With so many change drivers going on at once in our industry, one could be forgiven for having some despair – it is hard to take it all onboard and change is also stressful. From energy transition, ESG, net zero, new markets new instruments, increased speed of business, new technologies, new regulations and so on, change is everywhere. Yet, change also drives human ingenuity and innovation. So, in a period of such change, one ought to expect innovation everywhere too and that is exactly what we at ComTech are seeing.
Innovation often occurs in discrete areas of the business where complexity is high. Usually, it is quite focused vertically or horizontally (i.e. deep into a complex process or as a new optimized process with broad applicability). Innovation starts at a center and then takes root spreading across a business function or organization as it is understood to have value. So, where we see innovation is usually in discrete areas of complexity within a business.
An example of this came to light this last week as I was given an update by AlphaOcean (formerly Advanced Freight Trading). It has assembled a group of experts and is developing an innovative solution targeting ship and fleet operators essentially to truly optimize in real time the operational and price risks associated with ships individually and at fleet level. The idea is revolutionary and is based on the concept that there is a great deal of exposure and risk associated with a ship, its voyage and across a fleet associated with things like fuels, emissions, weather, route and so that today go more or less unmanaged. We featured the initiative in an interview and a blog article earlier this year.
The company is now at seven staff and is at a point where it is starting to go to market with its innovative software. In that regard, it is looking at an array of options that include partnering with other vendors in CTRM and Vessel Management, raising further funds and broadening its sales and marketing capabilities. It also has a number of customers that it is working with.
For us, this is a perfect example of how innovation takes place at times of change. It is a discrete and complex area of the business with high impact value where bringing new ideas, technologies and models can really help change how things are done.