At Gofore, and previously at Leadin, we have been discussing how technology is taking a greater role in people’s health. We think there are two important factors that are influencing development within this field.
Yin – Innovation
The technological development of medical devices has taken giant leaps. Nowadays people’s everyday healthcare is a social-technological mix of activity wristbands, patient information systems, Facebook algorithms that automatically share if one has been jogging or even context-aware “smart” floors that alert if a senior citizen has fallen down and needs assistance.
Through all these new technologies and services there has been a paradigm change in the medical sector. The diversity of users and the use contexts is more complex than ever. It’s not only the doctor who uses the medical device in the fairly constant conditions of a health care centre. It may be that a blind diabetic needs to measure her blood sugar while she is travelling in the Amazon jungle. We believe that new health and medical innovations are great enablers for people being more independent and living a healthier and more enjoyable life.
Yang – Standardization
It is important to understand that many of the health-related technologies and services are safety-critical systems. Because technology increasingly takes over people´s health, it´s worth taking a look at this issue. To be safe, we take a systematic approach to usability. By systematic we here mean a standardized approach. Legislators, standardization organisations and device manufacturers have noticed that more and more use errors are caused by inadequate medical device usability. Therefore the need for human factors engineering has increased in the medical industry. As a result, there are currently medical device related directives and standards (such as 2007/47/EY and IEC 62366:2007) that promote the importance of good usability and minimisation of use errors. For example, in IEC 62366:2007, a standard for usability engineering process, a process for “application of knowledge about human behavior, abilities, limitations, and other characteristics related to the design of tools, devices, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments to achieve adequate usability“ is described in great detail.
Standards give a good baseline but more thorough research in this area helps to design ever better systems. At Gofore, we connect with researchers and apply the findings in academic projects like CHI+MED to exceed the standard requirements.
In addition to safety, it’s certainly of value to design for the complete user experience. To achieve great experiences, users must find the technology useful, trust it, and perceive that they (and not the technology) are in control of their wellbeing. And especially in medical devices and applications, the preventive approach to possible user errors is a matter of the utmost importance.
We believe in free creativity combined with systematic approaches when necessary. This is the yin and yang of creating successful medical technologies and services.
My previous blog post focussed on the first steps of the agile transformation process. It identified that the three first steps are defining the current situation, choosing the right framework and educating the important people. This blog post explains how to ensure that the agile transformation process will cross the finish line.
4. Create an Implementation Team
To make permanent changes to the organisation, the agile transformation process must be put into action. Individual change agents are a good start, but they need a surrounding structure. The ‘team’ is the basic unit of agile transformation.
A powerful method is to create an implementation team whose target is to put the first agile transformation changes into effect. The implementation team works in an agile mode and its backlog contains items such as ‘facilitate a workshop about retrospective techniques`, ‘create an agenda to the first UX-guild meeting’, and ‘select a tool for the backlog’.
The team members are typically change agents and agile coaches. A future product owner can practise the product owner’s role within the team. The implementation team is also an example to the rest of the organisation, so it’s advisable to follow Agile and Lean principles by the book.
5. Focus on Low-Hanging Fruits
Agile transformation, even in the best circumstances, may take months to years to be completed. Lengthy projects have always the ‘project fatigue’ risk, where the organisation starts to lose focus concerning the reason why the particular project exists. Concentrating on targets which are easily achievable give a positive vibe to the whole organisation.
Some of the administrative and organisational changes are quick to be implemented and are visible to many. New structures, teams, roles, schedules, tools, and ceremonies are just a few examples. These changes have also a significant impact on the organisation’s culture over time.
The Implementation team`s job is to put changes into action. At the same time, the team encourages the rest of the organisation to take responsibility. When the transformation process is progressing, the implementation team divide and the team members join new teams. This way, knowledge is shared.
6. Build the Engine
“Is Agile dirty? Only when it’s being done right” once said the agile-guru Jim Coplien. When administrative and organisational problems are solved, it’s time to dig into the dirtier details of agile transformation. The final goal is to create a continuous delivery approach where releases are calculated in minutes or hours; the collaboration with customers is on a daily basis; and the organisational structure is full of autonomous cross-skilled teams that manage the whole cycle from requirements to customer feedbacks.
The demands to the organisation are high both culturally and technically if the continuous delivery approach is used. In sophisticated organisations, development teams with the support of a DevOps community will take the responsibility. The easier solution is to create a dedicated system team, whose main objective is to design and implement the method.
The organisation must have skilled developers who can master technical aspects of the approach. It’s crucial that quality standards are superior, because every part of the software development is depended on continuous delivery. Continuous delivery is typically based on containers, automated build pipelines, and cloud computing platforms.
