In 2005, the National Cash Register Corporation (NCR) stood at a crossroads. Founded in the late nineteenth century and famous for having invented the mechanical cash register, the firm had become a leader in manufacturing hardware to process financial transactions and a significant player in the data warehousing market. Unfortunately, at the turn of the 21st century, the firm’s competitive advantage was eroding—quickly.
In late 2013, Accenture was at an inflection point. Throughout most of its history, the firm had functioned as a consultancy. By then, however, it had evolved into a multi-dimensional business with wings devoted to consulting, strategy, technology, and operations. Accenture’s diversification forced the entire company to evolve, but it created particularly acute pressure for the finance division to adapt.
In September 2011, when Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe became the Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MET), he faced significant challenges. The agency had had five commissioners in the previous seven years, a spate of discontinuity that had interfered with the development and pursuit of a coherent vision. Making matters more difficult, the agency had to recover quickly because in less than one year, London would host the 2012 Olympics—an event that would place the city on the world’s biggest stage and test the MET’s security and event management capabilities.
Hogan-Howe not only helped London to navigate the Olympics without incident; five years into his tenure as commissioner, he has made London significantly safer while pursuing transformation at the MET.
In January 2014, when William Bratton began his second stint as Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), he faced a challenge unlike any he had confronted in his 44-year law enforcement career. Although the city’s crime rate was lower than it had been in decades, a survey conducted in spring 2014 revealed that 41 percent of blacks and 31 percent of Hispanics “held a somewhat negative or very negative view of the police.” Since then, the department has employed a multi-pronged strategy—highlighted by an increase in community policing, expanded trainings, and a wider embrace of modern technology—to continue keeping New Yorkers safe while restoring trust.
On March 24, 2014, Nóirín O'Sullivan got the call: senior Irish officials wanted to know if she would become the Interim Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police force. Most long-time law enforcement officers spend their entire careers preparing for that kind of opportunity, but O’Sullivan, who had joined An Garda Síochána in 1981 and was then serving as the agency’s Deputy Commissioner of Operations, knew that the agency’s next leader would face enormous challenges.
In 2012, SPD and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had agreed upon a consent decree mandating that SPD engage in significant reform to curb the “unnecessary and excessive use of force” and address concerns about discriminatory policing. Unfortunately, the initial reports from Monitor Merrick Bobb evaluating SPD’s progress identified further problems, namely “dug-in” resistance and “foot-dragging” within SPD—in other words, a refusal to work collaboratively with DOJ on reform. But Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, her team, city officials, and their partners at DOJ and the Monitoring Team shifted the tide by fostering a climate that prized teamwork.
When David Bray became the CIO of the FCC in 2013, the IT division was at a crossroads. The group employed more than 200 legacy IT systems, forcing it to devote over 85 percent of its budget to operations and maintenance. Making matters worse, the FCC had had nine CIOs in the previous eight years alone...
In the late 1990s, senior officials at Procter & Gamble realized that their firm was approaching a high-stakes inflection point. Since its inception as a family business in 1837, P&G had evolved into a global leader in manufacturing home and personal care products. However, company officials recognized that P&G would need to revamp its business model and culture to thrive in a 21st-century economy likely to be marked by rapid technological change and increasingly intense competition.
Leaders in Dakota County, Minnesota, recognizing the Human Services Value Curve's potential, embarked on a journey of vision and strategic planning. The resulting transformation integrates services provided by the county as well as those provided by partnering nonprofits—like 360 Communities—to create a circle of programs and services that promotes community-wide self-sufficiency.
Streamlining operations is a universal imperative in the health and human services industry, but myriad possibilities exist for how to tackle it. Deciding on the best approach demands a keen understanding of the convergence dynamics that shape the operating environment. At the national level, and in the midst of economic crisis, convergence becomes even more complex. Such was the state of affairs in Ireland beginning in 2008.
Leadership for a Networked World’s applied research, student innovation challenge, and on-campus summit programs are an initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), part of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. TECH is a hub for students, faculty, alumni, and government and industry leaders to learn together, collaborate, and innovate. LNW accelerates these efforts by connecting leaders across sectors and developing cutting-edge thought leadership on innovation and organizational transformation.