The speed of innovation today is very much a product of the increasing connectedness, not just of individuals, but the networks, applications and content we create and use. In this installment of our “Pragmatic Marketing Goes social” series we are looking at the last gate in the ‘Market’ category and the rapidly evolving task of Technology Assessment.

Yes, yes & yes

The old ‘buy, build or partner’ debate that was still alive and well just a few years ago now seems to be a moot question and false choice. ‘Yes, yes and yes’ is the only real answer for today’s tech innovators and that’s done a number of important and very positive things for innovation. Of course who you elect to partner with is very much a determiner of what you buy and build, and, by extension, what you choose to build may well determine who your partners will be and what needs to be bought.

Build a Better Mousetrap Builder?

As the ecosystems of integrated applications and platforms converge and expand, what used to be a difficult decision now reveals itself in clear and very market defined terms. This also creates instant efficiencies, where, instead of sitting alone in their isolated laboratories trying to build yet another better mousetrap, today’s great innovators may focus solely on say “the automated placement of cheese” or “real-time trap status monitoring”.

Instead of reinventing the mouse trap and incurring the gargantuan cost of telling the world about it, you leverage the massive footprint of a mousetrap.com and their embedded base of (pardon the expression) ‘captive’ customers.

How will this tired old mouse metaphor end? But with a squeak of course!

And a squeek of pure joy at that, as the once grave danger of betting on the wrong technology becomes less and less an issue. As the engines of the industry’s big players from facebook to salesforce roar to life with an army of small value-added partners, a spectrum of opportunities open themselves up. While the secret sauce may no longer be so secret or unattainable, the real competitive edge of one player over another is increasingly about user adoption and market lead time.

Of Mice and Monsters

In this environment innovators MUST innovate to join the party, but will enjoy relative cover from their 800 pound patrons in the big Godzilla v. King Kong battles to come. And in an interesting twist, these contests will be again less and less about proprietary technology and more about the big players’ openness to third party innovators. This is very much already the reality, and it is a dream come true all for those who wish to focus on user experience and delivering value.

All this to say that while Technology Assessment is still a major factor in product management and marketing, the big assessments today are centred more on what’s missing from the major platforms than on what one might need to buy or build it.

Join us next time for more Pragmatic Marketing Goes Social as we enter the savage waters of strategy.

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