People, Process, Technology (the sequence matters!)

“A fool with a tool, is still a fool”

An old quote that most people have heard, but few actually learn from.  Tools themselves are great and they help us to achieve more than we could without them (try cutting a piece of wood with your finger!).  However, if we mindlessly pursue new tools purely because they’re shiny, trendy, because everyone else is doing so, we can quite often find ourselves with an expensive white elephant in the room.

Products and Services are generally defined as having people, process and technology components.  What may not be clear though, is that the sequence actually matters.

Technology, process, people can lead to expensive white elephants

Process, technology, people can lead to people becoming a slave to the tool

Let’s see how it should be done:

  1. Transform your people (internal resources and customers)
    1. Open their eyes to new ways of thinking about (or framing) problems
    2. Enable them to experiment
    3. Celebrate the lessons learned from failed experiments
    4. Let the people decide on the service / product strategy (let them own it)
  1. Your people can now transform your processes
    1. Work on whiteboards with post-it-notes
    2. Do what if scenarios (good and bad)
    3. Empower them to design how they want to operate (and work together)
    4. Integrate Lean techniques to remove wastage
    5. You’re only complete when an end-to-end process is mapped out and approved
  1. You can now look for technologies
    1. Look for off-the-shelf solutions that can digitalise your end-to-end process
    2. Be open to creating a toolchain of best-in-class solutions
    3. Nothing suitable in the market? Build it yourself and dominate!
    4. Can your new technology be utilised by other parts of the business? Integrate into your corporate standards and benefit from economies of scale!

Feeling happy now that you have motivated and empowered teams.  That your customers are delighted?  You should be!  But now is not the time to sit back and relax.

Your competitors have noticed your success, and will quickly catch up!  After all, it’s much easier to copy than it is to innovate.

Time to jump back to step 1.  What other customer problems can you help with?