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Do You Really Need Domain Experts When You are Creating Innovative Solutions?

avathar By Apratim Ghosh
date 3rd June, 2024

Domain expertise

Innovation

The Art of the Possible

Cross-functional teams

Remember the famous Apple tagline – ‘Think Different.’?

Well, it turns out that thinking differently and innovating is still crucial for a company’s survival and success. All disruptive companies – be it Apple, Google, Amazon, or Airbnb are examples of companies that dared to think differently and innovate.

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, fostering a culture of innovation is not just a necessity but a gateway to staying ahead of the curve. It’s an opportunity for companies to think beyond the conventional and meet the ever-changing market demands and customer expectations. 

Companies now expect teams to bring a unique and fresh perspective to the table instead of limiting themselves to cookie-cutter solutions.

This change in expectations has raised an important question on the role of domain experts.

The Role of Domain Experts in Modern Organizations

A domain expert deeply understands an industry, technologies, frameworks, and best practices.

  • They can understand the business needs and challenges and recommend solutions to solve them. For example, a banking domain expert will be well aware of all the processes in a bank and suggest process automation or optimization to improve customer experience. 
  • They can set up workflows or implement new technologies that help companies achieve their business goals. 
  • They leverage their deep business knowledge to choose the right solution for a business problem. For example, they can help companies choose the right cloud service provider that fits their budget and business needs and migrate the workload from on-premise to the cloud.
  • They can provide the most cost-effective and best solution to the company.

They implement solutions and frameworks that they know can improve a company’s productivity and profitability. 

They are a valuable asset to your team if you want solutions to a domain, process, or tool-related problem.

However, the real challenge arises when a problem requires innovative solutions. This applies especially to the current business environment, where technologies, trends, and demands evolve at a breakneck speed or when problems require a fresh perspective. 

Domain experts often resist new ideas that challenge the status quo, become risk averse, and refuse to consider different perspectives that could solve a problem. 

This reluctance to experiment or change perspectives creates a barrier to innovation and prevents companies from launching new products. As a result, companies lose the opportunity to generate more revenue and gain a competitive edge.

The only way to address this problem is to go beyond domain expertise and promote innovative thinking.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Encourage cross-pollination of ideas

Since domain experts are exposed to a single domain, they cannot always bring new perspectives and experiences from different fields. Encourage cross-functional teams from diverse disciplines and experiences to collaborate and exchange ideas. For example, a fresh perspective from a non-domain expert can help you use existing technologies in unique ways. This will allow them to draw inspiration from each other and spark a cross-pollination of ideas that could lead to innovation. 

  • Bring unconventional and fresh perspectives to the table

Conventional wisdom and limited perspective due to prolonged exposure to a single domain often bog down domain experts. They limit their innovative thinking and hesitate to think differently. Such constraints do not limit non-domain experts. They are more flexible in considering, applying, and testing alternative approaches and methodologies to solve a problem. An unconventional approach also opens the door for building new solutions and business models that earn profits for the company.

  • Balance between domain expertise and innovative mindset

No two processes or businesses are the same, even if they belong to the same industry. Thus, a one-size-fits-all solution would not help solve problems or build innovative products. This could result in an outcome that would look the same as that of the competitors, and you could lose out on creating a competitive advantage. Building a synergetic culture between domain and non-domain experts is essential. A domain expert will provide the necessary domain expertise and knowledge to implement a solution, and the innovative mindset of a non-domain expert can help companies think of creative solutions to a problem. This collaborative effort will help you build unconventional products and solutions that delight the customers and give your company an edge over competitors.

Use “The Art of The Possible” Approach to Think and Achieve the Impossible

If you want to build products that stand out from competitors and find a possibility in an idea that might seem impossible to launch, you need to shake up the status quo and don the innovator’s hat. You need to design a framework and a flexible approach that will help you visualize innovative solutions that can accelerate your growth in the digital transformation journey.

At Inovar, we help you do that with our ‘The Art of the Possible.’ approach.

Through this approach, you’ll learn:

  • How to find inspiring ideas for your digital transformation journey regardless of your company size and industry.
  • Ideate with different teams to find opportunities to capitalize.
  • Innovate using a game-changing roadmap and stay relevant by adopting and leveraging the benefits of the ever-changing tools and technologies.
  • Integrate our experience of working with different industries and technologies to find the perfect strategy for implementing your idea.

This will help you define the project scope, understand user gaps and customer pain points, conceptualize ideas to address the pain points, and visualize the future experience of your solution.

Contact us to know more about the approach.

Wrap-Up

Continuous innovation is the only way for companies to meet customer needs and stay ahead of competitors. Domain expertise, while essential, will not always help you think differently. It requires a change in mindset and less resistance to innovation. 

Take Tesla, for instance. It wouldn’t have reached the height it did if it had solely relied on domain experts alone or did not dare to re-imagine the auto industry. The automaker studied innovative companies from within and outside the industry, understood the opportunities and gaps in the industry, developed its core competencies, and differentiated itself from other traditional players. They learned from different domains – from players in battery technology, solar energy, software engineering, and aerospace and incorporated their insights to become a leader in the space of electric vehicles. 

So, don’t limit your ideas to follow a cookie-cutter approach. Use our Art of the Possible approach to encourage the non-domain experts in your company to contribute to the ideation process and build differentiated solutions and products.