The term ‘Deep Tech’ was coined by Swati Chaturvedi, CEO of investment firm Propel(x), which was founded in 2013 with the mission of facilitating private venture capital for startups in the life sciences, energy, clean technology, computer sciences, materials and chemicals sectors. Propel(x) decided to use the term ‘Deep Tech’ as a way to define a new category of startup. Writing in 2014, Chaturvedi explained that:
“Deep technology companies are built on tangible scientific discoveries or engineering innovations. They are trying to solve big issues that really affect the world around them. For example, a new medical device or technique fighting cancer, data analytics to help farmers grow more food, or a clean energy solution trying to lessen the human impact on climate change.”
From this perspective therefore, deep technology startups have the defining characteristics of i) the ability to disrupt several markets to create considerable economic value for early investors, and ii) a lasting effect on humanity in positive and meaningful ways.
With rapid advances in technological breakthroughs and developments, the phrase ‘Deep Tech’ has also been used to focus on categories of technology. An example of this technology-focused definition comes from TechCrunch, who define Deep Tech as “a generic term for technologies not focused on end-user services that includes artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, advanced material science, photonics and electronics, biotech and quantum computing”.
While these conceptions of Deep Tech are useful in the contexts of innovation and technology investment, there are alternative approaches to understanding deep technologies that include human values, leadership consciousness, systemic thinking and the voice of those communities often missing from the monocultural norms of Silicon Valley and the world’s great financial and technology centres.
In a nutshell, what was missing was the human dimension. For this reason, myself, Maria Moraes Robinson and Igor Couto came together to develop a new vision of deep technologies that defines Deep Tech as “the development of advanced technologies built from a foundation of universal human values by conscious ecosystems”. As this vision developed, we began to construct our approach to Deep Tech design through the four pillars of deep impact, deep thinking, deep talent and deep collaboration, three design movements of elevation, scaling and amplification, and the New 4Ps of platforms, purpose, people and planet.
The New 4Ps are a framework developed by Holonomics in 2015 which form the basis of decision-making in an organisation, providing the direction of the development of more prosperous and flourishing business models and value propositions. Once we are clear about our purpose, we are better able to then evaluate our approach to platform design. The reason is that we have reached a stage in the evolution of our technology which has now given us a chance to rectify the shortfalls in our previous economic systems, ones which generated poverty, inequality and the degradation of our natural ecosystems. Locating this vision of platform design inside of the New 4Ps framework provides leaders with an opportunity to consider new forms of organisation, funding, investment and value.
Platforms connect brands and organisations to their audiences by amplifying their purposes. Brands and organisations want people to hear their message and connect with their purpose, but this will only happen if they are genuinely authentic. And to be authentic, organisations need to live their values. When brands and organisations say one thing, but mean another and act in opposition to their stated values and purposes, consumers, employees and activists can and will amplify their voices of opposition through the very same platforms, often being able to create systemic change and improvements to poor business practices.
By expanding our approach to deep tech, we were able to develop a new conception of organisations in the digital economy, the amplified organisation. Our new book, Deep Tech and the Amplified Organisation, shows leaders, designers, technologists and changemakers how to transform their enterprises, initiatives and practices through a new suite of systemically-connected methodologies including strategy mapping, the Holonomic Circle, deep tech discovery, value proposition elevation and augmented agility.
The book introduces a visual and systemic blueprint of the amplified organisation which aligns and integrates platform capabilities, digital systems and data analytics with an organisation’s strategy, value proposition and digital operating model. The result is a transdisciplinary approach to Deep Tech that integrates innovative and new approaches to enterprise architectures, design methodologies and purpose-driven strategy which enables organisations to become future-fit by:
- Amplifying business through the New 4Ps framework of platforms, purpose, people and planet;
- Designing scalable platform-based business models and elevated value propositions;
- Creating open, networked and highly extensive platform architectures;
Achieving organisational agility through implementing a systemic approach to strategy;
- Capturing the power of data through deep sensemaking and networked intelligence;
- Engaging people meaningfully though deeper customer and employee experiences; and
- Integrating universal human values into organisational culture, ecosystem relationships and leadership consciousness.
Amplified organisations are intentional regenerative businesses which are purposeful, engaged and hyperconnected. They achieve meaningful impact through a continual process of elevation, scaling and amplification, by developing technology with soul and transforming through their north star of the New 4Ps. Underlying every word and action are the universal human values, which are lived in every person, articulated through the deep technologies developed and utilised, and expressed in the quality of relationships within the organisation and across the ecosystem, economy, society and environment.
Deep Tech and the Amplified Organisation is out now via Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.