A healthcare firm is being disrupted and needs to replace an important customer application before a new Healthtech penetrates their market and customers switch providers. The challenge posed by management could be: do we develop an app in less than a month or build it after all other priorities are done (traditional way)?
The pushback could come from Finance (there is no budget for this), from business partners (there are other priorities) or from inside the IT teams (we are already too busy with other activities). A type 1 firm could anticipate Healthtech coming into their market, but a type 2 firm would have to do this or loose revenue.
The App Leader could suggest trying to resolve this in a different way (call it Cloud based, Agile methodology or DevOps). How can that App Leader get less pushback? Can he pick a low risk effort at first before embarking on a big team effort to show that it works?
I recently attended a local IT event called 2020 Outlook for Tech hosted by the NCTech Association (North Carolina IT Tech community) where a panel had a discussion similar to the example presented above. Most of the focus of the day was focused on Disruption in IT and on “how your business can be a disruptor versus be disrupted.”
Traditionally there has been two types of firms when it comes to preparation for the topics of Innovation and Disruption.
The first type of firm actively asks, “What is coming in the next 10 years?” Management of this type of company would like to think that they are ahead of the curve and at least have a plan of attack for the short / medium term.
The second type of firm has no other option. It is being actively disrupted (think about Banks vs Fintech). If they don’t change now they will lose revenue, clients or reputation. They will also be considered slow movers.
If we assume that the majority of companies are somewhere in the middle (early or late majority adopters), what can be done to stay motivated or to motivate each other to ensure innovation is always present?
I believe we can answer that question if we focus at how the employees are managed and understood. Managers or leaders have to understand the “we all think differently" problem, meaning individuals have different ways of solving problems.
Are you somebody who tries even if it could mean failing, or do you prefer to think about everything before trying it out? How do you motivate diverse thinking teams? How do you ensure the motivation is shared and maintained?
It depends on the “Power of inertia.” For example, a common reaction when someone is facing a change or challenge is to say, "but this is how we do things.” This attitude has to be disrupted in order to allow change to happen. If the attitude is not disrupted change might not happen as easily or quickly. How? Show a vision or a plan. Give them a reason. Focus on clients or business partners, demonstrating how this will build inertia to help you and many others.
The point is we need to change the way we do things. We need to understand that there are different ways to communicate with different types of people (idea people, sales people, tech people, product people) and we need to embrace all to ensure that a company stays relevant.