How to overcome the ‘Moore’s Law’ of business change

There was a time when long-range business planning encompassed the next 1-5 years, maybe more. With the speed of technology change we’re now lucky to accurately predict six months out.

Call it the “Moore’s Law” of business change.

In 1965 Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors on a microchip would double every two years – and for almost 50 years that idea has held true.

That rapid growth in technology has seeped into everything we do – in physical technologies and in business processes. Today’s marketing teams have to be prepared for three to six months from now – markets can change that fast in a world economy where anyone can invent the next big disruptive innovation.

Does a company jettison the big-picture planning? Of course not. But responding to Moore’s Law takes a two-pronged approach: short-term goals that can be set and met quickly, plus a long-term view that solves larger problems identified by organizational leaders.

Now replace computer transistors with employees. Moore’s Law becomes a reliable system for engaging employees and providing transparent business practices under a single mission of innovation.

Pitney Bowes, for example, simultaneously addresses both goals with its Challenge-based innovation program.

It hosts regular, big-picture online engagements where objectives, ideas and decisions are visible to 18,000 employees around the world. This ensures fresh perspectives applied to existing problems – for example an engineering intern’s idea led to a pilot in Pitney Bowes’ Marketing Services group.

At the same time, smaller engagements help produce fast results and keep momentum going for the longer-term Challenges that continue over weeks or months.

Taking the long and short view for innovation planning has paid off. Pitney Bowes saw a 20+% increase in customer satisfaction scores in less than one month after implementing a simple process improvement identified through an online Challenge. On an HR-focused Challenge, cross business-unit collaboration by two international units led to at least three new contracts worth over €300,000.

By nimbly pulsing between short-term and long-view Challenges, problems can be addressed as they arise – making it easier to keep pace with Moore’s Law.

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