My perspective as a life-long business technologist predisposes me to the reality of constant change. Businesses today cannot stop innovating, because technology and impactful technological change is pervasive. The concept of the internet of things continues to undersell the magnitude of the change given that everything is becoming connected and that everything is signaling, everything has a voice, everything has a vote!
From an information technology perspective, a mantra today is continuous experimentation and continuous innovation. In the context of a customer, monolithic step by step projects which rollout functionality years after beginning are relics. Today’s successful and customer integrated enterprise rolls out functionality continually, continually experimenting and continually testing what works better today than it did yesterday.
A challenge in all this innovation and experimentation is developing a pathway or roadmap. It certainly can’t be a traditional and detailed plan that covers months or years – that would most likely constrain the delivery of experimentation and true innovation.
The innovation pathway then, must be hypothesis driven. There must be something of value or something tangible that an organization is driving towards; there should be a target since innovation probably won’t be random. The hypothesis, the aspects of customer connectedness or customer preferences that an enterprise is aiming to refine, is then tested against big data. Big data becomes the data source, the repository of feedback that needs to be sifted through in order to prove or disprove the hypothesis. This is very much the scientific method applied to massive data resulting from very many “test subjects”. The hypothesis has to be in place to guide the innovation, otherwise the investment in effort and time will just be random experimentation instead of targeted innovation.
A significant challenge in most organizations with Information Technology professionals schooled in rigorous and methodical processes is how to become agile and then stay that way. There is tremendous value in a deep background of IT experiences and leadership; experience is a prerequisite to successful innovation – the challenge is to shift the mindset and timeframe of expectations to an agile one.
Connect with me if you are interested in discussing Information Technology innovation in your enterprise.