To Infinity and Beyond
According to the ‘Leading the transformation’, how teams come together to deliver value is the primary result and how individual teams work is a secondary effect. The local optimum offers quick results, but the longer-term victory lies requires co-operation of the whole organisation.
Agile transformation is a costly and time-consuming process and there are not many shortcuts available. However, it teaches organisations a new habit where constant change is the new normal.
Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale by Gary Gruver
Innovations in communications and artificial intelligence are fast changing the ways in which we learn and interact with one another. Paper is disappearing from our homes and offices, automation is gradually replacing repetitive and dangerous tasks, and people are becoming ever more connected and empowered through the use of the internet.
It wasn’t always this way
New technologies are often based on the cumulative effort and discoveries of many individuals and organisations, all trying to push the boundaries. These projects dare to be different. They innovate.
As a species, innovation is what drives us forward. This began with humans learning to use tools. We kept refining materials and resources, just as we continue to do so today. In its elementary form, innovation is about solving a problem in a new way. It’s about forward thinking — staying ahead of the curve. Many of the most successful products and services in existence were fuelled by innovative thinking, and it’s made some people a lot of money along the way!
Innovation sounds great right? Well, there is a darker side that’s less talked about — failure. Failure is an inherent risk associated with innovation. This can put many off the idea of trying something different or new. It can be unsettling for anyone, dealing with so many unknowns. Will it work? Will people use it? What happens if it fails? In large organisations, innovation culture tends to be dictated by senior management. There are some organisations with entrepreneurial cultures, encouraging new ideas to develop and ‘fail fast’. At the other end of the spectrum, however, there are organisations that encourage a risk-averse culture, with ‘red tape’ in place to avoid any unnecessary risks. Although the latter organisations reduce the risk of a failing project, they’re potentially opening themselves up to a much larger risk — getting left behind.
Without innovation, we’re stuck with ‘good enough’
As technology progresses, so do our capabilities. We need to take risks to move forward. Without risks, we merely stagnate, proclaiming that what already exists is ‘good enough’. We’re left patching up old problems, working around issues instead of having the courage and ambition to find a better solution. In time, products and services will move on, and risk-averse organisations are left wondering why there’s no longer a market for what they’re offering. Innovative companies almost certainly have the edge in this respect. Fortunately, it is possible to mitigate some of the risk involved with innovation — simply by doing your research.
At the end of the day, your customers will be the ones who are going use your product. Therefore, you should always involve your customers in the design and implementation of your products and services. To be confident that an idea is worth pursuing, it’s important to understand whether there is an actual need for it, whether users are able to use it, and perhaps most importantly, whether the product or service provides a good experience for the user. User experience design is a very useful way of understanding customers, allowing you to build novel solutions, whilst also considering the needs and desires of users. With a strong knowledge of your users, new products and services are far more likely to succeed.
Stop stagnating. Start innovating. Listen to your users, and start delivering brilliant new solutions.
‘Every business is a software business’ is not just a mantra anymore. The digitalisation era will impact on every industry and business function. Modern organisations such as Slack and Dropbox are created for today’s world. However, organisations which have a long legacy are realising that the best way to achieve business agility is to take the ‘Agile’ and apply it across the entire organisation. Here is one way to roll out the Agile Transformation process.
1. Define the current situation
The definition of ‘agile transformation’ is to transform an organisation into a mode that is flexible, collaborative, self-organising, and fast-moving. The starting point of agile transformation is to understand the current situation. The organisational structure and roles, ongoing projects and activities, contracts with suppliers, and organisational culture must be made visible. This helps us to understand the organisation’s maturity level, which gives guidance to the next steps.
One vital aspect is to select change agents for the transformation. Change agents act as catalysts for change and are familiar with the organisation’s culture and operations. Change agents are typically managers, but more relevant are the commitment and willingness to learn the Agile mind-set and practices.
2. Choose Your Weapon
Although organisations are unique, it’s recommended to use a common framework for agile transformation. A well-known framework gives a backbone to the transformation vision and offers guidelines and support. An “official” framework also decreases resistance to change in the target organisation.
Two hotter frameworks for scaling Agile are SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) and LeSS (Large Scale Scrum). SAFe takes a structured approach with organisational levels, roles, and developmental processes. With a massive toolset from the Continuous Delivery Pipeline to business strategies, SAFe fulfils the whole software developmental ecosystem. This blog post explains the framework at a more detailed level.
In contrast LeSS focuses more on principles and agile mindset. LeSS keeps the organisational structure simple and adds only a few extra things to scale the one team Scrum framework. In addition to this, organisational layers and middle management are removed which typically creates the need for a reorganisation. My earlier blog post deals with the LeSS concept more deeply.
In summary, SAFe gives an easier access to transformation in hierarchal and traditional organisations, while LeSS is more radical and requires more risk-taking. Both frameworks are used widely and have their supporters and detractors. This SAFe vs LeSS shootout compares the frameworks from different angles.
