University of Pennsylvania organizational psychology professor Adam Grant once said, “The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists.”
Consider the story of eyeglass company Warby Parker. As college students buried in debt and outraged at the cost of replacing broken eyeglasses, Jeff Raider, Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, the founders of Warby Parker, wondered why glasses commanded such a hefty price tag when the technology had not changed for years. Their research revealed that a single European company dominated the industry, and nothing in the cost of goods justified the high price. Which led to their next question: what if the experience of buying eyewear could be radically different? The threesome created an online eyewear business and brought the entire process in-house. The rest is history.
That moment of questioning (“Why are eyeglasses so expensive?”) is what Grant calls “vuja de,” which he defines as the opposite of déjà vu: “Vuja de is [when] we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems.” In other words, when we stop taking the status quo for granted and begin to ask new questions, we can see old problems through a new lens.
How can vuja de thinking about technology shape our industry? Technological possibilities present the opportunity to step back and re-imagine how things could be, not based on how it has worked in the past but on where technology could go and tracking those trends. So, how do we keep up with that change, what does it mean for equipment finance, and where do we even begin?
It can be challenging to adopt cutting-edge technologies, but the opportunity for digital transformation in equipment finance is enormous. Al Brandt, co-founder and CEO of blockchain company Blocledger, comments, “It is surprising just how much digitization is left to do in this industry.”
“Innovations in the consumer world are pushing the B2B world, while access to rapidly advancing technologies is accelerating change,” says Chad Hutchison, co-founder and president of Finance Exchange.
Kristian Dolan, Tamarack Consulting’s chief operating officer, echoes, “The new normal is cloud and mobile. Increasingly, business people need to be able to do everything from their phone.”