I cut my teeth in the apparel industry, where the best companies had inside and outside leaders. I was the outside talent who worked to maximize the genius of the creative people.
This week, I attended the opening of my niece’s restaurant MISI. It is run by my niece, a James Beard award winner and an investment banking executive. The combination of trust and respect for one another is incredible. What is most impressive is his recognition that he is there to help her culinary genius reach its full potential.
There is too much attention on the differences in technology and innovation instead of the combination. In short, organizations must focus on winning for the organization and not the individual silos of participants.
I argue you can have both innovation and automation. You simply need to focus on improving the autonomy at all levels as you increase the automation. For example, Google and others are developing artificial intelligence (AI) programs to write and develop artistic works like music and art. They argue that this technology will greatly enhance an artist’s ability to create works. Others argue that it will just replace artists. My own experience in the knitting industry is that automation greatly enhances the artists potential and reduces mundane tasks. I believe that similar improvements are evident in digital photography.
The most significant change from automation and A.I. etc., is the availability of more data to better understand information and analyze alternatives. Don’t let automation or analytics give you one simple answer. Programs and situations are diverse and require a variety of solutions. A great example is the success of the Golden State Warriors and Lebron James in basketball. The Warriors win by creating an integrated team that gets the ball to the open man and passes more than any team in history. LeBron’s teams have won by making Lebron the focal point and supporting his efforts with complimentary plays and personnel.
This discussion is well summarized by George Bernard Shaw and Steve Jobs. George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Similarly, Steve Jobs said if he asked customers what they wanted, it would be obsolete before he got it on the shelves.
The most important aspect of this discussion is to integrate the use of analytics and intuition in your decision processes. The assumptions, results, effort, and process can be greatly aided. In general, analytics should be used to enhance rather than inhibit or replace intuition.
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