I love the much talked about story of iPod’s success. Sony had amazing advantages even before Apple with amazing artists, the Walkman team, audio division, products, et all. Yet, it was Apple Inc. who stole the show with the iPod. Integration, can cost an enterprise dear.
India Inc is betting high with an industry wide change management exercise. Wipro has set it hopes in Holmes, TCS in Ignio and, so on. Let’s do a Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) of idea generation. Keeping the FMEA steps in mind of Detect-Severity-Probability-Detection- Risk number, here is what happens behind the scenes:
The biggest and largest road block of an idea taking to orbit is-people. Its greatest strength is also this greatest doom. Internal company groups, the lunch time friends, the silent rivals and the ‘my way or the high way’ types kill a genuine and amazing idea.
Departments were created to bring in some structure to the job. To bring in roles, levels and spans of control. This very organized landscape is the noose around an idea’s neck. Department-A won’t work with department-B why? Because, both heads don’t see eye to eye on the same strategies and ideas. Vijay C, from a leading internet security company says “I need complete control over my projects or I don’t touch it. Hence every idea taking birth is strangled the moment it goes to the next level in the process.
“I’d love to get everyone together on a WhatsApp group but, it’s not company policy to have one.” The moment we suggest a formal group for say HR or Legal to be on one group. In comes the policy brigade and promptly handcuffs the potential. In my earlier role when I created an informal trainers group I got all sorts of comments when launching it. Won’t our content get compromised? How can you send material to them on their email? Will trainers still be relevant? and, so on. Today its a must have for companies to nurture budding trainers.
Now this one is a changing. While industry leaders have realized that the budget should have some element of impartial- isness in it. Or a good deal may be missed. Buy an App, rolling out a new assessment, planning a new training. The idea still has budget hoops to jump through- the all famous business case, then presentation to a committee, then a buy-in then finally when every man and his dog seems to benefit by buying cutting edge VC equipment. The budget ‘may’ get allotted.
Why should I leverage? After buying something it’s important to use it. Sanjit a cardiologist with XYZ Hospital says “I’ve seen a million dollar diagnostic equipment lying unused. Why? Because the idea was implemented by the central head and the branch head was not on the same plane. This resulted in the equipment lying unleveraged. The corporate landscape is no different. Refusal to use a new tool, equipment or services. For the simple reason because the other team using didn’t have a say in its procurement.
Did you discuss with me? When all teams are not made partners in the idea. When everyone does not get visibility and share of the pie. That’s a sure idea killer. Companies spend millions of dollars training on integration, cohesion and building a team spirit. But till we have “that is your track and this is mine” the field will not clear itself.
Rewards & Recognition (R&R) electric chair: This, in my view, is the biggest bargaining chip for an idea. After all, all we do what we do for the extrinsic rewards and being seen as a ‘champion’ at the annual, quarterly R&R. I once had a complete department refuse to support a winning proposition only because their department wouldn’t get recognized for it.
The lines from the movie ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meat Balls’ encapsulates the solution for me. I learnt this- this test-it (secretly if required), get influencers on the table, have people talk about it at all levels and then make it jump through all the hoops. Given that we can’t change hundreds of years of departmentalization, we can certainly disrupt it with this, Idea. What say?