Mobile Meets Social: A Perfect Storm for Disruptive Innovation

Scott Snyder
Scott Snyder | Mack Institute Spring Conference 2013

There is a perfect storm for disruption being created by the convergence of mobile, social, and cloud technologies and applications. This was a major theme of the Mack Institute’s Spring Conference on May 30, entitled How Mobile and Social are Transforming Innovation Models: Flipping the Paradigm?

This was the Mack Institute’s first West Coast conference, held at Wharton’s new campus in San Francisco—a popular venue given the strong turnout, which included innovation managers from Amazon, Cisco, Google, Ford, Intel, Nordstrom, and Oracle, in addition to our corporate partners.

Mack Institute Mobile and Social Speakers
Left to Right: Conference Speakers Todd Hewlin, Anand Iyer, Juan-José Juan and Harbir Singh

The conference was organized by Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at the Mack Institute and president and chief strategy officer of Mobiquity, and Professor Harbir Singh, Co-director of the Mack Institute and Mack Professor of Management and Vice Dean of Global Initiatives at the Wharton School.

“It’s all about the user—technology is the enabler,” Snyder said. “Our decisions are being shaped much further ahead of the action, thanks to how efficiently mobile and real-time technologies are informing us.”

Responding to these changes requires a shift in business models from the traditional “CapEx” model to a more innovative new “OpEx” model, according to author and consultant Todd Hewlin, who noted that rapid changes are “rewiring” the tech industry to make everything mostly wireless.

“We’re tapping into our customers’ thoughts, even their dreams, to co-create innovations with our customers,” said Juan-José Juan, Global Head of Enterprise Innovation at Vodafone. “To do this, we’re focusing on global flexibility, usability, smart data, new business models, the interests of end users and everything connected. This becomes a blend of what the company decides you will access, and what the end user wants to access and control.”

“Our mobile application is a drug,” was an intriguing comment by Anand K. Iyer, president and chief operating officer of WellDoc. Dr. Iyer was talking about the company’s pioneering FDA approvals for mobile health monitoring applications, which are reimbursed as a pharmacy benefit similar to prescription drugs. This is a major advance for mobile health applications and business models.

Wharton Operations and Information Management Professor Kartik Hosanagar addressed the West Coast audience from Philadelphia using Cisco’s TelePresence. Prof. Hosanagar described his research on the psychology involved in new social media, including his study to determine what types of company Facebook posts people “like” or “comment on..”

An article summarizing some of the insights from the conference is available, and a detailed conference report is being prepared for our partner network. If you feel your firm would benefit from joining our partner group, you can express your interest using the partner contact form on our website.

This conference was so well received that the Mack Institute will also host next year’s Spring Conference at Wharton’s West Coast campus. The event is scheduled for June 12, 2014.