Next up, Lou Rosenfeld on the folly of big redesign projects.
The big idea here is that a design is only right at a moment in time and that the challenge is to be wrong or irrelevant for the shortest possible time. It’s about creating the conditions for continuous improvement.
If indeed in Lou’s words “everytime you redesign, God kills a kitten”, then the pet cemetery must be reaching capacity!
Once again, the origins of this problem are organisational problems: big businesses like to create big business cases which in turn create big redesign projects. The problem many organisations create for themselves is the separation of the business as usual team and the programme team. Traditional organisations find it easier to separate and ring fence enhancement programmes and run them as big IT projects, making them controlled but slow and inflexible. They often lose sight of the target outcome focusing more on effort and outputs. And they take too long.
Many of our clients are trapped by big legacy (platform, templates, process) which means that the big redesign is sometimes essential. But we’re seeing real success stories in fast and furious optimisation projects and the future feels like it requires innovation and fleet of footness in both programmes and business as usual.