These days, innovation rules. Nearly every organization is seeking better and faster ways to generate new ideas to keep them on the cutting edge. But the era of digital transformation we live in is also one filled with disruption. Your entire business, or entire market, could change overnight—maybe by something you never even saw coming.
Just look at how Amazon, originally an online bookseller, is now beginning to disrupt the grocery, entertainment and healthcare sectors. It makes you wonder what industry might be next on their list.
The reality is you can’t plan your way around disruption. You can’t predict the future because, thanks to digital transformation, the speed of change and innovation is moving faster than ever. In the world we live in today, in most contexts, planning specific execution steps is dead. It’s too slow, it’s too fraught with errors and it’s too limited in perspective to be an effective tool in driving action. In other words, by the time you can make a plan, it’s obsolete. Rather than spending time to develop strategies and execution plans for what we can’t predict, it has become more important to equip our organizations with the right skills to be successful amid rapid change and volatility. Disruption is coming for you no matter what—and sooner than you could ever imagine. Could the telco industry be next?
That’s a question I posed when I spoke at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona today. I looked at this question in the context of how can organizations stoke the fires of innovation while also defending themselves against disruption.
A key part of the message that I shared with the audience at MWC is that while it’s no secret what is driving disruption—digital transformation—there are fewer answers surrounding how you can best defend yourself against disruption while keeping your innovative edge.
People have asked me why the CEO of an open source tech company would be speaking at a telco event. The answer lies in the fact that Red Hat has established a leadership position in the world of open-sourced, community-driven innovation that is a driving force behind many of the key mega-trends we see in technology. We help make innovation happen every day. We’re both on the front line and front row of digital transformation. We have a foot in both worlds, working with enterprises looking to change their innovation model and digital natives active in developer communities. The telco industry - like so many others - is at a pivotal juncture as many communications service providers transform and modernize to deliver new services.
Our innovative technology is an output of our culture—our people—who give us the ability to adapt and rebound in the wake of disruptive change. Our model of working across multiple open source communities has allowed us not just to survive, but enabled us to actually thrive as a new technology shift arrived. We have built the ability to change into our culture and we've developed a perspective on the organizational capabilities required for success. Along the way, Red Hat learned some lessons that can help other organizations build the kind of innovative organizational culture that can not just survive, but thrive in an ever-changing world.
That’s a message that companies from every sector are thirsty for, including those in telecommunications.