3. Educate (almost) Everybody
After the framework is selected, the next step is to educate the organisation. Ideally, everybody in the organisation should be converted to Agile and Lean thinking. In reality, people are busy. Workshops must be well-designed, short, and focus on essential topics such as the principal idea of the framework, new roles and responsibilities, and building a product definition. It’s critical that the change agents and the future product owners are identified and they participate in the workshops. The rest of the organisation should have a general understanding of the agile transformation roadmap.
The ‘Shared documents are not shared understanding’ phrase is good to keep in mind. It’s naïve to believe that written documents will replace workshops, mentoring and coaching. Simple pictures and bullet points are more than adequate in most cases.
Is This All?
In many cases, the agile transformation process starts rapidly but dries up after a few months. The current situation has been understood, the framework has been selected and a few workshops have taken place, but drivers to the next action are missing. After a while, people return to their old habits and the target organisation remains the same. My later blog post will reveal how to ensure that the transformation process meets its goal and the organisation gets all the advantages.
Digital change is not a project. The change has started, and the end is not in sight. Technology will develop further, which feeds endless new service innovations. This change does not require organisation like a project; it applies to us all, all the time, as organisations, employees, managers, and consumers.
The ability to stay open to this change and to sense the signals of change are emphasised in the continuous turmoil and competition. What new opportunities will the digital world throw into our path? What do our customers really need? How can we stand out from our competitors, in a positive manner? Change means reform, and the need for reform is constant.
‘This journey is 1% finished’ has been seen as the motto for Facebook, among others. It is a good summary of change as a constant state. I believe that the ability of an organisation to constantly reform itself stems from its culture; the way we think and do things together. The management culture, and in a wider sense, corporate culture, is either afraid of changes or enthusiastic about them. Enthusiasm is one of the key ingredients in change. Those who are enthusiastic about change are also forerunners: in these times of digital change, a culture that is able to reform itself is the single most essential competitiveness factor.
Digital change also requires new types of competence. A data-driven and customer-oriented organisation cannot be created without new people who have the required abilities. The availability of digital skills is already a big problem for many organisations, and the situation is not about to improve in the near future. Corporate culture is also a key factor in competition for top experts for whom the meaningfulness of work is a more important topic than traditional employee benefits.
The change in culture is reflected in everything – is the culture in your workplace traditional or digital?
Gofore’s management consulting services are developed for the needs of a changing world. With both customer behaviour and how the work itself is carried out changing radically, management cannot remain as it has been. We want to help managers and developers to better take their customers into account in the development of their business operations, to develop their corporate culture, and to create new kinds of innovative strategies.
Our management services include the following:
- Managing the customer experience and customer-oriented development of business operations, explained in further detail in our publication Business design booklet
- Reformability consulting, which is carried out utilising the established Gofore culture and the experiences related to its development
- Digital business operations and strategy
The Gofore way of thinking includes wanting results. We don’t only supply our customers with the best possible advice and designs, we also want to cooperate with the customer in their implementation. We get inspiration from helping our customers succeed.
We have recently announced a new cooperation agreement with Kela regarding strategy work. Founded in 1937, this Finnish institution is perhaps not best known for its ability to reform itself. However, after only a brief cooperation period it is easy to note that they also have good ideas and have recognised the necessity of change. I believe that even here, the success of the reform is ultimately down to the organisational culture. In the case of Kela, reform is started by creating reform plans. However, the key question is how the reform culture is implemented in everyday life and even after the reform projects.
The success can, again, only be assessed after a long time. For us at Gofore, this cooperation is an opportunity to roll up our sleeves for a change that is significant for the entirety of society. That’s what gets us going!
‘Digital Companion’ blog series
In the Digital Companion blog series, the leaders of Gofore’s expert services explain the ways in which digitalisation can be made into reality rather than just words in a speech. The speed of changes is increasing exponentially. With this change, organisations need the help of experts in project management, leadership, service design, graphic design, programming, and data analytics. All this can be found at Gofore, with cloud infrastructure management forming the icing on the cake.
Other posts in the blog series:
- Ville Tuominen: How design helps create value – for all stakeholders
- Timur Kärki: Roll up your sleeves and head towards the unknown
Kela has chosen Gofore as a supplier to promote the implementation of its strategy. The collaboration is set to begin in October 2017 and encompasses expert services in the areas of strategy development and organisational development.
The collaboration is based on a framework agreement on management and development consulting services, which supports the achievement of Kela’s vision and strategic objectives. Gofore’s management consulting experts will be serving as subject-matter experts and coaches in the areas of strategy development, the management system and development programmes. Coaching will be provided to everyone who participates in the implementation of Kela’s strategy, meaning experts, supervisors and top management.
