Tag Archives: speed

Speed of Change

Speed of Change

Are You Innovating at the Speed of Change?

The world is changing all around us at an increasing rate, and individuals (and yes organizations too) are struggling to cope with this ever increasing pace of change.

In fact, over the last 50 years the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has dropped from 61 years to 18 years (and is forecast to shrink further in the future).1

Innosight Average Company Lifespan

Nobody of course wants to be one of those organizations that goes out of business, but the fact is that if your organization can’t innovate and change at the speed of change of its customers’ wants and needs, and the pace of geopolitical, social, and economic change in the world around it, then it will likely have to change its sign from open to CLOSED, permanently.

Your organization may indeed be doomed to fail if it develops on or more of the following change gaps:

  1. Your speed of hiring is slower than the speed of your growth
  2. Your speed of market understanding is slower than the pace of market change
  3. Your speed of insight dissemination and acceptance is slower than the pace of market change
  4. Your speed of idea commercialization is slower than the pace of market change
  5. Your speed of innovation is slower than the competition’s speed of innovation
  6. Your speed of internal change is slower than the rate of external change

The last one is of course the largest and the most important, and the most complex, being composed of your speed of:

  • Market Analysis (gathering of insights and inspiration)
  • Invention (creation of innovation source material)
  • Design (building a potential solution around an invention)
  • Development (taking the design and creating a scalable, launch ready solution)
  • Test (Evaluating with customers whether the solution works as designed and scales as intended)
  • Evolution (Launching the solution into the marketplace with open eyes and ears, pivoting/improving as necessary)

While it is possible to enter a market too early, you can survive this tactical error if you enter in a small way instead of committing to a global launch with grand customer promises. However, much more damage comes to organizations that enter too late. So, as an organization we must be constantly striving to get faster at discovering new market insights and adapting and aligning our organization to fulfill newly discovered market needs more quickly than our competition, otherwise we might find ourselves locked out of our customers’ top consideration set tier.

Consumption Spreads Faster

What other change gaps do you see as you look at your business or that of your competition?

This is the first of many articles that I will be writing in the run up to my second book (to be published by Palgrave Macmillan), in which I will explore the importance and implications of change in the ongoing success of organizations, along with building up a concise set of best practices and next practices for change.

To help kick off this journey I will be conducting a FREE webinar with my friends over at CoDev, focusing on how Innovation is All About Change. This exclusive sneak peek and Live Q&A will take place from 12:00-1:00pm ET on January 15, 2015, and will feature a quick introduction to a new visual, collaborative change planning toolkit that I’ve developed and am ready to share with the world. Click here to register (link expired).

I hope you’ll come join me on this journey to improve the pace of change in our organizations!

UPDATE to banner: You can now access a free recording of this webinar using PASSCODE 1515 here (link expired)

1. Innosight/Richard N. Foster/Standard & Poor’s
2. Image Source: Wikipedia


Build a common language of innovation on your team

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Are you competing at cloud speed?

Are you competing at cloud speed?We live in an era of constant, accelerating change, and the only organizations that are equipped to keep pace are those that are capable of competing at cloud speed. Does trading out packaged software installed on your own servers for the cloud-based versions offered by your vendor accelerate your organization to cloud speed?

Sorry, no.

So what the heck is cloud speed anyways?

Competing at cloud speed is a goal that every organization should have, and it requires learning fast not failing fast, it involves creating the flexibility to adapt to trends that spread globally faster than ever before, to respond to competition from unexpected sources, and provides a potential antidote to decreasing corporate lifespans.

Accelerating to cloud speed requires your organization to operate under a series of principles that make it both FAST and agile.

Going FAST (the Right Way)

In the experience of Gordon Tredgold, creator of the FAST Approach to Leadership, we usually end up doing either the wrong job or a poor job in an organization because of a lack of focus or accountability, as a result of work has that’s been made overly complex, or because transparency doesn’t exist across the organization.

The FAST Approach to Leadership attempts to address these concerns by answering the What, Who, How and How Far questions related to the task, service or project that is to be delivered (or goal to be achieved). The following four areas make up the letters of the FAST Approach to Leadership and its FAST acronym:

  1. FOCUS is about the WHAT, what we’re doing, what is our objective, and what does success look like.
  2. ACCOUNTABILITY is about the WHO, who is going to do the work, who will be accountable and how will we hold them accountable.
  3. SIMPLICITY is about the HOW, what is the solution, how are we planning to deliver success. Is our solution simple or have we over complicated it.
  4. TRANSPARENCY is about How Far, How Far we have come and How Far we have to go in order to be successful, it’s also about our honesty about our progress and capability.

Focus and Accountability help to ensure that we are getting the right job done, increasing our effectiveness.

Simplicity and Transparency help to ensure that we do a good job.

The objective of FAST Leadership is to ensure that we do the right job, well, each and every time.

Becoming Agile

According to a recent Forrester report titled Business Agility Starts With Your People, a digital business requires an organization to be able to both sense and execute on change, and Craig Le Clair of Forrester outlined a set of ten dimensions that define the digital business, grouped by market, organization and process:

Market Dimensions

1. Channel Integration – Information sharing and cross-channel experiences

2. Market Responsiveness – Customer knowledge and rapid access to resources

Organization Dimensions

3. Knowledge Dissemination – Broader sharing and flatter organizations

4. Digital Psychology – Trend awareness and digital skill sets

5. Change Management – Embracing change and embedded change management

Process Dimensions

6. Business Intelligence – Information management and distributed analytics

7. Infrastructure Elasticity – Cloud awareness and the embrace of cloud options

8. Process Architecture – Process skills and core system independence

9. Software Innovation – Real-time experience and incremental development

10. Sourcing and Supply Chain – Agile sourcing processes and supply chain flexing skills

People looking for a shortcut might hone in on the Process Dimension named Infrastructure Elasticity because it contains a mention of the word cloud and think that this dimension is the secret to competing at cloud speed, but by itself it is not. Forrester’s research showed that the relative performance of an organization along the Infrastructure Elasticity dimension was not a predictor of organizational success, but instead an enabler of improved performance along other dimensions. Craig Le Clair found that greater business agility comes not just from increased Infrastructure Elasticity, but from consciously utilizing that increase to achieve other improvements, such as an improved Digital Psychology or increased Knowledge Dissemination.

