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Jamie Wilkinson traded his iPhone for a new Samsung and says he isn't looking back.

Why I finally ditched my iPhone (and what I learned)

I got my first iPhone (the 3GS) in 2009. At the time, it felt like taking a quantum leap from what had been a fairly boring world of same-same mobile (as opposed to smart) phones. I remember the excitement of leaving the Motorolas and Sony Ericssons and Nokias behind, and embracing what looked like a thrilling new future of productivity and connectivity.

It’s now more than a decade on, and I’ve stayed loyal to Apple, becoming more and more entrenched in its ecosystem.  But I’ve also become aware that by only using one type of phone from one provider and for more than a decade, I have absolutely no sense of what the myriad other players in the space now offer. Is it possible there is something better out there? Have I just become lazy and complacent?

The idea of “leaving” Apple to start again with an Android phone was so anxiety-inducing that although I occasionally considered it, it just seemed easier to stick with what I knew. Looking back, my muscle memory was conditioned. My behaviours were unchallenged. I could almost feel the calcification of neural pathways which had become so set in their ways. Whenever I mentioned to friends that perhaps it was time to shock the system and try something different, their look of horror convinced me to just stick with what I knew.

Professionally, I spend a lot of time talking to clients about innovation, disruption and transformation. And it’s noticeable that although these are topics which regularly feature in peak-body seminars and newsletters, or at corporate round tables, very few organisations really change the way they do things. It’s not unusual for busy people, with systems that generally seem to work OK, to never really consider the other options available to them. But by not even investigating newer ways of doing old tasks, we’re all restricting our productivity, our effectiveness and, actually, our bottom line.

Late last year the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science published a report into the Impact of persistent innovation on business growth. Using collated information over a six-year period, it analysed relationships between innovation and growth for non-innovators, intermittent innovators, regular innovators and persistent innovators.

Not surprisingly, data showed a strong correlation between persistent innovation and higher sales growth, profit growth and employment growth. Research suggested the innovation-growth correlation was particularly strong for more simply-structured small-to-medium-sized businesses and start-ups – although boom or bust risks increased for them as well – but also provided important contributions for large, mature and complex-structured businesses.

In its 2017 Data & Analytics Global Executive Study and Research Report, MIT Sloan Management Review noted a 16 per cent jump in businesses that were using analytics insights to guide innovation, especially around managing relationships with customers. Interestingly, businesses with a high ability to innovate around data were also largely found to be effective data-sharers, both within their companies and beyond.

Meanwhile, analysis by international consultancy firm McKinsey established that in businesses where innovation was not successful, only 11 per cent of executives were identified as being fully accountable for and involved in the process.  On the other hand, where innovation worked, 33 per cent of executives “bought in” from the start.

The takeaways from all of that? Continual innovation has been demonstrated to make companies considerably stronger. The process isn’t without risk, but a good understanding of analytics, and a willingness to try new things, can help align innovations with where they are really needed. However, innovation is only truly likely to succeed when it is supported from “the top”.

In recent years, my company Cannings Purple has taken significant leaps in transforming how the back end of our business runs. New platforms, automation, and analytical reporting have entirely changed the efficiency and oversight we have as to how our business runs. Importantly, our senior leadership has been on board throughout, helping drive the changes.

So, back to me and my iPhone – could it be time for me to take the same lessons from my professional life into my personal one?

Well, last month I finally decided to switch from the comfy, functional, familiar Apple ecosystem and phone I’ve been using for more than a decade, to the unfamiliar, flexible and easily-personalised experience which is an Android phone. It’s been a revelation. Workflows are quicker and more flexible. I have more control over what I do and how I do it. My digital world didn’t cave in, and I have really enjoyed the experience of discovering new and interesting ways of doing things on a fresh system. What I’ve found inspiring is how the act of engaging with something different has opened the door to better and more efficient ways of doing things.

Forcing myself to learn something new and unfamiliar, even if it’s just a phone, is a great reminder of the benefits of shocking your own system, and how looking at something familiar in a new way, can reap huge rewards.

  • Cannings Purple Director of Digital Jamie Wilkinson is an expert in social media and privacy and data breach. You can follow Jamie on Twitter or drop him an email.

You can also download our Data Breach Whitepaper

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