits.com/

Today’s Killer Innovations podcast begins Season 14.  It’s hard to believe the show has run for thirteen years.  I’m thrilled to propagate the best of the innovation world.  Killer Innovations exists to foster creativity and innovation. This past year welcomed two new resources to stoke the innovation fires. The Killer Innovations mobile studio and The Innovator’s Community. I'm excited about the new season and hope you are too.

Direct download: Real_Innovation_in_Artificial_Intelligence_S14_Ep1.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:57am PDT