Collaborative Platform Innovation - How to Ride the Wave Without Being Swamped
In an excellent article by the Deloitte Press (“From Exponential Technologies to Exponential Innovation” http://dupress.com/articles/from-exponential-technologies-to-exponential-innovation/?id=us:em:na:dup401:eng:tmt:111813&elq=f8bfb953b98e4687a716d6467766ddcb&elqCampaignId=1035) we found a critical conclusion regarding collaborative platforms:
In addition, open collaboration platforms are providing freelancers, entrepreneurs, students, and corporate institutions global reach. These collaboration platforms create unseen opportunities on a scale that was previously only achievable by multinational corporations. These disruptions are occurring even as Internet penetration remains low in many regions of the world. As more of the developing world comes online, the impact of its productive capacity will further amplify the pace of exponential innovation.
Embedded in the paragraph are linked challenges and opportunities. If organizations fail to harness and apply powerful changes in collaborative platforms, they will – in the best case – lose competitive advantage. In the worst instance, they will cease to exist. The drivers and dynamics of technical change are givens – they are with us for the foreseeable future whether you want them or not. They do not depend on any one organization or set of resources – they are ubiquitous – and your workforce knows it.
We at AKG have been arguing for some time that the key focus for organizations is in the delta between the pace of technical change and organizational change. It is unlikely that any human enterprise is going to keep up with the aggregated pace of technical change – so the question becomes: How does the organization develop the ongoing capacity to identify, harness and apply relevant changes in technology? How do organizations shed the behaviors and artifacts that were key to an era of slower change but are millstones around the neck of innovation in today’s environment?
It is possible to create this strategic capacity for technical absorption and innovation, but it will take time, focus, resources, and a willingness to let go of the familiar. For example, in one U.S. Government organization, 42,000 end users control the configuration and use of collaborative technology based on their changing business needs. They have a flexible governance structure that allows them a large measure of local control while honoring the corporate need for security, cost-containment, etc. There is an “adoption-engine” that can be swiftly refocused on new technologies – by providing training, workshops and platforms for innovation. This capability has been nine years in the making, but it provides this large organization with a strategic edge that many others would envy.
Will it always take nine years? Not necessarily. With the right corporate support and a clear sense of urgency, we’ve done it in less than two years by building on what we’ve learned.