We mostly think of diversity and inclusion issues as it relates to people and organizations. The benefit of thinking in this dimension comes from bringing in groups of people with a broad range of experiences, styles, and approaches to solve organizational problems in creative ways.
The same applies to sourcing strategies for plugging in outside organizations with our own. This is relevant to contracting, partnerships, and strategic alliances. Sourcing strategies give us the opportunity to reflect on the strengths and challenges of our organizations and be intentional about what kind of outside company can provide the biggest advantage. These successful strategies are key to building an organization that is constantly learning and organically innovative.
This article originally appeared on NASA’s CIO blog and is published here by permission of the author. For more news and insights on innovations at work in government, please sign up for the AOL Gov newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.
Clayton Christensen in “Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” talks about the factors that affect an organization’s ability to be creative and innovative.
These three factors which “…affect what an organization can and cannot do [are] its resources, its process, and its values.” He goes on to say that large companies usually reject promising opportunities because smaller companies are better positioned financially, culturally, and process-wise to pursue them.
Many of us spend a lot of time bemoaning the fact that it is so difficult to innovate or leverage technology in government because of how we budget, procure, and bureaucratize. But is it really that bad?
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) put out an intriguing memo. For those non-bureaucrats, we live and die by OMB memos – we even give them names and numbers. It’s sort of like when your mother tells you to do something – always listen to your Mom. This memo is commonly known as Mythbusters. Here, myth #10 tells that tells us to that getting broad participation from a variety of vendors is good for us. If we do this, we’ll grow up to be big and strong – Mom, uh… I mean OMB has a point here. Here’s the fact:
“The government loses when we limit ourselves to the companies we already work with. Instead, we need to look for opportunities to increase competition and ensure that all vendors, including small businesses, get fair consideration. ”
Successful leaders will create an ecosystem where strategic partnerships exist in which each partner or vendor has an important role to play.
Consider a shipping analogy – after all, for those who know me, it’s all about cruising.
Large ships tend to be slow and difficult to maneuver. They are like agencies or large companies with entrenched cultural traditions and a heritage of processes.
These ships need the help of pilot boats or tug boats to help them maneuver tight channels or clear reefs in order to have a successful journey. These smaller ships are like smaller agencies or small businesses that are able to go into places the big guys can’t fit and are nimble, quick, and flexible.
Finally, we have yachts and other small pleasure boats that can run circles around everyone – like the tender boats that ferry people back and forth to shore much more effectively and safely than the big guys can.
Whether you’re a Harvard Business School professor, a Mom, or a frequent cruiser, the value of the variety and capabilities that we apply to sourcing work in organizations is a key to success.
Linda Cureton is CIO of NASA.