I was talking to the CIO of a large financial institution last week. He told me he was in the midst of building out two new datacenters, spending $250,000,000 (yes, a quarter of a billon) on one, more than that on the other. He was beyond frustrated (as I’m sure was his CFO).
I asked him how long it was going to take, he said nearly three years. Years.
And then Dave Douglas reminded me that two to three years is longer than it took for YouTube to incorporate, build out their infrastructure, scale their business to serve the entire planet – and get sold.
So if time to market matters – in responding to market opportunity or a natural disaster – surely something’s got to change.
What’s the relationship to sustainable business? Well, first of all, time to market is a critical success factor for all sorts of businesses, and any business that isn’t successful isn’t sustainable, no matter how green it is. (I suggested to Karl-Henrik Robert years ago that profitability was the fifth system condition.)
Second, sustainability’s got the need for speed. Someone wondered at the Bioneers conference this past weekend when the climate crisis will get serious enough for human nature, which tends to delay action until things are serious, to kick into gear. ‘It already is serious’ someone shouted from the audience. And it is. And so we need fast cycles — rapid prototyping, accelerated time to market for solutions (and the apparent contradiction of thinking before leaping), action learning and rolling redesign. Rinse and repeat.