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Trend Steering: Mistake 1

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 12-01-2011 Print

Nowhere in the enterprise is the rapid turnover of technology trends felt more keenly than in your own IT organization. Your ability to identify upcoming technology trends and steer your organization in the right direction is a major ingredient to your success as a CIO. So, how effective is your IT organization when it comes to spotting and taking advantage of trends? Do you opt for a wait-and-see approach? Or, do you take the opposite tactic, chasing every "Next Big Thing" without properly evaluating whether it will contribute to strategic goals? In the book Harvard Business Review on Rebuilding Your Business Model (Harvard Business Review/Available now), contributors Elie Ofek and Luc Wathieu identify four classic mistakes that executives make in helping their businesses navigate trends. While not unique to the world of IT, most of us can relate to trend-steering mistakes that "result in missed profit opportunities or wasteful investments in R&D," as the authors write. "At the extreme, [such missteps] can jeopardize a company by ceding to rivals the opportunity to transform the industry." Ofek is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Wathieu holds the Ferrero Chair in international marketing at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin. Here are the four classic mistakes to avoid:


You don't distinguish trends that matter from those that don't.Only a few trends can positively influence internal or external customer behavior in meaningful way. Consider impact, scope and endurance in your evaluations.


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