Success in Innovation - Changing Tech and People

With innovation, all attention and spotlights go to the tech involved. But from what I have seen, most of the time and effort spent goes to the people involved instead. Changing people and their narrative is a game of endurance.

“you need to change both tech and people”

Looking back at my last string of projects, the tech part was roughly 20% of the work. Educating and convincing people it would work and add value was the remaining 80%. It truly resembles the balance of Pareto. With the exception that ultimately for innovation to be successful, you need to change both tech and people.

Changing Tech

With tech things are relatively simple; it either works, or it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, you can research what needs to be done to change that. Change the design with your findings, or conclude that it will never work this way.

Changing People

With people come different dynamics. Current stakes and interests. Their status quo providing an incentive not to buy into a new development. Fear of losing something, or sharing data and information that were considered ‘Top Secret’ in a previous life.

Changing Narrative

Having read two of the books by Yuval Noah Harari, ‘Homo Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Deus’ the uniting force for people is the narrative. It is a narrative that motivates people to behave in a certain way or to buy into something. The narrative can be like a religion, or something defining good and evil. From Seth Godin’s description of tribes comes the “People like us do things like this”.

“People like us do things like this” - Seth Godin

The shared narrative is very strong. And therefore also hard to change, just consider the time it took for one global narrative to replace the previous. For my projects the 80% probably means I had an easy crowd or just small mindshift.