Changemakers of Operational Technology

Changemakers of Operational Technology

January 5, 2022

Smart Tech Advisor Hanna Pikkusaari discusses leadership in the Operational Technology environment.

OT development programs are typically very confidential. They may be related to the services enabling a company’s core business. They open new doors and build bridges between traditionally very independent functions. The discussion is cross-functional by nature and may open a fast track towards a path one did not even know existed. In this post I open some of my thoughts based on my experience in the field of operational technology - from inside and outside, as a consumer, customer and a consultant. With these thoughts I welcome the new year 2022 with all my heart and accept and look forward to the challenges it has to offer. 

A strong and sometimes even naive trust is admirable. Some people even say it’s a built-in functionality in us Finns. It’s wonderful how we can show so strong trust in another. But without realism and understanding the context, trust may blur the perspective. And trust usually walks along with assumptions, and an assumption may include a little seed of doubt. Doubt, because we don’t know each other. Doubt, because of the lack of time. Doubt, because we are not familiar with someone’s ways of working, even though the method was the most cost effective, transparent, and profitable. “The new” may sound and seem threatening and when we today discuss the same topics as IT for 15 years ago, it really requires courage to be able to trust. It requires a miracle to be able to trust and know, without assumption and doubt. 

So, when looking for a possibility to jump to the next level, there has to be a leader who shows trust for them - for those who pose the questions, challenge maybe outdated thoughts, and sometimes even crack the doors to clear the way. The true leader is committed to reaching the goal, the true leader shows the way, and is interested in the time after the target, of course - as a leader and as a changemaker. And when the idea of trust is adopted it’s time for a cascade of experiences, viewpoints, assumptions, hopes, and anxiety. This process is extremely interesting, and I have been very lucky to be able to challenge after challenge, to open tightly closed, even locked doors, and to mirror the details found to the experience gained over the years and finally to pass the gathered information back to the Leader. 

The most important thing is to identify the true leader. Does she/he/they even exist? It’s very possible that “no” is the most correct answer especially when it comes to new openings, new industries, or perspectives. And when we accept “no” as an answer, we should be proud of ourselves. We have found the most important, we have hit the core. And now we can open our minds to the next steps, maybe even rapid ones. We can figure out who “owns” what and why (ref. to agile team’s product owner, PO). It may be so that the strong trust and assumption let the strongest opinion and loudest voice rule. And the opinion affects the moment at hand. Ownership is long term and ambitious. And that’s why it may sound intimidating. That’s why we need courage.

Finally we find the solutions from flashes of new ideas. And the ideas are born from stories and surprises, from smiles and even sorrow. From cooperation and kindness. And suddenly we are following the same story that we started our journey with - the vision, the mission and the values, the ways of working, getting things done. That’s a good place to continue - regardless of the phase of the journey.

2022 - here we come! With the same drive but bigger thoughts! 

Changemakers of Operational TechnologyHanna Pikkusaari
Smart technology advisor, IT & OT expert and speaker