The Tech Tank is an initiative that we have created here in Hatch Quarter to foster a human-centric understanding of how emerging technologies are posed to impact certain industries. To organise and present this knowledge, we have designed a three-dimensional information structure that we called: The Tech Match Matrix.
The purpose of the Matrix is to illustrate the interchangeable correlation between the main three elements that make the market of most industries: human values, market solutions, and technologies. In this framework, human values determine the needs we are trying to fulfil or problems we are trying to solve, market solutions are the business answer to fulfilling those human values, and finally, technology is necessary to enable the implementation of those market solutions. Before we jump into describing the Matrix, let's explain what we mean by each of the three market elements.
Through our research, we have identified six main human values that generate the needs we demand in new products and services. These values are common among all sectors and industries:
1. Safety: this includes all the aspects of physical health, the security of material possessions and data, as well as mental and emotional security (e.g., avoiding accidents that cause physical harm and securing personal data against misuse).
2. Environment: this includes the purity of the environment and sustainability of resources (e.g., reducing CO2 emissions and using bio-plastic as a renewable resource.
3. Cost: any type of material cost that is incurred directly or indirectly other than time, or in financial terms: capital and operation costs (e.g., reduce the buying price of cars (direct / capital) and to increase the efficiency and durability of the car so it consumes less fuel and needs less maintenance (indirect / operation).
4. Time: any time spent to find, acquire, and use a product or service (e.g., reduce the time it takes to travel from one place to another, to find information, to create your website … etc.).
5. Connection: to connect to other humans and to information (e.g., to be able to talk and see family and friends who live far from you).
6. User Experience (UX): the centralisation of user interaction, personalisation of products and services, portability, simplicity and convenience (e.g., a one-stop-shop/portal where you find everything you need in some aspect (products or information)).
Finally, while we aim to be as inclusive as possible, this list is not final and more values can be added in the future.
Market solutions are industry-specific. For instance, the solutions in the matrix shown in Figures 2 & 3 below are for the mobility sector (the first industry we will look at). However, once we move to another industry, e.g. retail, the solutions will be different.
Technologies are not solutions by themselves, but they enable market solutions. Naturally, there is a large number of emerging technologies and we cannot account for each and every one of them. Instead, we clustered the technologies in groups of similar nature and function. The technology clusters are:
(the specific technologies in each cluster here are just to get us started, more will be added in the future as needed)
1. Energy: Power Generation and Storage e.g., Lithium-ion batteries, Hydrogen, Solar cells, wind energy, and Geothermal.
2. Information / Data / Computing e.g., AR - VR - MR, Cloud computing, Quantum computing, Big Data. and Trustless data structures.
3. Automation e.g, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Robotics.
4. Communication: hardware and software e.g., 5G, IoT, Indoors positioning systems, and Near Field Communication (including embedded electronics).
5. Transportation e.g., Hyperloop, supersonic airplanes, Drones, Cars, Trucks, Motorbikes, Scooters, Bicycles.
6. Materials and Manufacturing e.g., 3D Printing, Sustainable Materials, and Nanotech.
The HQ Tech Match Matrix
Fig. 1: illustration of the Tech Match Matrix, which connects human values, market solutions, and technologies.
The Tech Match Matrix (Fig. 1) is a 3D array that combines the three market elements explained earlier, where the three axes of the matrix represent human values, market solutions, and technologies. Each cell in the matrix contains a description of how one specific technology enables one specific market solution to fulfill one specific human need.
Since market solutions are industry-specific, one unique matrix will be used to describe one industry at a time. The first industry that we will look at is mobility, so for the rest of the discussion, we will be using market solutions of the mobility sector to explain how to read the matrix.
The matrix has been designed to structure the information in an intuitive and smooth manner, so it is easy to find individual pieces of information, as well as to see the big picture. The way to look and read the matrix, however, depends largely on the priority of the reader.
