Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Embrace Emotions to Induct Innovation

Today I had some great discussions at Sapphire TechEd in Madrid. Despite all the very interesting content driven discussions I really enjoyed a discussion around Enterprise Architecture. Even though I heard mostly Enterprise IT Architecture, there was some great value propositions in the way it was presented. A fairly pragmatic approach to tools and processes combined with a strong sense for people excellence. Even though I personally find the whole setup fairly IT centric there is still the emphasis on the most important thing. People.

Furthermore there was a two focus areas mentioned specific: Efficiency and Innovation. There was not much details shared on those two spaces, but the typical buzzwords where used: KPIs, Management Buy-In, Independence of Enterprise Architecture, no decisions by Enterprise Architects to stay unbiased and a lot of other statements. All of the statements are worth to be analyzed and blogged about, but I will focus on "No Decisions by Enterprise Architects to stay unbiased".

I have a different approach here, because of several reasons:
  1. I believe that every person in the world is biased --> Self-Serving Bias.
  2. To support decisions from others some form of facts must be provided, because a recommendation is nothing else than a hidden decision, where the formal decision is given to someone else, but the interpretation of the facts is already done. So focusing on the facts:
    1. I believe that internal facts support the current approach and style, this belongs to the GLUE Division Defence. That typically allows to change a portion, but most likely only in very small steps, because the status is protected by good internal facts.
    2. I believe that external facts support a follow-up strategy. Here it depends on the level of trust to the external facts. Quite often there is some level of trust between decision maker and fact provider based on former relationships, this belongs to the  GLUE Division Discovery.
    3. The combination of internal and external facts often lead to an interesting situation in which some conflicts between internal and external facts need to be managed. Cultivate those Collisions, they most likely allow to breed some new ideas and solutions. And these new ideas have the potential to become true innovations.
I believe that Innovation is the unified selling proposition for every company. The one (or many if a company is great) thing which makes them truly different in the market also allows them to stay in the market. For innovations risks must be taken, decisions must be made, the decisions must be justified and that is to my believe not fact based. Fact based decisions follow the classical game of efficiency and effectiveness. And that is the good old story of process management. The way to Induct Innovations is to Embrace Emotions.

Don't think you are an Enterprise Architect, know you are.


  1. Enterprise architect are biased, but we make our preferences explicit, and, potentially, commonly-accepted. Thus a set of explicit rules defines the choice.


    1. I believe that in a given context there is always a Business Case for whatever you want to achieve. And in many cases that is not done on purpose, but more due to the human psychology. The desire to justify a decision leads to accepting positive signals and neglecting negative signals. But I am far away from seeing that as a problem. We get what we measure and look for. :)