Craig Martin is the Founder & CEO of Gameplann andÂ Tribalmind as well as the chief architect of Enterprise Architects and FHO.Â With a career spanningÂ 20 yearsÂ in consulting, business innovation and development, ranging from large scale projects within Accenture to launching and designing new businesses that have grown and been acquired. As a business owner and architect he has a keen understanding of both the business challenges and the challenges of the architecture discipline in delivering against these.Â Â
It looks like you are a very busy man and you work for a multitude of organisations.Â How do you explain to a lay person what you do?
I like to see myself as a super mixer. IÂ believeÂ the future of business, and our discipline, is diversity, and the means to mix that diversity in different ways to solve challenges. I have 3 businesses of my own in both Africa and Australia and also wear theÂ hatÂ ofÂ chiefÂ architect for Enterprise Architects (Australia) and FHO (Global). ItÂ sounds a lot, but in reality the biggest challenge forÂ me is the cognitiveÂ switching that needs to occur multiple times during the day, other than that I enjoy the juggling of multiple things. IÂ believe this isÂ foundational for an architect, they need to be good jugglers and be able to operate across the chaos toÂ simple spectrum, finding betterÂ ways to drive out new outcomes.Â
TheÂ companies are quite diverse and vary from integration, to architecture andÂ gamification, as well asÂ digital economies. Its therefore quiteÂ difficult to wrap it all up in oneÂ description. I think thatÂ my standard answer when askedÂ is that I am anÂ entrepreneur.Â And I use the discipline of design and architecture to be a better entrepreneur.Â
What are your priorities for the year ahead?Â
Top of my priority list is investor and VC roundsÂ in the US. This means applying thinking from the top of the architecture mandate curve, andÂ usingÂ this to try and convinceÂ investorsÂ to focus on the vision not the MVP.
As far as architecture is concerned the priority for this year is toÂ extendÂ the discipline of enterprise design,Â mixing design thinking with architecture thinking.Â This means completing theÂ visualÂ book on the topic and developing a series of videos and courses on using some of the newer techniques to try and designÂ businesses forÂ disruption.Â
When you're consulting with a client, what problem are you trying to solve?
Its twofold, the problem theÂ clientÂ thinks he has, and the problem I think he has. This is always the challenge for me, and I daresay a number of other architects.Â LearningÂ to take theÂ clientÂ along for the ride is often one of the more bigger challenges. In mostÂ situationsÂ its trying to elevate the thinking of the client out of theÂ deliveryÂ and tactical space and more into strategic andÂ visionaryÂ layers. There is a culture ofÂ kneeÂ jerk reactions and delivery only, and IÂ findÂ we have to takeÂ clientsÂ on Â journeyÂ to try and help them take a little longer in understanding the problem space and then looking forÂ disruptiveÂ business models or hypotheses to address these.Â SomeÂ of the more recent ones here have related to developingÂ digitalÂ strategies forÂ financeÂ sector,Â industrialisingÂ legalÂ services at a global scale, smart cityÂ businessÂ models,Â identifyingÂ emerging technology trends and impacts onÂ future business models.
What are the current developments in enterprise architecture in technology-centric businesses?
TheyÂ are quite diverse, but IÂ think the one toÂ watch is the IBP trend we are trying to drive but are also witnessing. IBP (integrated business planning) is when you combine multipleÂ disciplines into a cohesive planning unit. Often methods like capability based planning are pretty oneÂ dimensional and focus on aÂ functional decomposition of the business with a technology view or a process view, or perhaps a people view. However, seldomly are these efforts combined into a single discipline. This is theÂ super mixing that I refer to, where, under the guidance of anÂ enterprise planner / EA (whatever you call it), we glue all the aspects of people, process, technology, information, projects, strategy, funding together into oneÂ approach.Â This is cohesion in the planning space, we do this right and we getÂ cohesion in the business space.
What's your advice to others who are interested in a career in EA?
