The Klydo story

This week we have featured a guest blog written by the fantastic CEO of Klydo, Nick Schweitzer. In this blog he tells the Klydo story. We are all creative, and we must innovate in order to disrupt…

The confidence to innovate

At Klydo, our vision is to create a world where everyone has the confidence to innovate. Psychological and organisational barriers to innovation will be removed and creative ideas will flourish instead of being suppressed for appearing too risky or unfounded. In this world, anyone can create unimagined solutions to the problems that matter most.

We are already giving companies the confidence to innovate for their customers by helping them create new products and services that solve meaningful problems. Next, we’ll help them innovate for themselves, enabling them to construct bold new business models, organisational designs and ways of working. One day, Klydo will give someone the confidence to create an entirely new business from scratch.

This inspires a future where innovation is no longer exclusively the domain of “creative types”. Creative thinking becomes everyone’s most valuable asset, no matter who they are or what their role.

Here’s our story.

Creative destruction is accelerating

The average time that a business spends on the S&P 500 Index continues to fall. In 1960 it was around 60 years, now it is less than 20. This shift is because it’s now easier than ever for anyone to design, build and launch a new product or business to a wide range of customers.

Innovation disrupts the sales of incumbents, creating a cyclical process of creative destruction [2]. Given the sharp rate at which this is increasing, innovation is no longer a nice-to-have. Now every business faces the question: disrupt or be disrupted?

But why is it so hard for businesses to adapt? It comes down to the fact that innovation doesn’t simply mean an extrapolation of the present. Innovation means looking beyond the established way of doing things and having the confidence to disrupt legacy categories, business models and ways of working.

Creative destruction in action [3]

For most organisations, this is very difficult. Their cultural environments and risk appetites are not conducive to this way of thinking. Individuals within these organisations tend to favour cautious decisions driven by experience over bolder, more alternative choices. This may protect the organisation in the short-term but inevitably, over time, disruption will ensue as new entrants appear with the confidence to choose a more creative path.

Every human is creative, we just need to realise it

So, what do these organisations do about it? The default option is to outsource creative ideas to “creative types” in innovation agencies or startups. The higher risk appetites and absence of conventional approaches in these companies allow for greater “creative” freedom. However, it’s not that the employees of these companiesare more creative; the environments within them are simply less constrained.

The reality is that we are all creative.*

Each and every one of us is capable of taking disparate concepts and piecing them together in new and unique ways. At Klydo, we believe that unlocking this creative potential and giving everyone the confidence to innovate is one of the most interesting and important challenges of our time.

*Note that the creativity we are referring to, in the context of innovation, is creative problem solving — the ability to bypass conventional thinking and crystallise elegant new solutions. Although closely linked, this is not to be confused with the more common interpretation of creativity: creative expression (i.e. art, music, literature, comedy, etc.). Try this challenge to see what we mean by creative problem solving:

What’s the fewest number of straight lines that can connect all nine dots without lifting your pen from the paper?

The Nine Dot Problem (See the solution here)

The origin of creative ideas for innovation

Here are three key principles that underpin our theory of innovation and act as a source for creative ideas:

1. Problems matter more than solutions

Customers don’t care about what a product is, they care about what problem it solves. They don’t think in categories or industries, they look for anything that will address a particular need or will get a certain “job” done. Understanding this is a prerequisite for developing differentiated solutions and the secret to re-defining a category or industry.

The theory of Customer Jobs [4]

2. Someone else has solved your problem

Once you’ve identified the problem you’re trying to solve, it’s highly likely that someone else, in some form or another, has already solved it. In particular, companies from a range of different industries are all solving the same or very similar problems. Acquiring this cross-industry perspective is key to avoiding disruption and uncovering unique innovation opportunities.

  • When different industries are solving the same problem. Competition extends beyond your own category or industry to anything that is tackling the same underlying problem or need. A coffee shop might think they are competing with other nearby coffee shops but if the need they are fulfilling is helping people escape a loud office, then they are in fact competing with parks, libraries and even work-from-home days.
  • When different industries are solving similar or analogousproblems. Some of the most innovative solutions have drawn inspiration from completely different domains that, on a conceptual level, are solving the same problem. James Dyson was famously inspired by industrial cyclone towers when designing his bagless vacuum cleaner and George de Mestral looked as far as nature for the idea behind his velcro invention.
The inspiration behind Dyson [5]

3. There’s no such thing as a new idea

The final stage of innovation is the act of re-combining existing ideas into new configurations, giving them the appearance of a “new” idea. For example, Klydo combines the three principles of innovation described in this section with the power and scalability of artificial intelligence (AI).

