The Weekly Dig: Disciplined Innovation and Disruption
The Weekly Dig is an easy-to-digest peek into trending industry topics, thought-leadership, and product updates from Pype.
July 16, 2019
A few weeks ago, we picked the brain of Dominic Daughtrey, Sundt’s Continuous Improvement Manager, to see how Sundt successfully evaluates and implements enterprise-level software. During that conversation, he touched on the concept of Disciplined Innovation, which he explained as “we’re going to experiment aggressively on the front line, we’re going to be extremely diligent and rigorous, and we’re going to measure not only the metrics, but also the qualitative impact on our employee owners.” As the interview progressed, we dug deeper into this idea and how it guides Sundt and Dominic’s own practices, and we’ll be sharing his insights over this four-part series of the Weekly Dig.
We’ve previously covered Sundt’s strategy to balance speed of technology evaluation with thoroughness, but that’s only the first part of implementing Disciplined Innovation. Along the same vein, a firm also must balance proactivity with reactivity.
According to Dominic, “the industry is ripe for major disruption—like, internet levels of disruption. We don’t know when it’ll happen, or what it’ll be, but we know it’s coming.” To prepare for this inevitable shake-up, Sundt has been looking toward the future for technologies they should be investing in after five, or ten years. Leading this charge are two different committees within Sundt, jokingly titled the Board of Disruptors and the Sundt Illuminati. These two committees steer Sundt’s technology evaluation and improvement strategies, helping to narrow down their investment options to only the most viable. “To sift through the barrage of technology we see everyday,” Dominic says, “we have to step back and ask ourselves ‘will this streamline processes? Will this help Sundt reach our top goals? Will this improve people’s lives?’”
However, firms cannot afford to ignore current fires and pain-points in their processes while looking ahead. “The executives have their top goals for the company, but each person on every project team has their own personal goals, too. We have to make sure we’re also affording them the tools they need to achieve their goals as well.” To this end, Dominic has made sure that both committees not only include members from across all units of the company, but also that neither committee moves forward without input from project teams. “I wanted to give the front-line employees a collective voice, and we’re seeing a tremendous improvement in quality as a result.”