How to Use Real Time Data to Innovate Quickly

How to Use Real Time Data to Innovate Quickly



As society, technology, and the markets of the world change, so are consumer’s expectations of the products they use and the brands they choose to do business with.

The Information Age hasn’t simply changed the way we do things. It’s changed the way we think.

In fact, there’s evidence that our brains, the very organ we use to think with, has changed.

More importantly for brands today, customer expectations are in a rapidly fluctuating state.

Huffington Post writer Scott Macfarland made this profound observation on the modern customer psyche.

“Consequently, a massive paradigm shift in how business is conducted has paved the way for an environment that desires more and demands more. In the online environment, everyone communicates more, and in more ways, shares more information, creates more content, trashes more, stores more, and buys more of just about everything a human or business could possibly want. Expectations are now rising at alarming rates, and the speed of business is no longer fast enough to keep up with the speed of innovation.”

The speed of business is no longer fast enough to keep up with the speed of innovation.

Macfarland points out that companies “being connected” on a global scale and the “immediacy of real-time data transfer” are big reasons for the uptick in new ideas.

Ideas, research, information, and observations are being uploaded, downloaded, and merged at break-neck speed.

Recent science bears out that new ideas come from the union of two previously known concepts. This means that in a world where more people are connected to each other more than ever before, the rate of idea generation will only increase.

But this doesn’t mean that business innovation is keeping up with rate of new ideas being born.

To be innovative, it’s not enough to collect real-time data. You must take action on that data.

In our connected world, getting real-time data isn’t the problem. Taking action is.

The speed of “business as usual” can’t keep up. Old paradigms and brainstorming methodologies aren’t going to cut it in our current fast-paced economy.

To innovate quickly, you need data that points you in the right direction.

It’s the difference between raw information and business-changing insights.

If you wish to stay ahead of the curve, you must insist that your technology and your team members offer helpful direction, not just data sets, so you can get on to the appropriate next step.

You’ll also need a quick innovation process.

This may entail breaking down some of your old processes to allow for new personnel, new positions, new HR hierarchies, or new workflows.

French national railway company SNCF did this, and they’ve seen massive progress.


In 2010, SNCF knew they were going to lose their monopoly on the European passenger railways market when the EU passed directives that would open the European market to more competition.

They needed to ramp up their innovation process in order to compete with the eager, leaner railway companies ready to steal their marketshare.

Problem was, their R&D division was built on a product development process which lasted five to ten years before the product was ready. They didn’t have five to ten years to wait.

They needed to change the entire SNCF travel experience for their passengers—and quick.

This was about more than technical innovation, it was now about customer service innovation.

SNCF needed to innovate and launch several new services to improve passenger experience within six short months.

They had all the real time data. But they now had to take that information and move forward quickly.


They made two strategic moves.

First, SNCF hired a consulting firm to help them create a business unit called TGVLab within the company that would identify, prioritize, pilot, and validate new customer service ideas that promised high return.

Second, TGVLab adopted an innovation framework much like Silicon Valley startups: “fail early, fail fast, and fail often.”

They’d operate on a shoestring budget. They’d allow the unit to try new things, even if they didn’t work out.

In order to leverage the data they had and keep up with the dramatically shifting expectations of the market, SNCF used “rapid prototyping to design good-enough solutions rather than over-engineered offerings.”

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective… or profitable.

In this new world, your customers expect to be a part of your product development process.

They know you’re collecting information on them and their behaviors. They expect to see changes to the product based on this aggregate data and their direct input.

Today’s consumer would rather see a minimum viable product which will be consistently improved upon rather than a “perfect” product years down the road.

Truth is, by the time you launch your “perfect” product, the market will have changed, and it will no longer be perfect.

Bottom line: Invest in technologies that will collect user data, and then quickly put that data to use in product development. Improve your product and services over time.

Learn More

To know more about Parari’s innovation and technology development services, call us at 757-690-8471 or fill out the contact form on our website.