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Positive Disruption

Hugh DeWitte
VP Transformation Strategy at Valtech Dallas

August 11, 2021

Everyone wants to believe they are headed in the right direction and making progress. We have all experienced disruption in our professional and personal lives. It’s our decision how we react to it. Resilience and agility are needed, but how?

Disruption causes change.

I was recently on a boat. It was an adventure getting up early, heading out across the ocean, charting a path and seeing new sights. We determined our paths based on the weather conditions and our goals. The same is true for our professional endeavors. We all want to be challenged, but also to have fun while we are working.

How do you cope with disruptions? Like it or not, change is constant in our workplaces. The uncertainty that often accompanies change can be unsettling and divert your attention.

Change may sound threatening if stability, not growth, is your goal. But all living systems change, and disruptions are what we need to enable learning, adaption, creativity, resilience, and growth.


How can you create positive disruptions?

Based on the premise that we learn little about excellence by focusing on failure, it is better to create an atmosphere of curiosity, respect and responsibility that compels people to act on new ideas.

As appealing as this may sound, generativity and self-organization can be surprising, messy and bumpy processes because they require embracing uncertainty, being open to challenging conversations and the willingness to follow people’s energy rather than mandating actions.

“According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent can only be awarded to an idea that is deemed to be an ‘illogical step.”


Time, Velocity and Slack

A point worth repeating is that there are different speeds of innovation. Some initiatives require agile spurts while others take long patient slogs. Believe it or not, slogs can create significant innovation. Innovation - It’s not simply about learning tools or teaching someone how to make a customer journey map. It’s about changing how you show up at work, collaborate with the people and get things done. It’s the difference between creating an app to find the best beach and creating a way to clean plastics from the ocean.

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Being Generative

Being generative – able to see old things in new ways – is the key to creating transformational change. Consider if you and your teams are willing to bring together diverse voices, center around an old topic and then how that group is willing to support new actions around that topic.

Two examples related to Valtech and its clients include:

  1. Asking BMW basic questions about mobility. The outcome: Valtech introduced a large-scale scrum team on their new campus and has transformed the way over 1,000 people work.
  2. Asking Valyo (a Swiss financial company) basic questions about cross border finance. The outcome: Valtech created an end-to-end digital innovation solution: A Swiss Fintech business venture and a disruptive digital financial marketplace.

Being Agile

Another change in recent years in regards to teamwork and project management is using agile teams to do development work. It’s an ideal method for these reasons:

  • Having the ability to adapt as project objectives shift and change
  • Seeing working software and the product progress early on in the project, and knowing if it’s meeting expectations
  • Having frequent, open communication and visibility in regards to the overall the health of the project
  • Higher team and client satisfaction

As we make our way in this world, we are all in the same boat. As JFK once said, “In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.” Remembering our humanity is the first step in creating and embracing positive change.

Having agile methods and frameworks help, but at the end of the day, it’s about staying focused and being aware of constant change - and knowing the best way to address it for all the people involved.

To learn more, download Valtech’s latest whitepaper: Disruption Explained: New Business Models for a New Business Age.

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