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  • Ian Wells

Q3: Tech Learnings on managing change

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

Question 3: What can tech industry practitioners teach NZ about how to work constructively with exponential change?

Those of us working in tech companies are finally learning, via agile methods, how to work with a material ( information) that is continually changing. But evidence from around the world ( Brexit, US election) suggests that the general public react to imposed change with anger and confusion.

My overall impression was that Singularity U ( and similar organisations) are educating the general public and tech savvy people in particular about the opportunities with exponential change. But  people don’t like change. This rate of change, economically, politically, socially, technically is in general unsettling to most of us.  And we are still on flat part of the exponential change for many of the topics discussed at Singularity U.

The tech community can help. People succeeding in tech are adopting ways of working together that embrace change, instead of trying to reduce change. We have adopted agile and lean processes to stay competitive in a world wide competition to produce better and better information based services and products. These approaches are not intuitive - our intuitive model to build something is to go from idea, to requirements, to implementation, to test and production. This worked really well in the physical world and this is the model many businesses and government bureaucracies have baked in.

To learn to work and manage information systems requires embracing constant change. At home it means learning new apps and buying new smart phones to keep up. Our personal lives are becoming more and more dependent on information systems, such as communication, money, socialisation, information processing for work, health, and our well being.  As pointed out at Singularity U, any system based on information is subject to Moore's Law, ie to rapid change.

The first thing the tech community do is tell our own stories of adapting to change, both successes and failures. We can demo our successful strategies by instigating small batches, teach fact-based decision making, team support, implementing effective feedback into our systems. 

You can also read my other blog post about specific ways tech can assist NZ businesses adapt to change.

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