“What is now proved was once only imagined.”
– William Blake, 19th Century English poet and artist
We’re living in the age of disruption. In my conversations with business leaders, most everyone agrees: If you don’t move forward, you fall behind. The status quo leads nowhere but failure.
With this uncertainty, our most successful members in TAG fully appreciate the power and mystery of innovation. They’re obsessed with it.
At TAG, we are too. We understand the cruel realities of business in 2021, and we’re here to support members in their quest to innovate. It’s our job to help businesses master the complexity of our technology ecosystem.
How can TAG shape conditions for innovation to thrive? Below are four principles for fueling innovation that I’ve identified in my leadership at TAG:
- Innovation begins with problem solving. The companies in our membership compete in the real economy. Their leaders come from all walks of life. Unlike most of the unicorns of Silicon Valley, TAG members are solving problems and creating value. This real-world experience puts leaders at a competitive advantage, especially when it comes to innovation.There are as many ways to innovate as there are types of problems. There is no one “true” path. By making connections, removing friction and educating members through communities of knowledge, TAG helps members solve problems, and we fuel innovation.
- Innovation drives inclusion and inclusion drives innovation. Ultimately, technology should work in the service of people. That means everybody, including the disconnected and dispossessed. For that reason, we encourage TAG’s members to work together to ensure technology does not disproportionally favor any one community. This may not be easy but it’s the right thing to do.How can we help? Businesses can and should do more to recruit under-sourced and underrepresented talent. As our businesses become more diverse, they will also become more innovative and profitable. For our part, TAG established a Social Justice and Equity Task Force, and we’re committed to the goals of inclusion as a catalyst for innovation.
- Innovation happens when people come together in new and surprising ways. As people return to the office post pandemic, organizational cultures will evolve.To that end, TAG-Ed, our non-profit foundation, strengthens Georgia’s future workforce by providing students with access, exposure and awareness of STEM opportunities through hands-on learning experiences. TAG’s interest is the success of people—students pursuing knowledge, employees building skills, and managers creating value. If we do our jobs right, innovation will accelerate in the post-pandemic economy.
- IT security is a necessary condition of innovation. Without it, not only are our machines and hardware at risk but also our jobs, our homes and our families are threatened. Just look at the damage done just this year by cyberattacks on our pipelines, government offices, healthcare facilities and other critical organizations.TAG created the National Technology Security Coalition (NTSC) to bring a private sector perspective to influence the current national policy discussions about cybersecurity and our critical infrastructure. We’re determined to remove the growing threat of ransomware and cyber attacks as an obstacle to not only innovation but also economic growth and prosperity.
After all, when it comes to innovation, one size does not fit all. The many benefits of this iterative process are elusive but well worth pursuing. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we continue the conversation on this important topic.
Larry K. Williams
President and CEO, Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)