Are You Building the Death Star, Again?
TopCoder is a community of more than 410,000 developers, algorithmists and digital designers. Many of whom would proudly self-classify as a geek, or at least a passionate Sci-Fi fan. Needless to say, the majority of our members enjoy the epic saga that took place a long, long time ago. One part of the saga that is often discussed and pointed to as being a weaker aspect of the original trilogy is that the Empire, after striking back, was defeated (again) because the Rebel Alliance was able to penetrate the un-penetrate-able Death Star and blow it up… again.
It raises the questions: Why would they go down this road? Why would they re-construct such a technological terror when the first one failed so fantastically? Fans of the series might nitpick this plot choice, but the reality is, this is exactly what enterprises, project teams and individuals choose to do over and over again.
People choose to go down roads they have already traveled, even if they’ve proven to consistently produce less than ideal results.There are several reasons for this:
– It’s what they know how to do… This is what they are good at!
– Their appetite for change and risks associated with change prevent new action
– It’s easier, even if ultimately less effective than a new way forward
– Leadership illuminating a way forward is lacking or not communicated effectively
Now the question that matters most to you: Are you doing the same? Are you building the Death Star, again?
For this exercise, think of your own personal Death Star not as a product or service you are building out or perhaps already offer, but rather focus on the very way you bring innovative ideas into your enterprise and then execute on them. Are you doing what you have always done? Are your eyes open to what others are accomplishing via platforms, through Open Innovation communities that are powered by competition and collaboration? Are you willing to change?
Whether you are leading a global enterprise, are a leading member of a team focused on project-level work or bravely ushering in a new start up, there are 3 realities the nimble enterprise and the individuals leading these companies are realizing in the early part of this 21st Century.
#1 You Need to Continuously Innovate – It’s not enough to maintain. It’s not enough to only maximize profits from existing products and services. The enterprise must keep innovating or it faces dire consequences.
#2 The Pace of Technology Will Not Let You “Go It Alone” – Technologies, user preferences and more evolve at a hyper-pace and the pressures this puts on an enterprise in terms of recruiting and retaining top talent are incredible. What is “hot” is in a constant state of flux and attempting to chase the newest trend in technology means one thing… You’re not leading.
#3 Open Innovation has Evolved Dramatically – The era of non-scalable open ended challenges is being ushered out and replaced with process driven Enterprise Open Innovation (EOI). Platforms that transform how you approach every day productivity and how you connect with worldwide, specialized talent in an always-on global environment have arrived.
If the Emperor hadn’t been thrown over the railings by Anakin Skywalker and he – the Emperor – escaped the Death Star’s second implosion, what would the Empire have done, rebuild the Death Star for the 3rd time?
Again, the far more serious question… Would you do the same?
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