Weak Or Strong?

“In weak companies politics win, in strong companies best ideas win”. (Steve Jobs).

I have worked in a truly innovative culture and really loved it!

Back in 1998 I worked with a boutique web development company called Zivo Internet. I had reskilled from IBM MVS Mainframe to the Microsoft ASP & VB6 platform a couple of years before. Zivo hired me as the Technical Lead for a project with MINCOM. A really clever guy named Leon was running one of the two ‘back end’ teams at Zivo. He and I designed the first ‘portal’ system I know of. Users could arrange information panels like tiles on a home page, plus other content like the current weather and Dilbert cartoon.
I moved to the office after the job was finished and had some ideas around technical leadership and reuse. The management took on my ideas and created a new position, which Leon moved into, and we embarked on building out reusable components into common libraries in order to cut development costs and timeframes, also realizing better profits. Zivo backed the ideas enough that they changed the organisational model to enable better flow of value. Good on Kirsty Garrett who way back then understood the capacity for staff to lead with ideas, for her willingness to alter the organization and for the benefit they started to realise. Zivo was ground breaking in its culture and office environment too. In fact, I have never really seen its equal.

My second experience was Promendo. My friend Vince Sciacca led Promendo as they took on a raft of work, much of it for the Queensland Government. The environment was results oriented, and if you had ideas and wanted to lead with them, you could. In fact, this is where my involvement with Business Process Management Systems started. I identified a new technology that was coming out of Silicon Valley, USA, that enabled graphical process design and then execution, using a precursor to e BPMN process notation. Vince backed me and we talked to iOctane, a partner company, about it. They had also seen the technology and planned to get on board. My luck was that Jim Alateras (a Java guru) who was pegged by iOctane to go to the USA became unavailable, and in very short order I was in Silicon Valley training with Intalio to use the N|1 business process engine. Shortly afterwards, I went to Singapore to train CSC in its use and did a live demonstration of hooking into an airline web service. That might be normal now, but in 2004 it was revolutionary! It was also exciting for me as I had written a white paper less than two years before effectively detailing the same thing as web services architecture and WSDL (web service discovery language). I later did an ANZ roadshow as technical presenter, which was lots of fun.

I want to thank Kirsty and Vince for their leadership and trust. I hope you’re inspired to contribute your energy into making a strong, idea led company where “politics bows to progress”!

#ideas #culture #businesstransformation


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