11/1/2011 – What’s over the horizon: Discovery in business
Our world would be very different if Columbus and his intrepid team had maintained the theory that the world was flat and never tried sailing beyond the horizon. But because of their courage and determination, everyone the world over discovered the earth was actually round and there were more lands, people and places out there than we’d imagined.
While Columbus’ discovery changed our world, he was following in the footsteps of explorers before him just as others would come after the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Where would your organization be if no one there had this similar drive to discover? At DROSTE, many of the innovations we’ve made have come from the questions raised by our employees and our clients. This discovery takes us down a natural path of evolution, allowing us to grow beyond the status quo.
So, who is the change agent in your office? Who’s the person asking the questions? If you’re lucky, it’s someone at C-level. If you’re really lucky it’s someone who not only likes to ask questions, but act on the answers. Because just asking isn’t enough.
Keys to Organizational Discovery
Ask the question, work the problem, brainstorm on the white board, whatever it takes
2. Development Process
Once the question has been asked and answered, it’s time to put your ideas into motion. For some of us, this is as simple as a to-do list, but for large corporations implementing major change, it means change management, including a documented process with a timeline, assignments, milestones and deadlines. (Although not necessarily a Gantt Chart. Those things can be hard to read.
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to implement it. In any organization, this means identifying your strongest “doers” and handing them a checklist. The trickiest part of this is giving them enough leeway to do the job, but also offering support in case they need it.
Enacting a plan and following the steps is all well and good, but it’s imperative that you test it as well. Releasing a product or process without proper vetting can be disastrous whether your users are internal, external or the public at large. People will always make recommendations for the way something new could be better, but you don’t want them pointing out major bugs.
Okay, you’ve tested, prepped your team, prepped your market, it’s time to get this thing off your desk. And now, it’s time to launch. Be sure that, as with every other step in this process, you have a plan.
Sometimes the easiest thing to do is make a change. It’s checking in, following up, asking questions after the fact that can be a challenge.
Your first attempt at change following a major discovery will be difficult. However, unlike Columbus, you won’t have to deal with scurvy or dwindling supplies. But even with obstacles, the act of discovery and the change it brings is worth it; for your business, for your employees and for you.