9 big ideas IT shouldn’t ignore

Too often, big ideas exist in press releases, CEO public statements and marketing campaigns but are not part of the operational agenda

By Thornton May
Oct. 18, 2016

Big Idea #4: Organisations have to be ready for a big idea

Very few companies and executives were ready for mobile computing in 1993, when the Apple Newton was launched. This had changed by 2007, when the Apple iPhone was released. Having a methodology that hones an organization’s readiness to act upon a big idea is a good idea. 

Big Idea #5: “Big” is relative

Singularity University defines a big idea as one that will positively impact the lives of a billion people in 10 years. In some institutions, a big idea is anything above the purchasing authority of a department manager. How does your organization define “big”? 

Big Idea #6: Not all big ideas last

Knowing how much something costs and how long an initiative is going to take are key inputs to quality decisions. The investment should be proportional to the lasting value. Mistakes can end up as monuments to poor judgment. In the days of colonial expansion and industrialization, the British built railroads and established train stations around the world, perceiving them as symbols of the future. Many of these stations are now irrelevant or no longer exist

Big Idea #7: Some big ideas can only nudge us in the right direction

The paperless economy has been a big idea for almost 30 years without ever being fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Over the years, we have moved closer to paperless without ever getting there, but the goal remains enticing. In 2012, the McKinsey Global Institute crunched the numbers and concluded that if we got rid of paper (and email) and moved to more contemporary forms of collaboration such as Slack, Jive, Yammer, Chatter and Google Apps, productivity would increase by up to 25%.  

Big Idea #8: The status quo isn’t totally broken

Not everything we are doing currently is stupid. In the words of playwright Bertolt Brecht, “Old and new wisdom mix admirably.” There is a lot of wisdom floating around enterprises today. The trick is to figure out how to harness and preserve the knowledge and practices that are still relevant and exfoliate those that are not. 

Big Idea #9: Big ideas frequently start out as “bad” ideas 

A hundred years ago, homework was described as a “sin against childhood.” 

What big ideas are shaping your tomorrow?

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