Held annually at ExCel London, the HR Tech Europe Expo brings together the continent’s most innovative leaders in HR and recruitment to share groundbreaking ideas and network with fellow executives. This year, we were lucky enough to earn a spot on the guestlist.
The expo’s first day was full of exciting events and bold new concepts, but the highlight was Peter Hinssen’s opening keynote address. The co-founder and chairman of the digital consultancy nexxworks and author of The Network Always Wins, Hinssen claimed that we’ve reached a precipice in tech development.
As the strength of our networks grows at a faster rate than many of us can comprehend, now is the time for the kind of disruptive innovations that change entire industries, innovations that can turn the tables and put all the cards in your company’s able hands.
“Networks are the reason that our society is evolving from a hierarchy to a meritocracy or that we share more and more with one another, without having to end up with less,” Hinssen said. “This has enormous consequences for companies that need to learn how to function as a network themselves.”
— Rob Hill (@RobHill18) March 24, 2015
Uber, the Pioneer
To Hinssen, Uber offers a great example of a small company that leveraged networks against big industry players. The actual service Uber provides isn’t different or groundbreaking at all – it’s the way the company delivers it. Not only did the ride-sharing app create a simple way for consumers to hail a cab with their mobile phones, but it took a network of professionals that was already in place and utilised it to make this innovation possible.
The biggest challenge for today’s companies, then, isn’t coming up with some brand new service or product. It’s using networks to deliver those services faster and more conveniently. “Information flows faster in networks and innovation happens faster – and, above all, cheaper – there,” Hinssen argued.
How Today’s Companies Can Improve
And that doesn’t just go for the consumer side of the equation. Hinssen believes that companies still using outdated organisational structures are failing to make use of their full potential, hampered by ineffective communication and rigid chains of command.
Without fluidity and flexibility, he says, big industry players will soon find themselves struggling to catch up with disruptive innovators like Uber.
One particular source of inflexibility that’s hurting major companies today is an unwavering allegiance to their prefab policies. Hinssen’s tip? “Don’t overdo strategy.” Your business should rely on flexible strategies that embrace next-gen disruptors, ones that can adapt to unexpected shifts quickly and efficiently.
The age of digital networks is one of constant upheaval and capricious consumer attitudes, and staying the course is no longer a viable options for modern executives.
— Christop Vanden Eede (@cvandeneede) March 24, 2015
If we learned anything from the HR Tech Europe opening keynote, it’s that your adaptation to changes and innovations should be as open-minded, savvy, and ingenious as the innovations themselves.
It’s great to be the company that reinvents its whole industry, but if you can’t be that company, you have to be the one that changes quickly enough to not get caught off-guard. For established companies, it’s the power of the network that can give us the speed and flexibility to do that.