How To Read The Tech Match Matrix
The Matrix might be overwhelming in its 3D form. However, if we look at the Matrix from one side, we would see a conventional table connecting two elements of the market. As an example, let’s look at the Matrix straight to the front side. In this case, we will see a table that connects human values (horizontal axis) with market solutions (vertical axis) for one specific technology cluster (indexed in the upper-left corner). Each technology cluster can be considered a “layer” when we are looking at the Matrix in this direction.
Fig. 2: Front view of the Matrix showing the connection between human values and market solutions enabled by one specific technology (in this example: Artificial Intelligence).
In the example pictured in Fig. 2, we chose the technology cluster of automation, and from that, we are focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The content of each cell in the table explains how AI, in particular, has the potential to enable a market solution to deliver a human value, if applicable.
The choice of which side of the Matrix to look at is not arbitrary, but it has a specific focus on it and that depends on the objective of the reader. Let’s explain this for each type of users:
Entrepreneurs and startups are focused on solving problems. How to make travel faster and save time? How to reduce the waste coming from a certain industry to save the environment? How to provide a better user experience when doing a certain task? .. etc.
Problems come directly from unfulfilled human needs. Hence, entrepreneurs can use the Matrix when trying to solve a certain problem, i.e. fulfill a human value, by looking at the Matrix from the side face (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: Side view of the Matrix showing the connection between technologies and market solutions to fulfil one specific human value.
This perspective of the matrix allows the user to understand what technologies (horizontal axis) enable which market solutions (vertical axis) to solve that specific problem. In this case, human values become the “layers” and based on which human value we focus on, we will be looking at one layer of the Matrix.
Businesses are solution providers, i.e. makers of products and services, and they can use the Matrix by looking at the top face:
Fig. 4: Top view of the Matrix showing the connection between human values fulfilled by—and technologies enabling—one specific market solution.
This perspective of the Matrix allows the user to see, for one specific market solution, what technologies (vertical axis) can be utilised to fulfil which human value (horizontal axis) through that market solution.
For Technology Professionals
Technologists, or technology-specific businesses, are usually specialised in one or more technologies that fall into a specific layer of the matrix. By looking at the front face of the matrix (Fig. 2), tech researchers and makers will be able to see where exactly their technology fits in the market, i.e. what market solutions (vertical axis) need this technology in order to fulfill which human value (horizontal axis).
Investors are usually agnostic to solutions and technologies. Their primary concern is to make the best return on their investment. For that, they need to see the big picture and understand how a particular solution compares to other solutions trying to solve a similar problem, and what are the potentials and limitations of the used technology compared to other technologies. For that, investors can benefit from the matrix as a whole by looking through the three different perspectives to evaluate the market and guide their due diligence.
For Governments, Policy Makers, and Consultants
Similar to investors, decision-makers also need to have a holistic understanding surrounding any aspect of the market. For example, creating a supportive legal framework for self-driving cars requires also supporting the individual technologies that go into making them. A more controversial example is the blockchain technology, which in the beginning overwhelmed many policymakers and caused unnecessary resistance. This resistance could have been avoided had the policymakers had a better understanding of the human values that this new technology could enable, and through which market solutions, so the decision-makers could focus on formalising pathways for the beneficial use cases and avoiding the bad ones, instead of patronising the entire technology.
A platform for continuous dialogue
The matrix has been designed to become a dynamic source of information and a reference for multiple industries and different types of users on emerging tech and their applications. But the matrix is only as good as its content. To keep the content growing and up-to-date beyond HQ research, the matrix of each industry is associated with a blog that is open for continuous dialogue from our community to collect additional input and feedback. This can be new insights on topics that are already discussed or completely new ideas that were overlooked before. These ongoing conversations will be considered and, when possible, embedded in the permanent content of the matrix for others to benefit from in the future.
Finally, we would like to hear your thoughts. What problem are you trying to solve, or which market solution and/or technology are you looking at for the future of your business? Feel free to reach us for a discussion and let us discover together how our human-centric approach in the Tech Match Matrix can work for you.
Also, you are welcome to give feedback about the Matrix itself, e.g., are there additional human values and/or technology clusters that you think should be added to the Matrix?
We cannot wait to hear from you. email@example.com
Until then, stay safe.
Written by Dr Husam Wafai.