Workplace Innovation

Workplace Innovation

Workforce transformation embraces far more than just mobility: it embraces not only where work gets done, but how, when and by whom. Much has been written about the fact that many jobs will cease to exist, while many others will transform beyond all recognition. And the impact these workforce changes will have on hiring practices and the structure of business is significant.

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Conclusion: The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ annual innovation survey gives financial evidence to the rhetoric on innovation. The data presents strategic directions which could produce wider changes too, such as full casualisation in employment, coupled with technology investment by large businesses and structural underutilisation and deskilling, although more trend data is required to qualify such a view in future.

Senior technology executives ought to take note of this economy-wide picture of investment strategies in order to understand their own initiatives in a wider context. It may help with policy setting, with business cases, and provide a better view of planning evolution over the next two years.

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Conclusion: Even though stakeholders may support ‘Digital’ initiatives – due in no small part to the all-encompassing nature of the term ‘Digital’ in today’s market – many of these initiatives will fail to deliver on the original intent. This is because the term ‘Digital’ enables stakeholders to reinterpret the intent of an initiative in a number of different ways. This can cause stakeholders – both within ICT groups and within the organisation more broadly – to take actions that deviate from the original intent, or that resist attempts to change. Even when organisations have put in place governance and processes to reconfirm stakeholders’ understanding of the initiative’s intentions, reinterpretations and misaligned actions can still occur.

By understanding the types of ‘mutation’ that stem from the use of ‘Digital’, and by appreciating the limitations of traditional methods of checking stakeholder alignment, policy and program leads can minimise the risk of projects being implemented in unexpected ways.

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Conclusion: The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ annual innovation survey quantifies the efforts of businesses in all industries. The status of innovation is quite mixed, between small businesses which tinker at the edges and larger enterprises which are more thorough.

Innovation is not one thing – it is a variety of actions which can be implemented. Improving technological capability is not a high priority and that could be a concern for CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and vendors because the purpose and value of technology, and related investments, appear less directly important to business.

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Conclusion: It is widely recognised that public sector organisations do not have the same market drivers as private enterprise to be able to innovate in the same way. Drivers such as competitive forces and profit incentives stimulate and support breakthrough innovation. However, by understanding the elements that are active when breakthrough innovation occurs and reframing it within the context of the government sector, significant benefits and progress can be achieved.

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Conclusion: The high-risk and high-reward Agile approach for systems development enabled many organisations to respond quickly to changing management strategies and yielded significant productivity benefits, according to a 2015 survey1.

However the same survey found not everyone has been so successful, as lack of experience in using the Agile approach, and organisation resistance to change, have frustrated almost the same number of organisations.

Once IT and business management have decided that Agile is the right approach they must:

  • Champion and defend its use
  • Actively track progress and allocate extra resources to the project if justified
  • Provide a safe environment in which a retrospective review can be conducted
  • Widely disseminate the lessons learned from the review, including strategies that succeeded and failed, without attributing blame
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Conclusion: Many organisations looking to transform or innovate their existing business find it difficult to think about it in a completely new way as the past is always present. One way to approach the common strategic planning activity is take the perspective used by start-ups and build a business model for the future which re-evaluates current paradigms. Existing business models can be dissected into key elements and each element can be critically examined and evaluated in terms of its contribution to the desired value proposition.

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This Compass expands upon the initial discussion presented in the IBRS Master Advisory Presentation, “Digital Workspaces: Enabling the Future Workplace.”1It outlines IBRS Workspaces Strategy Framework that can guide the development of your end user computing strategy that embraces evolving work practices, such as mobility, activity based working, and self-service.

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