Innovation at Amazon
Marsden Innovation Series #1
Presenter: Jonathon Meichtry, Principal Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services
It was a pleasure to welcome Jonathon Meichtry as the first presenter in our Innovation Series. With over 20 years experience in IT, Jonathon works with customers to map business value to cloud technologies. It was fascinating to learn about the creative thinking and a willingness to fail that underlies the creation of new technologies at Amazon. They are principles we can bring into our own way of operating – in multiple areas of our work and thinking.
Jonathon shared with us the extraordinary story and culture of Amazon, where putting customers first, being both inventive and patient has been at the heart of what they do for 24 years. At Amazon, managers start their careers by building their own desk – a door from a hardware shop, with four legs bolted to it. This epitomises their philosophy that it’s a hands-on environment and is all about the experience at the front end – not the back end.
Assisted by his daughters, Jonathon showed us the Alexa in operation – a smart device that interacts intuitively with everyday technology, to tell you anything from the weather to a joke. The most important part of the demonstration was to understand that even as the technology goes into production, the company is thinking ahead: what will the customer want next? How can it be supported? We loved seeing Jonathon’s daughter demonstrate the Alexa as a way of taking customer videos that could then be used for wardrobe suggestions and purchases. Another great gadget was the dash wand that works with Alexa to scan the barcodes of products in your pantry, to make your online grocery orders. Jonathon’s demonstration was less about the technology and more about how you think creatively to anticipate customer needs.
We learnt about Amazon Go – which offers the most advanced retail shopping technology in the world, where shoppers scan their phone on entry and then just put their shopping in their bag before walking out the door – no checkouts, no queues. Jonathon showed us how creative thinking, inventiveness and the willingness to experiment and fail are behind some of the world’s most exciting innovation.
It was a fabulous start to our innovation series. Thank you to Jonathon and the Meichtry girls for giving us so much to think about.