The Role of Change Networks

The world is fast becoming  densely connected,  introducing both new promise and new peril.

With data flowing openly across most international borders, consumers have become creators, and new innovation, risks and news cascade through the system immune to local politics. For organizations to prevent innovation turning from promise to peril, they need to implement new strategies, management models and processes to facilitate innovation staying within the corporate walls until as a collective group they are ready to share it. Unfortunately, many organizations are relying on outdated IT policies as the governing force.

When new promises are constrained by old policies and practices, the effectiveness of these constraints tend to break down as individuals self-organize into movements in an attempt to circumvent barriers to the progress of ‘new promise’. So what is holding corporates back from harnessing promise and preventing peril?

At the moment, many organizations are in what can only be described as data crisis. For years, data was only seen as a transactional historical record. With the introduction of business intelligence capability, data is now finally being recognised for its strategic and highly competitive value. However, outmoded IT policy constraints restricting access to that data is turning opportunities into points of frustration. In addition, social networks are being viewed as disruptive to corporate productivity, rather than a new pathway to universal interconnectedness at the physical, software, and social level.

Networks are core channels to global change. There existence is beyond the control of individual organizations. As such, organizations must change to support associated technology innovation, such as:

• Device innovations – such as iPhone, ebook readers and netbooks
• Open source and open standards – two growing powers
• Social networking – in all its forms
• Location awareness
• Online video

Each of these elements has the potential to create new kinds of businesses, and business networks must be configured to support these new business models. In my last blog I covered how innovation today is no longer seen in terms of products and innovation, but rather in innovation of business models, business processes and management models.

Underlying each of these innovations is a robust information technology platform that is more than just about standard corporate services such as computing and communications. IT policy-makers and stakeholders need to pay more attention to keeping their policies up to date with the technologies and business models they are designed to support. One way of doing this is through an integrated Change Network. Change networks help to link together all aspects of change within a business – technology, process, people, products & services, markets, policy etc. As a cross organizational collaborative function they serve to signal where policies are acting inappropriately, whilst at the same time serving to protect competitive IP from inappropriate circulation. If a business model releases the points of frustration, users become more open and collaborative, and trust that good ideas will not die due to poor policy. Everyone wins!

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