Big Ideas Come from Tackling Big Problems

I was so fascinated by the editorial from the Editor of the Harvard Business Review, that I would like to share it here with you:

Big ideas come from tackling big problems. When one is confronted with an overwhelming task, it’s pieces.  Business jargon is full of phrases about that, like “pilot projects” and “low-hanging fruit.”  They have their place, but in the repertory of management practice, they should share their place with bold approaches to big challenges. Much of today’s most valuable management knowledge came from wrestling with such issues.  The most complicated workplace in the middle of the last century was the automobile assembly plant.  Drawn to its complexity where Peter F. Drucker, W. Edwards Deming, and Taiichi Ohno, among others. The work they and their disciples did, applied in industry after industry, is the basis of the best that we know about operations, managing people, innovation, organizational design, and much more.

The most complex workplaces are tertiary care hospitals. These vast enterprises employ tens of thousands of people who, under one roof, do everything from neurosurgery to laundry. Each patient – that is to say, each “job” — calls on a different set of people with a different constellation of skills; even when the two patients have the same diagnosis, success may be measured differently. This is complexity of an order of magnitude greater than automobile assembly, and anyone who has been hospitalized knows that management has thus far been unequal to the scope of task. The workers, managers, consultants, and scholars who crack this nut will reshape industries and institutions just as profoundly as Drucker, Deming, and Ohno did. (HBR, July-August, 2008, p. 12)

I am so intrigued by these words because it shows us in Software Development that we are again behind what happens. First we where behind the industry having no project management etc, then some believed we did not need to do more “lean”, but we can see once again, that we are far behind that which really happens.


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