I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about how to improve organizational performance. It’s part of thinking broader about how technology can be used to support performance, but then you have to have a picture of organizational learning as a whole. As I look at organizations, many are focused on excellence in execution, and quite a few have recognized that the competitive advantage comes from continual innovation. What I’m not seeing enough of is recognizing that the two are intimately linked. They’ll focus on innovation in engineering, and execution in customer service, but not connect the two across the organization.
For example, I’m seeing organizations supporting execution with training, and supporting innovation with knowledge management or eCommunity. I’ll see training groups supporting execution, and management invoking innovation exercises, but management not worrying about training, and training not worrying about innovation.
The thing is, you develop people from novice, through practitioner, to expert. You might hire experts, but you can also develop them. And even experts won’t innovate unless they see the big picture of where the field and organization are going, and are in a supportive culture. And if they’re not developed internally, you’ll have some barriers getting them steeped in the organizational goals and culture.
When I talk about a performance ecosystem, I’m usually talking about the technology infrastructure to support it, but I’m also implicitly talking about the culture and mission. And I’ve been finding it quite useful, with clients, to use that framework to help them look at the larger picture. My question is, are others seeing this too, or am I missing something? Because if others are seeing the concept like I am, and aren’t seeing the implementation, as I’m not, we’ve got a need and an opportunity here to really help some organizations take a significant step forward. What are you seeing?