You are probably familiar with Parkinson’s law, either by name or just by experience. Parkinson’s Law states: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. We have all seen this dreaded fact play out on a project at some point. And without proper planning and tracking the available time tends to expand as well, along with the work.
We recently hosted a group of mid-career executives who are in the Global Executive MBA program at the IESE Business School in Barcelona. We have done this collaboration for several years now, and it's enlightening to see how the students are facing an ever-changing set of innovation challenges. Given the diversity of countries and industries (everything from energy to telecom, government to nonprofit) and company sizes (multinationals to startups) there are some striking commonalities that emerge. See if these feel familiar, and consider if they are trending up or down for your business:
Playing off of the obvious (and sometimes absurd) stereotypes of business and technology leaders inside product and services organizations and where they often direct their focus and priorities, our fictional CMO and CTO characters walk into a bar and order the same cocktail. While the CTO might be taking account of the ingredient ratios, mixing sequence, and transfer method from shaker to glass as the bartender executes the order, the CMO likely awaits the final appeal of color, aroma, taste, and most importantly, effect after delivery (especially if there is resource negotiation to be done with said CTO!). Regardless, both appreciate having a quality result in hand and getting down to business.
While the entire communications ecosystem has been buzzing for some time about what the “cloud” would or could do, the world of radio access equipment had stayed pretty unaffected by the hype. But things are changing rapidly, and the cloudis shaking up the staid world of mobile antennas too. On display at Mobile World Congress this year was a revolutionary technology that, apart from offering other benefits, could significantly improve the urban and rural skyline forever.
If the jam-packed Android booth at Mobile World Congress, the ubiquity of the robot logo, and the line of people queuing up 2 hours ahead of Erik Schmidt's (swan song) keynote, then the answer is "yes." The booth actually had a nice vibe to it; though it was crowded, it was also quite easy going and people were enjoying themselves. There was a nice smoothie bar making interesting flavored drinks named after Android releases (Honeycomb, etc.). The entire space was really focused on app and hardware partners showing off their wares (all wearing matching t-shirts no doubt provided by Google - take that fragmentation!)
It is common knowledge that most new products and services fail when brought to market. Charles Kettering, Board Member of GM (1920-1947) famously noted that when it comes to innovation: “You don't know when you are going to get the thing, whether it’s going to work or not and whether it’s going to have any value whatsoever." And even as things may have improved a bit since Kettering’s time, thanks to today’s attention to innovation processes and user-centered development practices, there’s still uncertainty that haunts all innovation attempts.