DRJ Fall 2019

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Fall Journal

Volume 32, Issue 3

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Wednesday, 31 July 2019 14:11

CEOs Own Software Competency — And The Structure Of Innovation Delivery

World-class innovation delivery requires weaving together three foundational realities:

  • “Software is eating the world.” Marc Andreessen famously said this in a 2011 essay in The Wall Street Journal. It was true then, and it’s all the more true today. Whether your firm is disrupting markets or playing catch-up, every major business activity and strategy requires software. Furthermore, changing the business requires changing software, and historically, software has been difficult to change.
  • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Forbes traced this quote to Ford executive Mark Fields, who attributed it to Peter Drucker. Poor culture degrades software success at multiple levels. With poor collaboration between business and tech teams, you build the wrong thing. Poor collaboration among tech teams slows delivery and introduces defects. And business leaders that don’t understand software will underinvest in it, creating pressures that stifle collaboration.
  • “Constant innovation” drives corporate longevity. Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of 160-year-old SEB, says “the owners, board, and top management” of a firm have a “strong duty to foster a culture of constant innovation that drives its own creative destruction on the inside.”Wallenberg pulls Joseph Schumpeter’s notion of “creative destruction” inside the boardroom, placing responsibility for it squarely on the laps of top leadership.

Put together, what do these mean?