Part 7: Blocking Productivity
Any sales person who has tried to sell a better mouse trap to an executive will have experienced the fortress that has been put in place to keep new ideas out. The intent is to control access to the executive’s time but this keeps out sales individuals who often bring new ideas and opportunities. Secretaries, receptionists, restricted voicemails and spam filters are but a few of the practices that stifle potentially valuable communication. In the executives defence, there is an enormous barrage of people and stuff coming at them however the breakthrough ideas or products that would propel their function or company often get lost. One can lose out on the opportunity to become a differentiated early adopter, destined to remain an also ran follower.
Poor communication is most likely the top restraint of growth in business and productivity within an organization. Without good communications, ideas don’t get tabled and explored let alone enhanced or realized. They never see the light of day and are lost.
In designing the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) and devising its role as an incubator, communication was high on our priorities list – we wanted ideas shared. In the temporary location that houses our development staff during the ATC construction period, we’ve observed a notable boost in communication and collaboration because of the office layout. We’ve achieved a meaningful and more complete exchange of ideas, a deeper level of understanding and much faster turnaround times on deliverables. The strong bond which has occurred amongst the developers from different disciplines is critically important to productivity. Subject matter experts in AI and Supply Chain don’t speak the same business language; our improved, frequent exchanges have led to a more thorough understanding of needs and solutions. We’ve used an open space environment with stand up desks that allow teams to huddle. We have a mix of smart, well educated and multicultural younger and older researchers. These combined elements are working and have been designed into our ATC.
Through the ATC, we strive to be fast developers of unique supply chain applications and this ability to communicate effectively has been vital to improving our time to market. In our ATC design we have made provisions for customers to work alongside of our development team and we want this same cultural experience to extend to all ATC participants. We recognize that, depending on the size and complexity of a project and the level of engagement that a customer choses to adopt, the gelling of a team is important for rapid alignment to goals and schedule attainment.
We have added more features to the ATC to facilitate cooperation and innovation. High CRI LED lighting, vibrant paint colors and stand up desks with huddle room complement our ambition for a stimulating and collaborative workspace. The ATC is small but its impact is huge. Our advance technology is solving chronic supply base component issues with cost, security of supply and compliance to either design requirements or stakeholder expectations. It can accommodate onsite customer participation as well as remote contributions. The scope of participation ranges from assistance in product definition and specification through verification and early adoption to full scale custom applications.
We want to integrate customers into our environment so that our developments squarely address their needs. We do not want to work on what you are doing but, instead, what you are doing it for. We want to get usable answers in your hands so that you can take action quickly. To do this we would like input as to what answers you need and how our next generation products should give you these answers. Hence our ATC participation offer.
Phase 1 of our AI development initiative is coincidently coming to a conclusion at the same time as construction and fit up completion. We now have the core technology building blocks needed to address chronic supply base issues. As reported in my last blog, we are in the planning stage for the 2018 program and welcome direction from our customers. The 2017 program has put in place technology that can be productised in 2018. My development team is working a 6 week verification sprint which will close many of our projects and provide customers with tangible evidence of performance enhancements available in our products and services this year.