Why hype technology is killing innovation

  • Bringing new skills into organisations. Can lead to difficult changes to pay frameworks and working patterns, and can displace existing workers.
  • Encouraging bold leadership. Bold decisions to make changes to processes, policies and team structures are often resisted by organisational antibodies, with unpredictable side-effects.
  • Allowing experimentation with funding models to create more team autonomy. Accountants, auditors and finance professionals are typically change-averse.
  • Do hypothesis-driven delivery, which encourages the measurement of value for high-risk work. Hypotheses with a reasonable chance of failure often don’t make for a good story for those with the power to invest.
  • Consult relevant experts. It is important to consult those who understand the technology as a practitioner. For example assessing a good use-case for machine learning will require skills such as data analysis, statistics and software engineering.
  • Do the basics. Organisations burdened by legacy technology or poor quality data may not have the prerequisites for using the newest technology at scale. These underlying issues could be a higher priority investment.
  • Measure the value. Ensure you have a hypothesis to test, and can measure the value of what you create with the new technology.
  • Iterate. Find ways to test new technology at low cost, allowing you to determine its value at lower risk. Where relevant, this can also give you time to nurture the necessary skills and knowledge in your organisation.
  • Be market savvy. It is crucial to understand why hype technology is being promoted, and what vested interests suppliers have— this can allow you to exploit markets, not be exploited by them.
  • Understand the domain. To understand how this technology could be received by users, and what possible side-effects could be introduced.
  • Consider sustainability. Hype technologies can be high risk, where you may not always be able to rely on the companies or communities that support them, and maintenance costs may be poorly understood.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers

Digital, data, technology. Independent consultant. Affiliate at Public Digital. Previously Chief Technology Officer/Head of Digital at UK Ministry of Justice.