Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.

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September 26, 2012

What is your dream?


I recently attended the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center along with 65,000 of my closest friends. Reminiscent of the heady, pre-implosion days (remember how we were going to change "everything"?),, the conference sponsor, has embraced "social mobility" (the tablet on the move) as the next big thing and a key ingredient of their future vision... and I agree!

In the business to consumer space, the vision is impressive, and the value proposition is less about saving money and more about increasing engagement, trust and revenue.

Inside the conference, I was swept up into a mid 21st Century view of consumers that would pay premium prices for instant access to products, services and connections, but as I walked the four short blocks between Moscone West and the hotel where the technical conferences that I came to attend were being held, I was bombarded with early 21st Century homelessness, poverty and discouragement.

What is your dream of how technology will "change everything". How do you see us bridging the gap between the present and the promise of a future where everyone is connected and enabled by the devices they carry? What does the "cloud" mean for the aging and the poor?

I know the clich├ęs; charity starts at home, you are never too old to learn, as the top rises it will lift the bottom; but I am not hearing value based solutions and I am a bottom line type of guy. What are your thoughts? Solutions? Observations? How can technology become the equal playing field that it promises to be?

Please weigh in!

September 24, 2012

Let Go of My Levers!


Morten T. Hansen has an intersting post at HBR Blogs entitled "Ten Ways to Get People to Change".  Each of the ten ideas is compelling (and apparently well researched), as is Hansen's advice to use all of them, not just one or two.  Yet I cannot help but feel uneasy about the implicit (and surely unintended) hubris in the very title of his post.

The idea that we can "get people to change", and that there are ways (ten of them, to be exact) to do it ... well, what change management consultant in his right mind would want to argue the point?  On the other hand, when I hear talk about "pulling the right levers" to "get the right behavior" (even when we're pulling those levers on ourselves, as Hansen suggests), I get worried.  It's not to say we shouldn't do some (or all) of the things Hansen suggests. They are good ideas. (In fact, I especially like ideas 3-5, which have all kinds of interesting implications for the use of social media).  The danger I see is in reducing the person to a mechanistic level, to a sort of emotional machine we can calibrate at will.

I prefer John Seely Brown's approach -- or rather, I should say, the spirit of his approach -- as outlined in his book (co-authored with Douglas Thomas), A New Culture of Learning.  Brown is all about change, adaptation, and adoption, but without all the levers and lever-pulling.  You don't hear Brown talk much about "getting people to change".  Instead, he talks about "cultivating imagination" -- and doing this by optimizing the seemingly boundless scope and resources of social networks within a bounded (problem-focused) learning environment.  He talks about the vital role of play and the need to instill the childlike dispositions that enable us to act in new ways.  This is a very different thing from "getting people to change".  Of course, change we must, and we must be able to measure our progress toward change adoption.  Those of us who manage complex change cannot turn all squishy about these things.  Take a look at Brown's book.  The guy is a serious research scientist.  He's not making this stuff up.  There is also a humanistic quality to his approach (although some might dismiss it as a Birkenstock quality) that I find appealing, and which might be very effective when helping groups of human beings deal with change.