Customer impact snapshot as the basis for management
Kela’s aim is to provide an excellent customer experience for both internal and external customers. In addition to this, Kela is also aiming to make its information system development more agile. In order to achieve these objectives, top management must be able to evaluate and change Kela’s strategy even at short notice.
– Kela’s aim is to improve and develop its operations in a customer-oriented manner, says Kela’s Strategy Manager Heli Korhola. Key focus areas in regard to this development include impact on society and active participation in networks.
Gofore will be providing Kela with innovative new operating and working methods for strategy development and implementation. Fore example, Kela is currently looking to adopt new operating and working methods in impact management.
– This collaboration is an indication of Kela’s open-minded approach to development and its readiness to accept new agile methods in strategic management. This bodes well for our client in terms of their potential for renewal. For Gofore, the collaboration provides a chance to participate in work that has a significant impact on society, says Mikael Nylund Director of Digital Transformation Advisory from Gofore.
Gofore’s plan for managing strategic development was praised especially for its customer-oriented approach. In addition to this, Gofore also earned praise for its understanding of Kela’s operating environment and foresight.
– Digitalisation has the potential to improve society’s ability to anticipate changes. We are developing towards genuinely customer-oriented thinking, says Gofore’s Principal Consultant Petri Takala.
For more information, please contact:
Director, Digital Transformation Advisory
Tel. +358 (0)40 540 2280
Computing has surprised us all. Or, this thing we didn’t even know existed. Software, mobile phones and information/data networks have brought us together in new and unexpected ways. A changed and new reality has emerged as a result of the technological and service development over the course of the past ten years. The phenomena of platform economies and distributed economies are examples of this.
Technology accelerates the birth of new innovations. Consumers rejoice with casual chores becoming more effortless, often improved service experiences. New service providers enter the markets when new, inventive and price-competitive solutions become available to meet customer needs. Also entirely new services are generated through technology. Services to meet customer needs we had never even imagined.
The evolution has its downside. Both terrorism and refugee waves are catalyzed by social media, which is used both for leading and thus also moving global human masses. This phenomenon would not exist, to this extent, without the simultaneous strong development of social media, terminal equipment and information/data networks.
The European-wide rise in political populism is yet another simultaneous example. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I claim that these social phenomena are driven by the same development that revolutionizes economic structures, for example through network-based value production. The birth of networks offers the same exponential surprise as the development of technology in general. The more members a network has, the higher is the network’s value for its members. This, in turn, creates a raw playoff where some win and gain strength and others end up losing.
The last ten years have taught us that the change caused by the technological development is affecting us in many ways. Realizing, that we have all been thrown into this centrifuge of change, be it as individuals, communities and businesses, or even as nations, is frightening. The change is not linear and cannot be predicted. But preparing for it is possible.
What more, it can also be harnessed for our own benefit. This is not an easy task, but requires organizations to make significant cultural changes. The communities and businesses capable of regenerating and innovating will stand out.
For a few years now Gofore has addressed our services to meet all the needs the digital change in organizations with create. In my mind, I have divided this into three different changes in culture.
- The culture of leadership or, on a more general note, the corporate culture at its best, inspiring the entire staff to work towards commonly set goals. A good corporate culture maximizes the organization’s ability to regenerate and search for a common direction. The success of companies such as Gofore, and proven producing of customer value, is entirely dependent on corporate culture. Currently we are also, through our Lead services, assisting other organizations in shaping and changing their corporate culture.
- The culture of development has its perspective in the future. The best organizations are able to link development work directly to their strategic business planning. Services are formulated on a business-driven basis and with constant focus on user experience, iteratively, progressing step by step. and gathering experiences. Developing is agile and utilizes the best technologies and practices, with the expertise of professionals. Our Design and Build services meet these needs.
- The culture of maintenance is the third equally important point of view. The capability of change is not sufficient, if the services cannot quickly and reliably be put into production. Cloud Services and –infra, Devops -practices, and seamless linking of maintenance processes to development and, consequently, management processes, are the special know-how of our Cloud service.
The pace of change in society and in business is mind-blowing. This is evident in our company, but the same enthusiasm and desire for novelty also exists within our customer base. We are experiencing interesting times. Change, which it is great to be a part of.
Blog series “Digital Companion”
With this text Timur Kärki introduces a new blog series “Digital Companion”. In the series, Gofore’s expert services managers explain how digitalization turns from festive speeches into actions. Change is accelerating exponentially right now. In this change, organizations require assistance with project management, leadership, service design, graphic design, programming and data analysis. This – and as a cherry on the top cloud infrastructure management – can all be provided by Gofore.
Other posts in the blog series:
- Ville Tuominen: How design helps create value – for all stakeholders
- Mikael Nylund: Renewability required in a time of changes