Innovation is undergoing a tectonic shift.

As AI advances, we find ourselves heading towards a new era — one where innovation is not just constant but autonomous, as Board of Innovation's founder Philippe de Ridder explains below.

From Design Thinking to Autonomous Innovation

In the 1990s, design thinking emerged, prioritizing empathy and iterative prototyping for user-centric solutions. By 2010, the Lean Startup methodology built upon these principles, emphasizing rapid experimentation and customer feedback to guide businesses towards sustainable business models. Both paradigms transformed innovation approaches worldwide. The emergence of Creative AI now marks a new,historic development in innovation.

Autonomous Innovation leverages artificial intelligence to supercharge the innovation process, making it faster, more efficient, and at times even self-directed. This is not just another technological upgrade—it's a paradigm shift.

What is Autonomous Innovation? The definition of what’s next

Autonomous Innovation is not about integrating AI into an existing system but about reimagining the entire innovation cycle. It’s about developing an always-on innovation engine that leverages AI to constantly imagine, create, and launch new products and services, with exceptional quality, speed, and success rates that were previously unimaginable.
Imagine a scenario where your business’ next big idea is generated while you're asleep. Or a world where products evolve on their own, drawing from real-time user feedback. That is Autonomous Innovation.

GenAI-generated Ideas Are Already Outperforming Human Ideas

AI has unique capabilities for synthesis, ideation, and modeling human behavior, and GenAI-generated ideas are already outperforming human ideas.

For instance, several studies show that when AI-generated ideas get rated by an independent human customer panel, they score higher in terms of perceived value as well as purchase intent.

In addition, LLMs have a unique capability to model customer personas and simulate human responses, which innovators can use across the whole innovation journey; from prioritizing initial concepts to (in)validating key assumptions. Fine-tuned AI-modeled consumers might even close the Say-Do gap at some point, becoming more accurate predictors of human behavior than humans themselves.

No time to waste; the first movers are already leveraging AI to create new products and services

From health-tech to consumer products, businesses are already levering AI to launch new products and services. Coca-Cola released their Y3000, a soda created between humans and AI that is meant to taste just like the year 3,000. ABInBev has created the world’s first beer and full marketing campaign made with AI, naming it Beck’s Autonomous. To create a product for GenZ, Unilever worked with specially designed AI to analyze 6,000 perfume ingredients with 3.5 million potential combinations. AI is also enabling the discovery of new drugs by autonomously ideating and testing potential new molecules for existing conditions.

Building Towards a New Innovation Engine

With the power of AI in innovation, we are building towards a new innovation engine; one where AI helps us generate a concept, validate it and provide customer insights, so humans can curate the ideas to inform an innovation investment decision.

And we’re evolving towards Autonomous Innovation, where AI will generate the concept, validate it and make an informed decision - all at unprecedented speed and quality.

As an example, imagine a global fashion brand, where their Autonomous Innovation engine first gains customer insights through social listening. It then translates the insights into concepts and generates thousands of new fashion concepts. The engine goes on to validate the concepts in an online shop, and concludes with providing the decision on which concepts to kill, launch or scale based on the collected data. At each key step, we envision an element of human curation.

What the future of Autonomous Innovation will bring

From governance to new products, Autonomous Innovation will help us overcome current, human constraints and open the door to boundless innovation.

Autonomous Innovation methodologies
Improving the speed, depth and breadth of innovation - resulting in increased investment confidence through hyper-validated concepts and adaptive outputs. Concepts are generated and rapidly assessed for desirability, feasibility, viability and market timing.

Autonomous go-to-market models
‘Launching and learning’ in the market in real-time with autonomous feedback loops - resulting in launches that stick. Companies are able to serve consumer needs before they can formulate them.

Autonomous Innovation governance
Better coordinated corporate innovation activities, relying less on manual data capture, more accurate data and better decision-making. New scientific breakthroughs are automatically translated to new product concepts for your consideration

Autonomous customized GPT models
Custom methodologies that rely on internal company or project data - creating a competitive advantage against startups.

Autonomous Innovations
New products, services and businesses that adapt and improve themselves to be more inclusive and better meet the needs of individual consumers. Products and services evolve along their lifecycle to always be in line with the latest customer needs.

Get Started With Autonomous Innovation

Autonomous Innovation isn't just another tech upgrade; it's a shift in the very way we execute innovation.

Those who pioneer in adopting this approach stand to gain a considerable competitive advantage.

On the road towards Autonomous Innovation companies should consider starting with:

  • Shaping their strategy on how to leverage AI for innovation and product development
  • Running demonstration projects to confirm and show the value of AI on a number of different innovation projects
  • Building towards a proprietary Autonomous Innovation Engine that leverages custom data and models to outperform the market
  • Developing and scaling up capabilities around this across people, process and tooling

At Board of Innovation, we can help you discover Autonomous Innovation for your business, and develop your strategy to unlock the value of Generative and Autonomous AI for innovation - get started here..