Consider the following five simple scenarios based on real situations I have witnessed during my time in the Richemont Group. I must stress that I expect these to be relevant today to a majority of retail Organizations, and not only in the luxury sector:
”[..] an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value” (Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., former CEO of IBM)
By reinventing the wheel we might improve it, but is it worth the costs when all that is needed is a regular wheel?
Knowledge is power and even more now than ever. However, if organizational knowledge is retained and not shared, is the organization as a whole really gaining any lasting power from it?
Everybody is replaceable, yes but at what costs?
It is reasonable to assume that each department builds on past successes and is expert in his field. However, wouldn’t each project of a particular department benefit from the proactive input of all other stakeholders?
Learning and innovation depends on a culture encouraging risk-taking and therefore making “mistakes”. However, shouldn’t this imply that we all collectively learn from these “mistakes” and avoid making them twice?
Why corporate org charts are bad
An employee has a great idea, but needs clearance from his manager and a manager in another department to get the idea over departmental boundaries. That person can directly engage that manager and solve the problem. This contradicts the present model of hierarchies and organization charts in that traditionally the employee would be forced to navigate the branches in an org chart. This obviously depletes time and resources so we’ll consider this waste.
Perhaps the second best use of bottom up communication is that it allows companies to innovate using informal networks. BUP spurs informal networks inside and outside of companies. These informals can consist of employees, suppliers, customers, or other constituents. Typically an employee solves problems within the department or team and requests a manager’s assistance when needed. An informal network may involve a supplier a customer and a VP. A recent IBM podcast references innovation as accidental. It never happens on purpose and it usually doesn’t happen in a formal setting. Furthermore, for the informal setting to work, the right tools and stimuli must be present. This is where we really see how web 2.0 streamlines innovation.