Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022
If You Really Understand Disruption, Start by Demolishing Your Organization’s Silos


A good article in Inc., “Why Intelligent Minds Like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs Embrace the ‘No Silo Rule’”, highlights an issue I have encountered on numerous occasions when trying to illustrate the importance of disruption in corporate environments: the need to communicate to the entire organization, to make it part of the corporate culture.

As much as we may think that an innovative company is all about attracting the best and the brightest in a given technology and get them to help us incorporate that technology into our products or services, in reality the key lies not in specialization, but in being able to align the entire organization in grasping the importance of disruption.

That’s how it worked with the internet, with mobility, with customer orientation, and now, machine learning: the companies that will have the best chance of incorporating disruptive technology into their products or services so as to give them a sustainable competitive advantage will be those that share that technology with their employees. And that means all of them: those who design the products or services, who manufacture or provide them, who sell them, who provide after-sales service, who design the financial architecture, and those who deal with suppliers. It doesn’t matter what you do in the organization: if it has to incorporate or adapt to a disruptive technology, everybody needs to understand the what, the where, the why, the how and the when, because the who, believe it or not, will be you.

When Google understood that machine learning would be absolutely fundamental to its future, that its chances of success lay in getting all its products to incorporate it, and that its artificial intelligence would had to be more intelligent than that of its competitors, its immediate decision was to train all its staff in machine learning so that they would understand its importance. This is the same approach, at another level, that the Finnish government has taken: if artificial intelligence is going to be crucial within the next business ecosystem, we must try to educate the population so everybody understands at least the basics through courses that are open to all.

If you run an organization and want disruption to be fully part its future and to be able to play a fundamental role in how that happens; don’t limit yourself to signing up a few masterminds, providing them with the means and then locking them away in their own department. Instead, educate the whole organization, even when AI and machine learning doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their job. This is the only way to get everybody on board and to move forward by truly understanding what they are doing and by placing importance on the things that matter. If you don’t, before long, you will regret it.

This post was previously published on Enrique Dans.

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