- Our clients often ask what is it that disruptive companies do that enables them to zero in on emerging trends needs, before anybody else? How do they always come up with winning moves? Over time and several conversations with both digital natives and incumbent leaders, we have started to see a pattern emerge. A pattern marked by the people choices that companies make – it is about creating, not just problem solvers, but problem finders as well.
By | Krish Shankar | Group Head- Human Resources at Infosys, and also Hon President of National HRD Network, India.
While most enterprises were building better mousetraps, Google famously went about finding better problems to solve by encouraging employees to spend 20 percent of their time on it. What an investment for times like these! In the last few weeks, the world as we know it has changed and we have to look for new problems before they find us. It’s a race we have to win, to create the kind of resiliency and response that the current crisis requires; while at the same time ensuring that our people stay safe and businesses operate as usual. Being a Live Enterprise has never been more critical.
Our clients often ask what is it that disruptive companies do that enables them to zero in on emerging trends needs, before anybody else? How do they always come up with winning moves? Over time and several conversations with both digital natives and incumbent leaders, we have started to see a pattern emerge. A pattern marked by the people choices that companies make – it is about creating, not just problem solvers, but problem finders as well.
In most large organizations, employees are so immersed in solving routine problems that there’s little room for anything else. But what they’re mostly doing is addressing the same type of problem or making the same type of decision over and over again (For example, how many parts should I stock? Is this customer a reasonable credit risk? Are the documents in order?) These are the tasks that can be automated and run by intelligent machines. On the other hand, problem finding is a far more complex activity that is accomplished best by human beings, who understand the layers, connections, and seemingly invisible threads that connect cause and effect.
Live enterprises – organizations that can respond in real-time to market and business stimuli – are better poised to nurture problem finders. Good problem finders can read the signals from the vast amounts of data that Live Enterprises curate and respond quickly with innovative moves. With the growing maturity of software intelligence, problem-solving has increasingly become a task for software-powered machines. But for problem-finding, every disruption begins with reimagining the customer value chain. Disruptor firms must find, nurture, and retain a talent pool of problem-finders to uncover the right problems and then solved to ensure continued relevance for their businesses.
At Infosys, we believe that each of us can be trained to be effective problem-finders. And, that lifelong learning is imperative for success. So, we have created for our employees a mix of functional, hard skills (process engineering, data science, etc.), soft skills (strong work ethic, high cognitive ability, leadership skills, etc.) holistic skills like approaching solutions with empathy for users, and techniques such design thinking and agile training.
Moreover, we are inclusive. We nurture not just young, highly qualified employees but also older employees, blue-collar workers, and even those who have been displaced. The idea is to stop compartmentalizing people based on academic qualifications and allow everyone a chance to keep learning the contemporary skills that will help them stay relevant throughout their careers.
That’s what we call being resilient. That’s Live Enterprise!