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Blockchain and Driving the Culture of Adoption

Blockchain and Driving the Culture of Adoption

Terry Rice

Implementing blockchain technology does not make the blockchain application magically appear. In my experience the implementation of any emerging technology must start with the people who will use it every day. Developing a culture of adoption is key to the implementation and use of technology.

In a recent excursion into the world of blockchain implementation, I was posed with two problems:

  1. We are having performance issues. How can I determine what information goes into a block so that it’s not too big to process? This question was from the executives who are implementing blockchain technology for the enterprise.
  2. What is blockchain? This from the departments within the enterprise who have been tasked with writing applications for the chain.

My question back to the group was – How did you get to this point? I’ve always heard (and often enough used) the phrase, “Don’t let technology drive the business”. I don’t remember the last time I had seen this occur. A directive to use a technology to drive business processes was handed down to a group of line-of-business owners, where they had no idea what the technology was or how to use it. Again, how did you get to this point?

Blockchain technology can be intimidating. Afterall, it is meant to change the world – our view of technology, the economy, and society – as a whole. Wow! That is big stuff! Scary stuff! Let me tell you this – blockchain is meant to simplify. It is a capability to reduce (even remove) the reliance on third party arbiters, the ability to provide un-censorable information in a transparent manner, the tool to provide secure identity. It is complex, but not complicated. Afterall, the technology is not new. We have been using it for decades. The way in which we orchestrate the technology differs – that is all. However, because of this difference in orchestration, we must absolutely change they way in which we envision solutions to our business problems.

Technology aside, the problem I face most in the blockchain world (ok, not just blockchain – wait until I talk about AI and RPA) is a people problem. The lack of understanding the fundamental uses and benefits of blockchain concepts, the areas in which blockchain technology can/cannot or should/should not be applied, and definitive use cases for applications to apply to a blockchain are core to the misconception of blockchain today. To help in the overall adoption of blockchain technology within an organization there must be a concerted effort to first educate, then organize, then demonstrate.

A few rules I like to share with people in their pursuit of blockchain are: 

  • Educate
    • Blockchain is complex, not complicated – don’t let it overwhelm you!
    • Learn a few concepts in computer science. Learn a few basic economic principles, Read the articles, read the papers, read the books
    • Learn the fundamental benefits of blockchain – enhanced security, immutable and transparent data, etc.
  • Organize
    • Blockchain cannot be a top-down directive within an organization – it must be a collaborative effort between all parties involved!
    • Provide an arena in which all domain experts feel safe in sharing their knowledge of the business problem
    • Be able to clearly articulate the business problem you are trying to solve – do not be afraid to go big here
  • Demonstrate
    • Implement the technology to support blockchain – you will find the installation of the tech is simple, it was meant to be!
    • From the business problem, define a use case that could benefit from the use of blockchain technology then build it
    • Integration of existing Apps by extending web services to the blockchain smart contract is not as hard as you think

If the basis to drive a culture of adoption starts with the simple framework of education, organization, and demonstration, we can set the groundwork needed to implement this emerging technology of blockchain in a sustainable and long-lived fashion. Otherwise, we are on a buzzword bandwagon that allows a technology that is easily misunderstood to drive our business.