As an unconventional thinker and a pioneer, I particularly enjoy thinking out of all kinds of boxes and developing new approaches and ideas. It seems I am in good company. This year, I once again took the liberty of visiting the Solutions congress in Hamburg (https://solutions.hamburg). One of the keynote speakers was Ranga Yogeshwar (https://yogeshwar.de).
In numerous discussions it became clear that we too often face new problems with old approaches. For example, why does an autonomously driving car have to record everything that can lead to a danger itself? Why can’t the car communicate with street lights, traffic lights or letterboxes? That would make the amount of data that the car itself has to collect much smaller.
The future: The Internet of Things
A dialog between cars and digitalized objects could be as follows: The car continuously sends its data along the route. In keeping with the announced times, the streetlights would provide it with the information that a woman with a pram has just passed, crossing the car’s route in about 37 seconds. The traffic light could say: Hello car, if you continue to drive at the current speed, the traffic light phase will be set to red, please slow down now. Then the car can calculate whether at reduced speed a possible endangerment of the woman with the baby carriage can be ruled out.
Forecasts: Not more, but the right data
Less is more. Mies van der Rohe’s motto seems to be true in the data world too. As a normal Internet user, you have long been aware of the fact that more data does not necessarily mean more useful information. So it’s not more data, but the right data that is required for a well-functioning digital world that is useful for people.
This is where algorithms can help: Once upon a time there was a bet between Google’s search engine and medical experts as to how well a flu epidemic could be predicted. The search engine won because it had access to search queries, for example on over-the-counter drugs for treating colds and flu infections. This information was available in a fraction of the time doctors needed for the same information.
Or the prediction of sudden infant death from premature births: The doctors were at a loss, but an algorithm found out that it often occurs when the organ functions of premature babies have become STABLE. Whether this means that the body then gives up or the hospital staff gives the all-clear and the premature babies are no longer screened so carefully could not be determined.
The art of information management
So what does all this have to do with strategy implementation with and through people? In my opinion quite a lot. The successful implementation of a strategy begins – even if it sounds absurd – with the fact that there is a well thought-out strategy at all. Then comes one of the most important vehicles for implementation – communication: who needs what information, when, for what purpose and in what form?
This is where the paths between traditional, hierarchically structured companies and agile organisations diverge. In traditional companies, too much information is often passed through the different hierarchical levels. The recipients have to process the information, and many use that opportunity to add more or less important information.
In agile organizations, on the other hand, only those for whom it is actually relevant receive the information. Communication therefore takes place in the same way as the above-mentioned communication between car, traffic light and street lamp, which together ensure that mobile machines and people arrive at their destination safely.
In the past one used to refer to a “need-to-know-basis”. At the time, this meant that some parts of the workforce were deprived of important information because it was assumed that they could not do anything with it. Only the management had access to the complete information. In agile work systems, on the other hand, only those people and groups of people who need the information for their work are informed (need-to-know). This does not necessarily have to be the department, division or management, but could even refer to only the trainees.
Defining the right information for decision-making is usually the most complicated part of strategy implementation. If you are looking for someone to light the way for you: just give me a sign!
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