Of Speedy Innovation, Quality Service Delivery and Project Managers

Abayomi G. Omotayo
In Nigeria, and all over the world (because Nigeria is a microcosm of an increasingly borderless global village) there is a seeming imbalance between speedy innovation and service delivery. Can Project Managers help? 

Innovation is a major organizational driver and a key determinant of a guaranteed future existence or extinction. This is rightly so because it confers (sustainable)competitive advantage on an organization. This is usually for a while because there are no laws against smart copycat as long as there are no infringements on copyrights and intellectual property. Also, the world is not short of innovative thinkers who can be contracted at the speed of light, thanks to cross border collaboration and connection that continuously engenders the fluidity and exchange of ideas. This means that an idea that conferred sustainable advantage on an organization yesterday is considered obsolete today. 

The challenge this presents is that organizations must therefore constantly innovate. This is why companies especially in the tech space have dedicated innovation unit/department. Innovation is powered by Information Technology, the process of turning ideas to innovative products or services is usually managed as a project. Here comes the fusion of Project Managers and Information Technology. 

Under pressure to the keep the customers happy, increase the bottom line, be the first to market and retain customer base, I have noticed that gradually, there is a depreciation in the quality of service or product offered. This submission is from my personal experience. For example, I pay handsomely for my CableTV, yet the USSD code to for self-service hardly works, I still have to call a customer care agent to solve my issues. Even though there is a toll free line, it hardly connects and I have to resort to using the non-toll free line thus bearing unnecessary cost on a service I am not even happy with.

Of all my ATM cards. I now use just one for POS transactions; I have since stopped using one because it never services me well. Shall I talk about my countless frustrating attempts to consummate online transactions or going to the bank to pay government charges and levies and they tell you ‘the link is down’ or ‘portal is not loading’? Away from Nigeria, in the last decades, major auto giants like Toyota, Mercedes and BMW have had to recall cars due to defects. How come faulty parts are emanating from a process they (should)have mastered over the years. Could this be as a result of pressure to innovate, show off at auto shows and get to the market first with new designs and models? 

Most recently, Samsung was bedevilled by Galaxy Note 7’s battery literally catching fire. Could this be a result of too much pressure on the team and the project managers in a bid to get to the market first before Apple’s IPhone 7? In the end, speedy innovation turned to bad product and customers did not get quality service and product. It’s time project managers added some chill to the speedy but increasingly faulty innovative process that unfairly deprive customers of quality service. I do agree though that this will take a lot of professional courage and tact in handling pressure cascading down from top management. 

Abayomi G. Omotayo is a tech enthusiast, a project manager for a Tier-1 bank in Nigeria and blogs at www.musingsamplified.com

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