A New Model for Teams Adapting to Disruption

April 27, 2020

In our “Adapting to Disruption with a New Model for Innovation and Execution” Master Class, Tad Haas and Ivan Lloyd of edison365 discuss a revised model for innovation that combines an innovation office with a project management office. During the call, they explore: 

  • How to increase and accelerate innovation during difficult times

  • How to better govern benefits management, from business case to realization

  • How you can benefit from governance, oversight, and end-to-end management information

Tad Haas is the Chief Innovation Officer at edison365, a software company that leverages Microsoft Office 365 to crowdsource ideas from employees and the method to implement them. Ivan Lloyd is the Executive Vice President of edison365. Download a white paper on the innovation and porfolio management office, and learn about how that office can help you deliver innovation

An Unprecedented Rate of Change

Ivan Lloyd: … The world changes rapidly. I did a small…exercise in the UK, looking at our top 100 companies. In the last 10 years, there have been 100 changes in the top 100 — so, significant rates of change. These stats just emphasize that for the US perspective, as well. But I think what we’ll all be really aware of … is that if the rate of change when we put this slide together was x, the rate of change that we’re seeing today is probably 100x [due to coronavirus]. 

Never before have we been in a situation where the normal we were experiencing only a few weeks ago is just definitely not the normal today. What I keep talking to organizations about is it definitely won’t be the normal again when we move forward in a month, or two months, or whenever that is. So, as businesses and business leaders, we really need to understand the rate of change, business transformation, and how can we respond to make that more successful.

Driving vs. Actually Delivering Change

Ivan Lloyd: Typically, when I’ve spoken at innovation focused events, the main focus of the audience has been on that front-end around initiating and driving the change, not so much on delivering the change. 

Tad Haas: When we think about innovation, processes and strategy, and ideation at edison365, we think of things that are being driven at the strategy level — what are the key challenges of the enterprises? How do we adapt to new market opportunities? … We’re also working hard to engage our communities, and our employees now more than ever, in this remote world. … 

But there’s really a third element today as well, which most of you know as open innovation. … How do we go through and get our external stakeholders and our partners within our industries…into the process as well? … The problem with many folks today, though, is…we go through all of these [stages of] innovation. All of a sudden, we get to the project management side. And we have to…have a miracle…in our execution because we’re not delivering on the promise of the innovation or the transformation when it comes to actual delivery. 

Proving the Value of Innovation

Ivan Llyod: … Budget constraints [are] very common complaints, but typically they’re actually linked to the inability to prove [return on investment], value, and success. … If we can prove what gets delivered out of innovation [has] an ROI, then the budget will get released because people will see value in the delivery. … What’s been super disappointing for me is that [in] this current place we are in the world, I’ve seen significant numbers of organizations downsize…or furlough innovation teams. … Now’s the time you need to innovate more than ever before, and if we were in innovation and showing ROI, then I’m not so sure this would be happening so much.

Common Pitfalls of Project Management Offices

Tad Haas: PMOs don’t necessarily have the best reputation. … They end up failing in some of the key areas that innovation or others still fail in, which is communication [or] they think too rigidly in requirements. They’re not ready for a change in the objectives. … Sometimes there’s that whole “rest in peace” notion of the death of the PMO… So, PMOs are struggling just like innovation teams are struggling. … 

Ivan Lloyd: I’ve been working in project and portfolio management with businesses for 25 years, and none of these things really have changed in 25 years. … People recognize them as issues, recognize a desire to do these things better, but it’s very hard to change. It typically comes down to this side of the business, the PMO…being viewed as an overhead — people thinking it’s just an administrative function that is there to produce some numbers. It’s not there to drive value to move the strategy forward. So, it’s hard for those guys to really get taken seriously.

… It’s a very rare entity where the PMO…is actually at an executive level… Very typically, it will be within a function. … We see even in large scale businesses [that] a PMO sits in IT, even though it’s responsible for projects across the range of business. It’s not the right place for a PMO to sit. … Typically, we see this reactive process, as opposed to innovation [which] typically is very proactive. … The delivery piece typically is reactive to things and to requests rather than driving [innovation] forward.