This mindset is beautifully depicted by the term Kaleidoscope Thinking, a phrase coined by Rosabeth Moss Kanter in 1986:

“In a kaleidoscope, a set of fragments forms a pattern, but it isn’t locked into place. Shake it, twist it, change the angle, change perspective, and the exact same fragments form an entirely new pattern. Reality, the kaleidoscope tells us, is only a temporary arrangement. Creativity consists of rearranging the pieces to create a new reality.”

Our mission is to help people discover these new patterns. In fact, we were so inspired by Kaleidoscope Thinking that we named our company after it.

The inspiration behind Klydo [6]

We can only connect the dots that we collect

Steve Jobs neatly described creativity as “just connecting things”. However, our ability to make new connections is limited by our existing knowledge and past experiences.

This is where AI comes in.

Much of the discussion surrounding AI has been focussed on the automation of repetitive, formulaic tasks which, at best, helps free up our time for more creative thinking. We believe AI can do much more than this. Even though creativity and innovation are too messy and unpredictable to remove people from the process completely, AI can still play a vital role. By collecting a wider array of dots than ever previously considered and helping us connect them in new and unimagined ways, AI can be the key to unlocking our true creative potential.

To help imagine the role of AI in creativity and innovation, we like to draw parallels with creative expression and think of AI as a musical instrument: something you can pick up and play when you want, releasing your latent creativity. By making this instrument widely available, we can give everyone the confidence to innovate, no matter who they are or what their role is within an organisation.

How might we use AI to give people the confidence to innovate?

Klydo was born when we asked ourselves: what if we could use AI to learn from every innovation in the world and use this to create new innovations?

This can be broken down into the three steps below. Steps one and two help identify what is already out there (collecting the dots) and step three helps creates new solutions (connecting the dots):

1. Identify an interesting problem to solve

At the start of any innovation process is the question “where to innovate?” Unfortunately, instead of identifying a consumer problem first, companies too often start with ideas like “we need to build a new mobile banking app” or “let’s launch a new face cream”. Klydo flips this approach. We help uncover the problems people care about, both present and future, before thinking about what the solution might look like. For example, a question you could ask Klydo is “what health problems do people care about right now?”

2. Identify the solutions already tackling the problem

Next, Klydo can help you find and analyse information about every existing innovation which is already tackling a particular problem. For example, you could ask Klydo “what are the emerging solutions aiming to help people sleep better?” Crucially, Klydo is able to explore across categories and even across industries to uncover a broad range of solutions and ideas that you would never know to look for, from sleep clinics to sleep robots. Klydo is then able to quickly visualise how these solutions are trying to solve the problem (e.g. technologies, experiences, ingredients, etc.) and also how effectively they are. This uncovers innovation opportunities and acts as inspiration for your own, more imaginative ideas.

3. Create a better solution to the problem

The final step is to then take advantage of the opportunity identified by developing your own, better solution to the problem. For example, when designing a new value proposition for people who struggle to sleep, you could ask Klydo “how might we help these people sleep better?” Klydo learns from how others have solved, or failed to solve, a similar problem and re-combines the best components of these existing innovations to generate and validate new concepts. This is what gives you the confidence to make bolder and more creative decisions.

Our klydoscopic journey

We’re embarking on an ambitious and incredibly rewarding journey that we’ve only recently, with the advent of new developments in AI, dared to imagine.

Exciting challenges lie ahead — rapid growth, technological breakthroughs, and paradigm shifts in innovation. Guided by our four core values, we’ll meet these challenges with the support and dedication of the incredibly diverse team that we’re building.

Come join us!


Nick Schweitzer is Co-founder and CEO at Klydo, a creative AI startup based in London. We’re hiring! Check out our careers page for more info ?

www.klydo.ai

References

[1] Image from Unsplash by Malcolm Lightbody

[2] Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter

[3] Chart from Richard Foster’s analysis, presented by August

[4] Image from What is Jobs to be Done (JTBD)? by Alan Klement

[5] Image from Not Invented Here by Ramon Vullings and Marc Heleven

[6] Image from vice.com

Nick Schweitzer
Nick Schweitzer

MORE ARTICLES BY Nick

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