I still meet the odd business-as-usual (BAU) ‘Digital Transformation Denier’. Frankly I think the jury is out. The digital transformation wave is hitting the beach now. The question; in my view, is not ‘is it happening’ but rather ‘do I want to be on the wave or left behind’? The key question then is ‘how to catch the wave’? This blog is directed at that last question.
Grant Reid wrote: “Hi Martin, I'm curious, how did the internal perception of GIS team change after they made this useful data available to the public? For example, did funding for GIS increase? Did people start bringing new opportunities to the team?”
Great question. Firstly, many commentators like to point out that the situation at CERA was unique. My response has always been: ‘Maybe; but success demands no explanation, and failure not alibi’.
With CERA closing its doors for the last time yesterday; I was reflecting on my nearly five years of involvement at CERA including the design, implementation and direction of their world-leading spatial data infrastructure (SDI). Notwithstanding the CERA SDI winning the Technical Excellence category at the inaugural 2014 NZ Spatial Excellence Awards, most of those five years was so full-on there was little time for reflection. Before CERA and the events from 2011 to 2016 pass into the annuals of history; myself with friend and colleague Stephen Ferriss took some time out to reflect on and capture what happened in Christchurch, what we learnt and the possibilities and implications for the geospatial sector; indeed, the Whole of Government. This is assembled in the linked whitepaper on which we would encourage and welcome comment and discussion.
Last year I posted a blog ‘How to cure schizophrenic organisations’. My proposition in that blog was that organisations, like sufferers of the neurodevelopmental disorders autism and schizophrenia; have an information-gating deficit i.e. poor processes for separating the information ‘chaff’ from the critical and important. Everyone, from customers, staff to senior managers struggle to figure out what they should be paying attention to; and what to ignore. There is information coming at them all at once, at the same speed, at the same volume. It’s the information equivalent of ‘Where’s Wally’................
In my last post I talked about the lack of innovation within most organisations and how a combination of our education system and organisational culture have created this ‘Kill the Chicken’ environment.
Comfort is the enemy of innovation. Whatever other elements might come into play, why would you move from a status quo of low-risk typified by abundance and plenty? Necessity is the mother of invention; an old chestnut I know but still true. That said neither scarcity nor repetitive failure is necessarily sufficient to drive innovation............
Philosopher George Santayana described fanaticism as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." Are our organisations full of IT fanatics? Doggedly following practices that were appropriate; even cutting edge ten years ago but are now woefully out of step with the communications demands of a 21st century organisation?
A great article linked below by Jason Boucher about why we have fire extinguishers. Think about it. I have a fire extinguisher in my pantry. I bought it hoping I’d never have to use it.
A Social Media Crisis Management Policy and Action Plan is now a critical part of your organisations Disaster Recover (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) Plans which; like the fire extinguisher, are your ‘hope for the best; plan for the worst’ plans.
And like a grease fire in your kitchen, a negative Social Media story can spread as quickly as; well; wild-fire; regardless of the facts. An emergency response plan is you timely, reasoned, logical 'how-to' guide when you are up to your arm-pits in a fraught and typically emotional situation; rather than trying to work out what happened and what to do about it as a crisis unfolds. To quote Kenny; there’ll be time enough for counting; when the dealing’s done.
Over the years I’ve got to work in and with many different organisations; often in a trouble-shooting role. Typically, by the time we arrive, things are a mess. Characteristics typically include: a failure to recognise what is really going on, both within the own organisation or events affecting it from outside; incorrect assumptions about what is really going on, both within the own organisation or events affecting it from outside; unclear and confused thinking at a strategic and tactical level; inability to adequately communicate; persistent, repetitive failure; and slow, ineffective, often non-existent communication channels.
Many years ago I realised that these symptoms are almost identical to those of people suffering neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
Many organisations have gone down the prohibition route by simply ‘banning’ attachments in emails or imposing impractical ‘red flag’ rules; so-called from the laws enacted by the United Kingdom and the United States in the late 19th century, requiring drivers of early automobiles to have a pedestrian walking in front waving a red flag to warn bystanders of the vehicle's approach.