Never in modern history have companies been so vulnerable to disruption.
Failure to adapt to rapid change, failure to address disruption, and adopting to a more complex international economic environment – all these pressures and more are causing what were once large, dominant blue-chip companies to turn into penny shares.
Today, more than ever, organisations need to harness their people and technology and become more intelligent; to innovate faster than their competitors and build an adaptive capability inside their teams at scale.
There are three things that organizations need to do to accomplish this:
1. Close the gap between business and analytics teams
While in the military, I worked in a highly complex environment on operations in Afghanistan. Surfacing relevant information to front line teams to support decision making and inspire action was of critical importance. And it’s also key in business.
This is not about dashboards and data visualisation! Rather, providing analytics teams with the context of the business challenge and allowing them to explore and find the best solution. What decision needs to be made, when and against a clearly defined value comes from the quality of interaction between business and analytics teams.
Clarifying the purpose behind the business challenge and finding your intrinsic motivation, builds trust between domain and analytics teams.
2. Help teams ask better questions
This isn’t about hiring a room full of MBAs and asking them to come up with the next great idea or question that we need answered. Nor is it about staging an innovation offsite where we all get together and ask ourselves what we need to know or death by a thousand post-it-notes.
Rather, this is about Messy Teams, where teams are formulating the right business themes to explore against and are then supported with the right skills and technology to uncover the gaps in their understanding against this theme. Here teams move from “what do we need to do?” towards “what do we need to know?”. Then we go to data.
Capturing alternative perspectives in Messy Teams is critical. Cognitive diversity is the competitive advantage here, where members of different departments, backgrounds with different skills and expertise help teams formulate the right questions.
The winning skill of teams to become more intelligent will be the ability to balance these thinking skills for any particular scenario. They will be able to avoid an over-reliance on analytical thinking and employ the right techniques to trigger lateral thinking to gain new insights and situational awareness. Here is where we get to the right questions!
3. Break data silos
Finally, now we have staged the right conversations and surfaced the right questions, teams need to be guided around what to do next and take action.
The value of data is not being unlocked at scale due to organisational silos. Leaders need to maintain an enthusiasm in their teams to share insights and questions to other teams. Today, technology such as machine learning can help here and start to push such insights to other business areas.
Seeing Around Corners
It all comes down to teams. Here, they need to master interactions with big data by formulating better questions. A forward-looking, discovery-driven mindset will fuel innovation and adaptability as teams move away from command and control and centralized planning processes that impeded this great opportunity.
Teams that translate their insights to other teams in their network will contribute to the value multiplier of a data ecosystem that they are part.
The synchronicity of experience and data in teams is where true advantage lies.
Intelligent organisations do not rely on business experience and gut instinct alone.
About the author
To hear more from Graham, check out this week’s podcast: LID Radio Episode 79.