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4/15/2009
02:24 PM
Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd
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Open Enterprise 2009: Lee Bryant Interview

I had the opportunity to interview Lee Bryant, CEO of the UK-based consultancy Headshift, and the result was a somewhat long, but extremely interesting series of insights based on his work in many enterprises.Some of the topmost insights:

  • The Economy -- "People are still living on last year's budgets," so a lot of the momentum now is still based on last year's decisions. He expects a point of decision for many companies in the near term, which could lead to the tail-off of earlier projects. "Paradoxically, the worst you are hit [economically] the better you come out of it." Lee suggests that those that who accept the new economic realities quickly are the first to adapt, and may get a leap based on that.
  • ROI -- Some shell-shocked companies are continuing to fund large, expensive, and perhaps not that beneficial projects, while requiring highly detailed ROI analysis for a $50K experimental project, which is choking off innovation.
  • The Rise of the Social Web -- Lee has a great historical sense, and suggests that we are at a turning point, like the start of the industrial era. "We have our own railroads, our own telephone system," meaning the social web, and we have a chance to reorganize our economy around new sorts of scale, new kinds of efficiency and prodcutivity. This is going to be disruptive, but will lead to an new economy.
  • Change Management and Culture -- Lee makes the case that the meme about people being resisting change is a bit off the mark. People are open to adopting new things if they actually help, and will resist various vacuous arguments about 'you need to change ot die' or psuedo-mystical mumbo-jumbo about emergent values and so on. He has found it best to position these tools in the simplest most straightforward and business-oriented way.
I found myself wishing that the conversation could have gone on longer, even though it ran over 20 minutes. Lee and I will be overlapping at several conference in the next month, and I will be sure to talk to him again.

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