Innovation and IT in a VUCA world

Tim Foley
Tim Foley on Jun 12, 2020 1:36:51 PM

computer-innivate

If you're of that generation that lives between Gen X and Millennial's, then you can concur that technology and digital transformation have influenced your life at every turn.   You aren't young enough to have been born into technology and not old enough that it’s "cute" when you "don't get it".  It's a generation that has been in the eye of a transformation technology tornado from early life until now.

From playing outside, to video games.
Text books and fountain pens, to word processors.
Developing film, to digital photography.
Print ads, to digital media.
Face to face connections, to social media and zoom calls.
File cabinets, to servers.
Data centers, to the cloud.

And now, the latest transformation, cubicles to remote work and home offices. 

It's fascinating to watch how technology continues to accelerate processes, mitigate risk, connect, transform and grow businesses.

Think about how history has led us to the transformations we are witnessing today.

Gabriel-Alphonse Desjardins, founding father of credit unions, established over 200 Caisses Populaires in his lifetime. During his early years in the newspaper industry he witnessed the rise of pulp paper making, allowing faster publishing and mass distribution.  This lead to the introduction of telegraph networks to send information – it would’ve seemed like magic seeing that first telegram message arrive from hundreds of miles away!

In his work as a courthouse stenographer he would have seen the introduction of the first stenograph machine - a transformation from pen to machine.

Innovation and technological breakthroughs were world changing in his lifetime, from 1854 – 1920.  The bicycle, radio, plastics, flights, and let’s not forget cornflakes and the can opener!   Fun fact, he also lived during two pandemics.

I’d like to think the wondrous change and adversity around him fueled the innovative spirit that drove him to build and transform an industry, to leave a legacy that has changed all of our lives.

Imagine for a moment explaining our current world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) to him.  He may argue, not much has changed. Innovation may have accelerated but the principles remain the same – embrace and leverage all that is available to you, approach it with childlike amazement or be left behind and unprepared.

This has never been more relevant than right now!

Information technology, “IT” has networked its way into every aspect of our lives. IT is in the hands and minds of our children, our employees, and our customers.

IT is in our cars, personal accessories, homes, businesses, and all systems we touch. IT is even in the words – VolatilITy, ComplexITy and AmbiguITy (you can imagine my disappointment when UncertainTy didn’t work, although it’s in there somewhere!)

dont worry about me -go change the world-1

The overarching question is, are you letting IT govern you or are you governing it?

In all the noise, we as humans can still hold the upper hand, and through the power of community and team thinking we can bring human-only traits of creativity, imagination, intuition, ethics, and emotion to bear.  

People before technology, human centered design – we are the why, IT is the how.

The past few months have shown us that in a VUCA world you don’t know what your people and customers might ask or need you to be next year, next week or even tomorrow.

You must build culture, technology infrastructure, and team environments that are flexible and responsive to change and innovation.

If you don’t, your competitors will. The companies that are winning today are built on flexible platforms ready to be nimble and pivot to any global and market conditions.

IT and all of its possibilities may seem chaotic, and the current situation overwhelming, but there are ways to seek and find answers.

Through effective communication and collaboration, and by allowing open and honest dialogue, you can bring your teams together to first establish who you aspire to be and then harness IT to support and power your visions and plans into reality.

Intentional cultural change takes courage, vulnerability, and empathy, but you are not alone. Throughout your organization and vendor networks you will find all the resources you need. Everyone you know is at a different stage of their digital transformation journey and everyone is willing to help. Don't be afraid to be curious.  Don't be afraid of change. 

Despite the challenges facing us, it’s an amazing time to be alive and we have an opportunity (and responsibility) to leverage all the technology at our disposal to build a new way of living and working.

Together we can shift Volatility to Stability, Uncertainty to Certainty, Complexity to Simplicity, and Ambiguity to Clarity and that can lead to the growth of our communities, cooperatives, and our HumanITy. Yes, that has IT in it too!


TS - Transform Protect logo(mini)WE TRANSFORM & PROTECT

We Transform & Protect by putting People Before Technology. We believe that the technology your business relies on should be used to drive  transformation and lead to a seamless user experience.  In uncertain times it’s important to partner with people and companies you can trust.   Think|Stack was built for situations like this, to help those who weren’t. 

If you’re unsure what to do next or if you have questions about your technology, our Think|Stack tribe is here to help, contact us anytime.

 

Topics: cybersecurity, innovation, design thinking, business resilience, human centered design, technology, Information Technology

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