Interview with Avi Reichental, Founder and CEO at XponentialWorks
In this interview, Avi Reichental, Founder and CEO at XponentialWorks speaks about the essentials for a successful digital transformation, the fundamental failure of firms as they inherently resist disruptive changes and the need to identify early opportunities and act on them. Avi Reichental is one of the world’s leading authorities on exponential tech convergence and holds several corporate leadership roles. In 2014, he was named by Popular Mechanics as one of the top 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, and was listed by Fortune magazine in 2013 as a top 50 business leader
Tell us about your product/business and your specific role?
XponentialWorks is one of the leading domain experts in digital transformation, particularly in additive manufacturing, AI and robotics. We – also engage in building unique ecosystems that bring together early stage companies with more mature companies who are looking for the very technologies and digital transformation that the younger companies can offer. In addition to this, we invest in the incubation of our most promising early stage companies that act as edge organizations for the benefit of larger, mid-market companies undertaking digital transformation.
What is the core issue your product/technology aims to address and what sets it apart from the other players in the market?
The core issue we address is the failure to launch on the part of many companies that have either paid lip-service or spent a lot of money trying to digitally transform their organization. The root cause is either a lack of resources, technology, experience and competency to make this step. In many cases, the fundamental failure to understand that every organization has a built-in immune system which, for good and vital reasons, resists disruptive change.
We create a multi-year journey that successfully transitions companies from traditional business models to digital platforms. Our solution is to start at the edge of the company and migrate it into the core, bringing in the best digital technologies both for product design and manufacturing. We act not as guides or consultants but as part of the organization that delivers projects and real transformation and not just Powerpoint presentations, studies and recommendations.
What’s the one industry, sector or role that your technology is most relevant to?
We focus on mid-market companies in traditional manufacturing. We’re helping them put together decades, and sometimes even centuries, of traditional manufacturing experience with digital manufacturing to make them competitive and viable players in our world, which is increasingly becoming connected and digital.
What are some of the common challenges your customers approach you with?
The most common challenge is that most customers don’t know where to start. They don’t have anyone who can competently provide them with facilities, labs, technology or a road map.
We offer a facility that has curated some of the most comprehensive and relevant exponential technologies and connect clients with engineers, scientists, labs, equipment and our own domain expertise. We provide a startup ecosystem of companies that acts as a force multiplier in our clients’ transformation, and gives them an opportunity to instantly plug into our network, share in the costs, and use both us and our environment as a platform to facilitate their transformation. Clients learn how to implement it readily without wasting time or resources because what we have is basically all the pieces already in place. Not just on the technology side but also on the business model innovation and transformation side. Even if our clients had the knowledge and the budget to undertake this on their own, they would not be able to hire all these skills and to curate an ecosystem like this.
Using technology to effect transformation usually starts with a transformation of beliefs and mindsets. How do you consult enterprise clients and help them make that important shift in mindset to move ahead on a particular project or implementation?
XponentialWorks doesn’t consult but rather identifies early opportunities and acts on them. We help transform organizations by attraction as opposed to promotion with presentation decks and recommendations. We take a deep dive into our clients’ operations and quickly identify the low hanging fruit. We move fast with small nimble teams that can act freely, bringing together the right technologies and people to deliver projects and capabilities, delivering a few positive transformations at the edge of the organization. By quickly generating positive results and benefits, we create additional demand. We also tell clients that,
now is the time to act. If they don’t disrupt their businesses on purpose, they will naturally be disrupted by everything around them and find themselves very vulnerable.
Give us an example of an enterprise meeting a digital transformation goal through your product?
One of our clients, Techniplas, is a tier one supplier in the automotive industry. They have successfully journeyed from a century of traditional manufacturing to transform into a digital organization, creating products for the cognitive world of the future. We are leveraging their heritage and skills while bringing in new digital capacities from the manufacturing floor all the way to new online capabilities.
What present or upcoming technologies you think have the maximum potential to accelerate enterprise digital transformation?
It’s not really about one or two technologies. It’s the convergence of several exponential technologies starting with the fact that we have nearly ubiquitous connectivity around the world. We have infinite computing power in the cloud, and increasingly cheaper and more powerful sensors used to measure everything and know everything all the time. There is also robotics both in manufacturing and the services sector, and the use of 3D printing throughout the design and manufacturing process.
Most importantly, there is the use of AI in deep learning capabilities to automate and enhance certain tasks that today people perform.
The convergence of all these capabilities is going to disrupt and transform every business, not just on the manufacturing or the services side but also the whole user experience.
We need to understand how to integrate and use these technologies and to think in terms of how business models change, how does go-to-market strategy change, and how can user experience and engagement be maximized with the availability of all these tools. Another question – how do brands increase in relevance and engagement as the demographics change with the user experience transforming exponentially?
What’s your go to resource – websites, newsletters, any other – that you use to stay in touch with the explosive changes happening in the digital space?
We are blessed at XponentialWorks to be at the epicenter of all this technology for a variety of reasons. We are part of Singularity University and read all the materials that are offered there. We are part of the XPRIZE organization and we benefit from Peter Diamandis’s weekly materials. We are also highly plugged into the Israeli early stage, high-tech scene through our involvement with OurCrowd and their Cognitive fund which focuses on early-stage companies leveraging AI, deep-learning, IoT, robotics and digital manufacturing. As a result of all of that, we sift through dozens of articles and we are engaged directly with some of the leading thought leaders and influencers involved in exponential technology and convergence.
Read a good book lately on digital transformation that you’d like to recommend to us?
I recommend The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison. A great book for anyone interested in understanding the shifting forces of our cognitive world.