The Busting Bureaucracy Hackathon

Phase 3: Ideas for Busting Bureaucracy (Part 1)

Driving business farther and faster

By Naser Muja on July 7, 2021

Navigating from A to B can be a tedious affair. High traffic volumes often lead to bottlenecks and accidents that adversely impact the efficiency of transportation systems; causing delays, increased fuel expenditures, pollution, and mental stress. Consulting traffic reports and GPS maps generally offers few alternatives that bypass clogged arteries en route to one’s ultimate destination. Walking may be faster.

Bureaucracy is stop-and-go business. Managers engaged with colleagues across different departments, divisions, and/or geographies experience significant difficulty driving value in high gear throughout the entire day. Their organizational commutes are often long, with unexpected detours, and subject to process breakdown. This hack aims to reduce bureaucracy by drawing from roadway transportation infrastructure approaches designed to favor efficient vehicular flow in order to develop tools that ensure team autonomy and enhance organizational performance. In doing so, technology may help workers "take the wheel" from bureaucracy.

First Steps 

Priority lane: teams engaged in urgent business activity must minimize distractions in order to remain aligned and focus on successful project completion. Develop and rehearse “Code Red” drills to detect emerging crises, define accountability, identify contingencies, facilitate communication, and execute timely responses. Establish a secure alert system that notifies team members that an immediate response is needed. Establish robust information and communication feeds that support effective crisis management.

Carpool/HOV lane: implement processes that reduce challenges associated with driving and sustaining team synergy within a larger network. Recognize the critical mass of assets assembled by facilitating the exchange of ideas and maximizing time invested in the joint project effort. Set up a collaborative digital space where correspondence is archived and readily accessible in order to support innovation. A defined goal is indicated on project listing and those interested in traveling together can book a ticket to the destination. Time of departure and time of arrival must be well defined.

Bridges, ferries, and tunnels: identify and provide access to experienced individuals who act internally as liaisons, pathfinders, or champions that enable others to surpass obstacles and reach farther. Ensure that the organization has recruited and developed individuals with leadership capacity, influence, and necessary authority. Set up a searchable database that indicates unique areas of expertise, past project involvement, and contact info for each employee. Once team members are assembled, a digital organizational chart may be used to display individual KSA’s, define accountability, and identify expertise gaps for project completion.

Race track: high risk projects and performance improvements require a dedicated proving ground where specialized teams can safely run experiments at top speed and optimize conditions with each lap/cycle. Access to information and careful data analysis is needed to generate insights and make sound decisions that contribute to competitive advantage. Ensure that resources are available to support creativity and innovation. Employees with high expertise can beta test technology under development and provide feedback prior to integration throughout the organization. Racers can eventually engage Bridges, Ferries, and Tunnels to effectuate technology adoption and organizational change.

Stop signs and traffic signals: define day to day organizational rules and processes that encourage resource sharing and cooperation for the completion of recurring operational tasks. Increase employee awareness when regulatory mechanisms are overlooked or ignored and intersection crossing becomes hazardous. Consider the volume, length, and placement of control mechanisms when they are overemphasized, ineffective, and burdensome. Simplify forms, surveys, progress reports, and other shared documentation. Establish reminders to ensure high response rates and compliance.

Unpaved roads: support diversity and continuous growth by allowing employees to explore undeveloped paths leading to discovery. Pioneers can operate without boundaries, learning and responding while on their journey, and bring back newly developed skills/observations to the organization. Organizations may test the limits of technology under different contexts including harsh/demanding conditions to support business development, develop alternatives, and drive innovation.

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