I was lucky enough to be asked by (friend of ODF) Scott Brinker to speak at his excellent MarTech Europe conference last month. I think Scott has a rare ability for astute navigation of the increasingly (and already hugely) complex world of marketing technology.
I saw the other day that he had tidied up his illustration of 'Martec's Law' (above) which he defines as the quintessential management challenge of the 21st Century, and which relates to the gap between rates of technological change (which is exponential) and organisational change (which is logarithmic). Scott's original point being that whilst technological change seems to be accelerating, organisational change is dependent on things that change far more slowly - attitudes, thinking, structures, behaviours, culture:
'The great management dilemma of the 21st century is the relationship between these two curves: technology is changing faster than organizations can absorb change'.
I've been thinking quite a lot recently about rates and pace of change. In his original post on Martec's Law Scott references how, in his book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, A.G. Lafley talks about how strategy is all about making choices. This echoes something that Roger Martin has said about how: 'The very essence of strategy is explicit, purposeful choice'. Real, directional choices rather trying to do everything half-baked. So the key to managing this challenging dynamic is making choices. Says Scott:
'That is the crux of technology management. We can’t adopt all technological changes, but we can consciously choose some. Great technology management is choosing which changes to absorb — ideally those that are best aligned with the organization’s overall strategy.'
I'd also add that we should focus on the (perhaps slower) shifts in underlying behaviours that those technological changes bring. On a related point, Scott goes on to note that:
'We also need to recognize how entwined organizational change is in technology strategy. It’s not enough to decide which technological changes to embrace or to deal with the technical implementations of those choices. To succeed, technology management must explicitly address how those technologies will be absorbed into the operations and the culture of the organization. It must proactively coach, coax, nurture, educate, train, elevate, and inspire the people who will wield that technology.'
Amen to that.