Competing at Cloud Speed

When we think about the cloud, what makes it incredibly powerful for organizations is that it breaks down walls. The cloud makes it possible to quickly get people in different departments, geographies, and even organizations collaborating together using a range of cloud-based tools to achieve business goals. When the cloud is viewed not as a solution, but as an enabler of multiple business agility improvements, and a foundation for the principles of FAST Leadership (focus, accountability, simplicity and transparency), we can finally begin competing at cloud speed.

Competing at cloud speed will help improve the velocity of:

  1. Information flow inside and outside the organization
  2. Decision making and commitment
  3. Resource re-deployment
  4. Channel and customer feedback on course corrections

Competing at cloud speed means putting systems in place that quickly capture the voice of the customer, and broadcast it widely and deeply enough into the organization. It means putting the processes and decision-making tools in place to allow leadership to adapt their strategy, redeploy resources and spin up new cross-border and cross-boundary project teams to full productivity faster than the competition in order to capitalize on changes in customer wants and needs.

Are you competing at cloud speed?

Join Inc. 100 and #1 Leadership Expert, Gordon Tredgold, formerly Head of Service Delivery at Henkel, for a simple approach to improve your operational performance live during our expert webinar on October 8 or register for the OnDemand recording.

Sources:

  1. http://www.theleadershiphub.com/blogs/fast-leadership-0
  2. http://solutions.forrester.com/business-agility/improve-your-business-agility-187UW-2434YQ.html
  3. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140914015150-649711-don-t-fail-fast-learn-fast
  4. http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/Voice-of-the-Customer-White-Paper.pdf

NOTE: This article was written for Intuit Quickbase’s The Fast Track but disappeared off the web so I brought it back here


Build a common language of innovation on your team

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Velocity, Speed and Innovation

Velocity, Speed and Innovation

Flying for 12 hours at a stretch can give you a lot of time to think, in between in-flight meals, movies and other on-board entertainment.

The more I thought about the current state of innovation, the more I realized that many of us have it all wrong. We at OVO often talk about innovation as an enabler to strategy, not a strategy itself. But I think there’s something much deeper going on than that. First, we know that many executives WANT more innovation. But they don’t want innovation for its own sake. They want innovation that drives more revenue growth, more differentiation and more creation of compelling products and services than what would otherwise happen. This means that innovation must create solutions with more return than existing methods, with only incrementally greater risk.

Executives want to be Innovative, they don’t want Innovation

In the final analysis, CEOs and senior executives don’t want INNOVATION, they want the benefits and outcomes of well-pursued innovation activities, namely, growth, differentiation, market penetration, disruption of adjacent markets and so forth. If there are easier ways to achieve these outcomes, CEOs and organizations will gladly pursue the alternatives, and forgo the risks that surround innovation. What risks? Because of the investments in management tools, techniques and training to improve efficiency and effectiveness, many businesses have very efficient but very brittle and fragile operating models. Innovation introduces risk, uncertainty and change into organizations and business models honed to avoid these issue. Further, most work teams have been right-sized and down-sized to the point where incremental work is almost impossible to engage. No, what executives want is not innovation per se, but they would like to be viewed as INNOVATIVE and enjoy the benefits of meaningful, valuable new products and services.

Why Velocity is more important than Speed

Perhaps what I’ve come to realize is that what most organizations need more than anything is VELOCITY. Let me explain what I mean by Velocity. My daughter’s physics class was working on the definition of motion and speed. Speed measures how fast an object is moving, so many feet or miles divided by the amount of time it takes to complete the distance. Physics and calculus distinguish SPEED from VELOCITY, by taking the stance that VELOCITY is Speed in a specific direction. Physicists and scientists would say that VELOCITY is a Scalar concept.

When we think about most businesses, VELOCITY is exactly what they need. They need speed to compete with a host of changes occurring in their markets, from increased competition to lowered trade barriers to a rapid increase in the abilities of individuals and firms in developing countries and markets. However, speed isn’t all that valuable if it’s in the wrong direction. VELOCITY is speed in a specific direction, and that’s what many organizations need. They need to be faster, more effective, more innovative, and end up in a place that was intentional.

VELOCITY connotes the idea that the firm is going somewhere that matters. How a firm knows where to go is dependent to some extent on corporate strategy and how well that strategy is communicated. Further, how it knows where to go is dependent on the firm’s ability to assess market trends, develop scenarios and understand customer needs. These final factors are innovation tools, which help describe a range of possible futures and help decipher which ones are relevant and important.

Speed kills, Velocity Wins

Over the next few posts I will write about speed, velocity and their relationship to innovation. Because increasingly innovation is just a method to help a firm increase its speed in a particular direction. Speed will become the new competitive weapon in a highly competitive market, but speed in and of itself is useless without intentional direction and guidance. We’ll look at why speed is ever more important, and how good innovation contributes to speed and velocity.

Another way to think of this is that innovation is a feature, and speed or velocity are the potential benefits. I’m increasingly convinced that velocity in a business sense – getting to the right markets and opportunities faster than others, and doing so intentionally – is the capability that will distinguish winners from losers in the coming years.

Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.