Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quantum leaps

Technology at the hardware level is moving at amazing speeds.. 2 TB disks are now at the 100 USD price level. Smartphones have more power and capability than desktop PCs of only a few years ago. If only industry could make the same quantum improvements in our business processes then the financial/business crisis would be truly solved, not just declared as solved via Powerpoint. We look to pretty powerpoint charts and written standards to show that we are doing good things. That just gets us stuck in a false belief that we are good.

The big question is "why is this not possible". There are 2 reasons. First, hardware has no feelings (yet). The 1 TB disk that was 100 USD last year doesn't know that it is replaced by a 2 TB disk. The 500 Mhz mobile processor replaced by a 1 Ghz Snapdragon in new phones will continue to faithfully do its job in its phone for many years until the phone isn't used anymore. We humans on the other hand are very sensitive to being replaced. In general we are very insecure about change, doing new things, experimenting, and most of all failure.

"Failure is not an option" was the mantra of Apollo 13 but it should not be the mantra of people who are tasked with the success of businesses. Only by stepping beyond what we know today and by trying new methods and processes and sometimes experiencing failure will we know that we've truly will take us to make our businesses truly world class and industry leaders.

Fear of new things or the unknown is nothing new. is a YouTube video of portion of a 60 Minutes 1982 interview with RAdm Grace Hopper (then Capt.) regarding change. It's worth a few minutes to watch.

Don't forget about the past but look forward to what could be and don't look for reasons NOT to change but rather never stop looking for reasons and opportunities to improve.

Very few companies are innovating at the speed of hardware. The company that can do that will DEFINE "World Class" and be an industry leader. The others are followers and copiers.