The world is replete with digital game-changing solutions.
Unfortunately, however, the graveyard for technology products — apps, information systems and hardware — is the fastest growing “real estate”.
Why do many veritable digital solutions die before the world can experience them? This is a Rubik cube that many entrepreneurs are unable to solve.
In tech, like in many other fields, word of mouth is one of the best channels to get a product known and adopted.
Users of a product are more likely to positively or negatively influence others, better than any advertisement on any media.
But users are not one uniform group. Broadly speaking, users can be divided into two groups. One group understands and is enthused by technology and is willing to try it if they believe it can solve their problem.
Because this group already has essential tech skills, its learning curve is steep. They, however, interrogate the product assiduously by asking questions.
They stretch the product to see how much stress it can endure.
The other group has little or no digital experience. Its members are hesitant to embrace digital solutions and services.
They see technology as an unwanted disrupter. They need hand-holding to use technology effectively.
They want to pay the lowest price for digital. Should they find a glitch in the product, they are likely to complain the loudest and tell others about the unpleasant experience. But when they are finally on board, they are loyal clients.
These two groups are estimated to be about the same size. A digital innovation becomes sustainable and successful, not necessarily because of its great features, but by the ability to get the product from its creators to these groups.
IT engineers — the men and women who spend sleepless days in the trenches crafting innovations — are great at talking among themselves, figuring out features and fixing bugs, but have not much patience to explain the solutions to those outside their orbit.
Although they are imbued with a passion for their innovation, tech engineers are not good at reaching out of their orbit to enchant the masses about the innovation.
To transcend these groups, we need visionaries. Visionaries see beyond a technology; they see a business goal.
They see a potential for return on investment. They are not cowed by the competition.
They are also people recognised in their industry and beyond. They give the tech innovators the first big break; they are the main determinants of success.
Without the visionaries, even the most robust, world-changing technologies will wither in the hands of their developers.
In a world weltered with digital solutions that can do virtually anything, the role played by visionaries is becoming even more central to the success of digital solutions.
In increasing the odds of digital solutions living up to their calling, visionaries make a world of a difference. Without them, you are buying a ticket to a digital graveyard.
Wambugu is an informatician. Email:[email protected] @samwambugu2