"A lousy process
will consume ten times
as many hours
as the work
– Attributed to Bill Gates
The point for innovation
Seems like some things don't change. After all, Gates wrote the book that contains this post's quote in 1999, during the last frothy hype, then about the internet. 🤷♂️
Change changes, but not everything changes
This quote came back to me when I heard a similar one, this time lobbed at the incoming Age of AI. It went something like:
"If you automate a crap process with AI,
you get 'Crap At Scale.'"
(BTW: This issue also echoes the podcast conversation that Lukas Egger from SAP Signavio and I had on the topic and my related background essay. Give them a read/ listen if you want to dive more deeply into this topic.)
Innovators must care about practicing Impressive Craft
When an old issue still persists–in fact, I'd guess it's even much, much older than Gates' quote–it serves as a warning that it might relate to something that's "common sense" but not "common action." It's worth your while not to underestimate it.
It also underscores the value of creating Impressive craft. Yes, topics like process, practice, templates, and the like can boring. But it's the only time you'll get any good. And it's a fantastic way to save time for even more awesome things.
The tricky part is how actually to pull it off. For that, consider my Craft Impressivizer, a ratcheting benchmark for doing awesome work in innovation, wrapped in the form of a simple template.
In short, ensure that your team's work is:
- grounded in an open-eyed assessment of your team and situation
- selectively awesome
- embracing learning in an opportunistic, "as feasible, when feasible" way
- and efficient.
More in my blog post.
*Note: The quote is attributed to Bill Gates online from the book listed below. But I have not yet been able to confirm the quote's presence in the book.
Business @ the Speed of Thought
by Bill Gates
Grand Central (1999)
Gates, B. (1999). Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy. Grand Central Publishing. http://books.google.com/books?id=lUuozwEACAAJ&hl=&source=gbs_api