Many organizations now realize that innovation is no longer an option. In fact, some believe that innovation is essential for the continued existence of their organizations. It has become that critical—and thus alarming. Therefore, it must quickly become a core competency of organizations—and that will impact SMEs.
Arguably for the first time in history, the change we all must react to is being brought about by multiple sources (technologies). All are working alone and in combination to create an environment rich with potential, just waiting to be harnessed by organizations. Think of what happens if your organization’s top competitor is first out with innovation to your top moneymaking product or service…that is not a pleasant situation.
Senior-level executives are asking about the creation of a strategy that directly addresses innovation within their organizations. SMEs are increasingly critical when it comes to the execution of the organization’s strategies. executives are tasked with leading their organizations into the future. Their successful delivery of the program and projects they oversee are essentially the foundation of the business of tomorrow. That is what it takes just to stay competitive in today’s dramatically changing, heightened competitive global operational environment.
Stop for a moment and think about how you would rate your organization’s aggressiveness when it comes to innovation. Now consider how you would rate yourself in your ability to meet the challenges of your organization’s innovative posture. Given the importance of this subject, you might want to get a few other completely honest opinions from your co-workers.
SMEs operating in the strategic innovation environment must ensure they have the skill set that is quickly becoming essential for many today. A survey during an online presentation found the following, ranked in order of importance (lowest first to highest last):
- Digital skills
- Technological understanding skills
- Managerial skills
- Leadership skills
- Core skills
It’s important to note that, by far, “all of the above” was the overwhelming desired answer.
As an SME, this certainly illustrates what is expected. An enhanced set of skills of business executives are beginning to emerge. Digital skills are seen as a strategic advantage when it comes to addressing innovation within organizations. After all, digital is what the future is all about.
It is worth suggesting that technology is everywhere, and a basic general knowledge of the most valuable technologies within your area of concentrations is—and will continue to be—a strategic advantage in the workforce. At a minimum, digital technology fluency is a requirement for all of us.
As innovation is disrupting existing business, operational and professional models are being obsoleted at a rapid pace that has never occurred historically. According to a briefing by Deloitte, today the career length norm is seen to be 50 years. Think about the magnitude of change that happened in the last 50 years. Now think about what the magnitude of change is likely to be in by the time we reach 72 years of age (college graduation age + 50 years).
This will give you a rough approximation of what you will be dealing with throughout your career. It is also worth mentioning that Deloitte went on to forecast the impact of the changing in nature of the career. It now believes that the half-life of skills is two-and-a-half to five years. It also states that the average tenure in a job is less than five years. In addition, it states that by 2020, 40% of the U.S. workers will be contingent. The working environment is undergoing dramatic change!
Strategy, innovation, and technology skills are a springboard into the future of program and project management. Like it or not, it is a fact that we all must deal with now and into the future.
Perhaps it’s time for project managers to examine their own organization in terms of strategy, innovation, and technology—where they are today, and where they are likely to go in the near term.
In addition, SMEs must examine their own strategy for retaining not just the necessary SME skills, but those that are highly desirable for the more strategy- and innovation-centric mindset that the C-suite expects. Organizations are already in a talent crunch in terms of SMEs, and this only makes it worse! It is clear that we all going to be working longer—and on innovations that were beyond our dreams in the early and mid-years of our careers.