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Junk the linear thinking. Get ready for Exponential innovation!

Sachin Dabir | Founder & Director, Ashnik
USA, 18 Jul 2017

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How does exponential development happen?

In simple words, exponential development is the increase in number or size of a certain movement, at a constantly growing rate. This progression starts gradually and then boom, it can gather a breakneck momentum. It’s perceived to go from level 0.1 to 0.2 to 0.4 … 2 to 4 and then accelerate to 8, 16, and 32. The developments in the previous years where it went from 0.1 to level 4 seemed fanciful and we might not have taken the pace of this development very seriously. We have experienced some rapid changes around us, yet a lot still looks the same. We, as of today, are at level 4. And are well primed to leap to level 8 and experience a sea change in the world around us. As we get ready to take this big leap and realize how it happened so quickly, we will already be at level 16.

“Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the past 300 years” said Gerd Leonard.

Let’s look at a few patterns:

While many countries are talking about replacing gas based vehicles with electric vehicles in the next 20 – 25 years, a lot of countries are still thinking of it as farfetched event. But it is a reality in many parts of the world today. Merely observing the battery technology, you will notice how it is leapfrogging. Five years back, one could drive 30 miles per charge. A few years back, batteries took us to 80 miles per charge and now the industry is ready with a 300 miles ride per charge. Soon, we would be charging batteries just once a week and then once a year and then may be just once in lifetime. Such is the pace of development.

While we are talking about electric vehicles and watching driverless cars as an experimentation, it is going to be ubiquitous even before we can comprehend. Perhaps, the next generation might not need to learn driving at all! The cars will just do it for you anyway. We also have Hyperloop One becoming a reality sooner than we expected.

Next in line, voice based communication powered by AI on cloud. Think about voice based communication instead of text based ones with your phone and computer. Many of us are already using Siri or Google or Alexa for mundane work – setting an appointment, playing music etc. But things are moving so fast, soon we would be ‘talking’ to gadgets and machines around us. I was quite amazed at Amazon’s Prime Day offer – Customers shopping with a gadget equipped with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant will get access to Prime Day deals in the US, 2 hours before anyone else.

If you think this is just a small step, recognize that we are at level 4 now. What is going to happen at level 8 is certainly beyond our imagination.

Voice enabled actions would change web surfing too. We would simply ‘talk’ to our devices and say, for example, “visit Ashnik’s website”. The intelligent digital assistance would greet you and say “Welcome to Ashnik, what can we do for you? Tell me what you are looking for and we’ll bring it or shall I give you a tour of our website” You may not have to lift a finger to get a dainty piece of information or even a mammoth one. And don’t ride it down as mere science fiction. Most of the science fiction written 50 years back (thinking it would never happen) is already a reality now.

So, if you are thinking Mobile and cloud first as your Digital Transformation initiative, you are late! Think Voice and AI first for everything connected to web. All of these initiatives would be backed by AI powered engines in the cloud. Everything would be in real time.

Another frontier that is going to change our world is 3D printing. While we are watching a few things getting done arbitrarily (from key chains to apartment complexes) we still have not incorporated 3D printing in to our imagination. It is going to be revolutionary. We would be printing anything that is physical – music speakers, tables and chairs etc. We would be going for a cloud based service to enable these devices or adding new features. Say, we might print the speaker at home and go to Bose or Apple to get connected with their music technology. Companies would simply enable those speakers to receive high quality sound and charge it as a service.

So, if you want to prep yourself or your company for the next 5 years, start planning to embrace these areas: AI, 3D printing, Voice based technologies, IoT and Robotics.

There are many more examples that can specified, but I would only like to sensitize you about the fast changing world around us and the changes we need to adapt to – in order to change our thinking and embrace the new us. Because you may not want to wake up one morning and wonder ‘how the world has transformed’.


  • Sachin is veteran in IT industry and brings over 25 years of experience in setting up new businesses, leading high performance sales teams and executing growth strategies. He is passionate about open source and is an acknowledged leader in open source in Asia. As a founder of Ashnik he is leading the growth initiatives and taking Ashnik global. His stints in Asia, UK and USA enables him to bring unique perspective to entrepreneurship and life. His interests in writing, reading and mentoring makes him an excellent networker. Currently he is learning to be a patient father to teenage sons and striving to be a good husband.

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