Wednesday 29 June 2016

Successful organizations and the creative process

David Smith, The IET's Head of Product Solutions, writes:

"I cut my teeth in this business, under the original scholarly start-up environment of the legendary Vitek Tracz and his various ‘crazy ideas’ (that he generally managed to sell to the traditional publishers and thus make his return). Late 90s and early 2Ks. It was a wild ride.

Looking back over 15+ years, it’s fascinating to see what has changed and what hasn’t. In our world, we’ve ridden the wave. We digitised our back catalogues, the subscription business model still works well, the OA charging model is humming along nicely. We are not the Newspapers, or the Recording Artists, or the Bookstores and the Record Shops; The High Streets and Main Streets.

Yet we have challenges; the ennui that accompanies the knowledge that our money makers are all very mature things indeed. The knowledge, that despite the above, the networked world has not been kind to other mature businesses. The people who pay for our services are not the people who use them, day to day. We don’t have the luxury of a signal from the user that can be measured by credit card transactions. It’s very hard to connect a piece of new functionality to an increase in ROI. And a new product? Well, it’s probably fighting for existing money, from another product somewhere. New markets, proper new markets, are hard things to reach in our world, and they have fundamentally different environmental parameters.

And the way we are set up as organizations can also be challenging. Mature successful long lasting organizations (many of whom measure their existence in centuries!) have survived by optimising themselves to do what they do, day to day, very effectively. 

The new new thing can be and often is, an existential challenge. Will and I experienced that cognitive dissonance many times with attendees of our (ever evolving) Web 2.0 course.

Like Will, I also help my organization work out what things to focus on and how to best deliver them. And I ‘have people’ who then get to work with the engineering needed for the products to come to life. I’m increasingly fascinated by the processes that successful product shippers use. Iteration; rigorous analytics; unity of purpose; cross functional team building; horizon scanning and rapid delivery and more.

Because one thing is true; the successful organizations, the ones that ‘disrupt’ the old guard, are the ones that have figured out an end-to-end creative process that enables them to outflank their competition.

We will be using the twitter hashtag #alpspcreate to share interesting links on the run up and after the course, please do join the conversation."

David Smith is co-tutor on the new Disruption, Innovation and Creativity training course alongside Will Russell from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Further details and booking on the ALPSP website.

Read Will Russell's post he asks where could new ideas come from?

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