It seems these days the words complexity and technology go hand-in hand, the mixing and matching of tools, techniques, frameworks, hardware, corporate vs consumer needs and paradigms of innovation have put us in a horrible tangled web we just can’t seem to get out of. Somehow by trying to make our lives easier with technology we’ve made it horribly complex. And unfortunately by complexifying innovation, we’ve probably already started to kill it.
In 2014 make a resolution to reverse this trend. Simplify the way in which you approach technology by better defining what it is (and isn’t), what it takes to carry it out, and what is needed to enable technology to work for you – not against you.
First understand technology’s true relationship with innovation. Innovation is the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods. One of the ways we’ve botched up innovations relationship with technology is by letting almost any kind of change fall under this umbrella – whether it be a small processing improvement, or add-on service, even a new corporate sanctioned device. These are all good things, but they should be part of the normal course of business and the drive for continuous improvement. For technology to foster and enable innovation on the other hand, it needs to be truly new, discontinuous, disruptive, and value creating. So let’s stop putting “incremental,” and “adjacent” improvements under the technology enabled innovation umbrella.
Secondly, the correlation between innovation and technology has gotten a bad rep. These days all over the blog scene you see titles like this one “If you’re not innovating your dead” but truth be told most individuals or organizations are at best fast followers with any form of innovation and technology adoption with vendors they already know – never-mind a new vendor, a or a new technology, or a new provider. However, my advice would be to go outside that bubble because the apprehension you so rightly have against moving too quickly into a technology enabled innovation strategy is because you’ve remained in the same box, dealing with the same issues and the same complexities over and over again. Which segues perfectly into my third point.
Try something different – You may be pleasantly surprised. All to often we get stuck playing with all the same tools, meet with the same sales reps and get fed the same Kool-Aide over and over again. When we buy or renew we realize just how far down the rabbits hole we’ve gotten – riddled in feature creep (most of which you will not use), dispersed uncentralized dashboards for the same product line that you now have to add on-top-of all your existing dashboards, more training, loss of valuable time and energy and ultimately more headaches. No wonder everyone wants to innovate but can never get around to it and who is to blame… right now its the complexity associated with technology. But its not all technology’s fault, it’s the lack of diversity of products/solutions and services available to you, it is the comfort a status quo technology may offer at the time, its the lack of trusted solutions and service providers going outside their bubble to help you innovate with simplified solutions that are just as robust as the status quo options with one big difference they are simple and painless, not to mention tried and true. Lastly, it’s the lack of passion providers have for providing whats best for your needs, guiding you through the process and being there even when the ask is out-of-scope.
Innovation doesn’t have to be hard to achieve – technology should not equal complexity. Innovation and technology are part and parcel to a continuous process of progression that goes beyond project based approaches to maintain growth and sustainability – trusted guidance by an enthusiastic provider can make all the difference to show you how to move from the “old” to “new”.