Bootcamp & Battle Scars – the great integration situation
In our second episode of Bootcamp & Battle Scars we catch up with two thought-leaders from the innovation sector. Who work for frontier firms - those out there doing the mahi, making innovation happen.
Change is constant, it’s not about doing one big change and going back to normal, if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that there is no normal. Constant change is the norm now. Being too focussed on long-term innovation means you’re less likely to be able to adapt to changes and opportunities that crop up. Conversely having your focus on only short-term innovation means you’re not going to be able to make those key infrastructural changes that can move your business forward. So, how do we find the balance?
Mark Jaffray, GM of IT at Fletcher Building, and Michael Tapp, Director at Cyma Ltd, share their learnings and perspectives on how strategy and technology must be linked to survive and prosper in this ever changing world. Organisations doing innovation well have the technology function integrated throughout the business and, most importantly, have it sitting at the strategic table.
“A lot of businesses have always done a good business strategy and then after they nail the business strategy along comes the IT strategy to help enable it. It’s after the fact and wasn't considered at the right time, at the right level” says Mark.
“So, they now need to be merged and done as one strategy. I think the change with COVID, the pace of digital transformation, what's happening in the market is starting to draw that together. We’re seeing a lot more of the right conversations happening at the right level, which is really encouraging, and IT and technology has got more of a seat at the table.”
Mark and Michael both stress the importance of having a framework for innovation. Without a framework, ideas for innovation can come in at break-neck pace, only to bottleneck at the technology department, which is likely already busy making sure the business-as-usual operations are ticking along. Identifying the need for a framework and putting one in place, to receive requests, review and prioritise them, allocate resources, and most importantly, fund them, will result in a flow of innovation that is manageable and ultimately leads to outcomes.
Being able to articulate this framework is also integral. We need to be able to talk about it, to change it and improve it. “What we're really talking about here is not just continuous improvement in the sense of your core business production, but continuous improvement in the supporting framework that allows you to change on an ongoing basis as well,” says Michael.
“Without a way of improving that framework. We get stuck in something that worked yesterday but may not work down the line” agrees Adrian.
Engaging in robust and challenging conversations across different functions will ultimately result in technology and innovation becoming embedded within organisations. Mark goes so far as to encourage a bit of disagreement, “what you need is to bring the challenges from the technology teams or from the business together with those senior technologists, create that tension and have robust discussions, that might feel bit awkward at some stages, but you're going to get the right outcome, and you just need to continually evolve. We can't sit still anymore, the pace of change is going to be rapid, that's not going to let up.”
Check out the full episode to hear some more ideas on how to find the balance. Bootcamp & Battle Scars is available to listen on Spotify or to view on YouTube. If you or your organization are keen to join the Bootcamp and Battle Scars conversation or you have a question for any of the team, drop us a line at [email protected] and we'll be in touch!
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