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The importance of embracing complexity from the start

In Part 1 of our insights series, we explain the need for strong technical and enterprise-aware foundations in the early stages of all digital innovation endeavours.

22/11/2021
November 22, 2021
-
2
min read

Over the past 18 months, we’ve gone from helping our clients adapt and respond to disruptive forces, to being thrust head-on into that disruption ourselves. Navigating change and uncertainty is always challenging, but this period of intense, accelerated learning revealed the five qualities we believe are essential when establishing any digital innovation partnership. In this insights series, we look at those qualities one by one.

Impactful innovation requires solid architectural, organisational & technical foundations


The current pace of digital change is like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. With increasing pressure to evolve, adapt and compete on a global scale, companies need to innovate for a world that is moving at enormous speed, with short windows of opportunity and large exposure to unexpected events and competitors. 

To ensure agility, innovators should consider, from the very offset, the technical and organisational complexities that will come into play once success hits. They also need to fully understand and leverage the assets they already have at their disposal if they want to differentiate themselves sustainably and achieve success.

If these factors are ignored and innovation is approached more as a fast-paced product-user or market-fit exercise, then companies may be able to prove something, but they won’t be able to benefit from it – worse still, others may be able to capitalise on those half-hearted efforts.


Real, impactful innovation isn’t possible when products or solutions are built ad hoc – without the agility to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, these solutions quickly reveal themselves to be lightweights, unable to keep supporting the company’s business goals.

Instead, products and solutions need to be securely anchored in the existing architecture, ready to mature and reach their full potential.

An innovation team for the real world tackles complexity head on


At November Five, we have seen this increasing need to consider potential future complexities right from the beginning of any project. That’s why we have brought additional enterprise and solution architecture and integration expertise on board over the past years – further increasing the diversity of our teams, and ensuring we have both the breadth and depth of skills and experience needed.

Involving enterprise architects and other technical and corporate experts early in the innovation process ensures that solutions are designed and built in the most intelligent way, are primed for future success, and deliver results that matter.

By tackling complex custom integrations with existing assets with relative ease and realism, innovators can unlock sustainable differentiation. By considering the lifecycle of the various component parts of the solution, we ensure that all the relevant aspects of future scalability are taken into account, such as performance, maintenance, compatibility and security. 

At the same time, more mundane focus areas such as adhering to high standards in terms of documentation, modularity, autonomy and orchestration ensure technical debt is curbed while speed, efficiency and adaptability thrive.

Key take-away

Taking technical and organisational complexities, as well as existing assets, into account from the very start is the only way to ensure you’ll be ready to take advantage of windows of opportunity as your digital product evolves. 

The right partner can make sure you lay solid foundations that can adapt to any eventuality, without having to implement additional functionality right away. They can anticipate issues that would arise during a rapid and sudden rise to success or truly foresee opportunities and challenges that existing assets could potentially bring through integration.

Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck when trying to scale fast, or miss out on ways to enable, capture or maximise your own innovation’s success.

Stijn Symons

Chief Digital Officer

22/11/2021
November 22, 2021
-
2
min read

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About Fast Company’s ‘Best Workplace for Innovators’

November Five was named one of Fast Company’s global 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators in both 2020 and 2021. This annual list, developed in collaboration with Accenture, recognises and honors the top 100 businesses from different industries that inspire, support and promote innovation at all levels. For the consecutive year, November Five was the single Belgian workplace listed.

Fast Company is the world's leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company and FastCompany.com inspire readers and users to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations and create the future of business.

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