Just How Far Can You Go With Disruptive Change?
Every sector can benefit by having “industry outsiders” step in with fresh eyes to suggest new and better ways of doing things. They can bring an untarnished perspective to processes and problems and possibly cross-pollinate solutions from other fields. The down side is that they may not sufficiently understand the nuances and non-negotiables of the new sector and, therefore, propose solutions that violate certain aspects of the industry’s philosophy or work flow.
I recall a conversation with a vendor about 10 years ago when she was looking for a pilot site for a product that promised to streamline the billing and collections process. Although I thought she had some very good ideas, implementing her approach would violate two or three very fundamental “can’t be changed” aspects of the interplay between hospital billing offices and the insurance industry. Admittedly, the existing process was somewhat irrational, but I had spent enough time in that sub-universe to know that it would be easier to shift the earth’s axis tilt from 23-½ degrees than to bring about the changes she proposed, and I told her so. Her response: “Well, they just need to get over it. This is the 21st Century.” Nice thought, but it ain’t going to happen. As far as I know, she never did get her pilot site.
So, there are limits to how much change an organization is willing to adopt, and any product or approach that pushes the limits too far is destined for the scrap heap.
Recommendation: By all means, seek new ways to streamline and even up-end the status quo. But make sure you have gotten a “reality check” from actual users as to your approach’s viability. As you are designing your product, seek advice from people who actually work in the exact area that would be affected and ask for honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t. You may have a spectacular solution to a recognized problem, but it’s worthless if no one is willing to use it because of a miscalculation.