Avoid architecture books and read books about economics, ecosystems, social systems and biological systems. These help shape your thinking for the chaos and complexity space. Then complement it with the more analytical thinking books and tools in the architecture space.Â
Never be satisfied with the status quo. Your job is to challenge and change. Sometimes this is painful, for you and your stakeholders.Â
If u can - start in the business not in IT. Then equip yourself with design and architecture skills to help you delivery consistency and reliability. Value engineering and management as well as business design and architecture would be a better place to start before you head into TOGAF type worlds.Â
What technological innovations have made the biggest impact to the business that you consult to over the last 10 years?
The compression of time and space with the advent of new digital technologies. This has allowed people and services to beÂ âcloser" to each other and allowed us to connect withÂ peopleÂ and services faster.Â ResultingÂ in new disintermediation businessÂ modelsÂ and economic forcesÂ similarÂ to how the railroads and general coal powered stream technology changed the world not too long ago. It also means that space and time are now too small and fast for any singleÂ personÂ to have control of, resulting on complexÂ ecosystems and connectedness. ThoseÂ organisations that are able to harness thisÂ interconnectedness are the ones thatÂ will prosper.
What do you see as the main challenges technology leaders currently face? Is it the technology or the people?
Its both.Â I think its the ability for people to adapt toÂ technology. Its the partnerships of tech andÂ people that is in fact the challenge, resulting in a greater focus on the disciplines of userÂ experience and customer experience.Â
Which country is leading the way with Architecture innovations and how does Australia measure up?
I like theÂ thinkingÂ that comes out of Holland. Its fresh andÂ challengingÂ and I find them a little ahead of the pack on this front. IÂ thinkÂ Australia is a bit behindÂ becauseÂ they have not had the type of adversity required to both innovate, and realise the value of the architecture discipline and what it can bring to the table. As an example I get this type ofÂ statementÂ from tier 1 typeÂ businesses.Â âLast year we made more moneyÂ than in the entire history of this companyâ¦.why do we need architectureâ. This type ofÂ thinking is quite apparent in the Australian market. My response to the above question BTW wasÂ âwhy did it take you so long?â. Michael Dell said it quite wellÂ âYou must innovate when the times are goodâ, you mustÂ drive to be relevant every day.Â
Whatâs the best piece of innovation you have seen in recent times and why?
Innovative business models areÂ normally the ones that excite me -Â Cirque du Soleil for example is a cultural phenomenon that changed how the world saw aÂ circus. You can see value systemÂ engineering in this model, where they looked broader into the value system ofÂ entertainment andÂ combined aspects of the traditional circus with opera, ballet, theatre,Â streetÂ performance to create an entirely newÂ experience.Â
When it comes toÂ technology Iâm a big fan of AI and I have seen some fantastic advancements in the AI algorithms around swarm andÂ genetic engineering. IÂ believe this is the future of business and the future ofÂ software development. IT will touch most of us predominantley in the area ofÂ software development, you are beginning to see smallÂ pieces of this emerge in the publicÂ domain through companies such as grid.io but expect to see a whole lot more.Â
What are your strategies to stay ahead of the competition?
Avoid complacency. ApplyÂ joys law and tapÂ into the external market for ideas that can complementÂ your business. Create a way to co-design across yourÂ organisationÂ and external to your organisation.
You are well travelled. During your travels what was your favourite place to travel to and your favourite local food?
Believe it or notÂ thisÂ was the more difficult question to answer. Iâm one ofÂ thoseÂ that sees food as aÂ utilityÂ to stop me from feeling hungry. ItÂ doesÂ not interest me and I seldom focus my attention on where and what I am going to eat. If I have to pick I would say the bestÂ mealÂ I have had with the greatest memories was a oyster pot in the small town of Brugge in Belgium.Â
I know you read a lot, what is the best business book you have read of late and why?
I am a huge fan of Roger Martin and Daniel Pink. Roger MartinsÂ âThe Design of BusinessâÂ has shaped a lot of myÂ thinkingÂ as well as PinksÂ ââA Whole new MindâÂ andÂ âDrive".Â Â
The Essential Advantage was alsoÂ greatÂ read from the Booz and HBR crowd.Â
Iâm currently readingÂ âTheÂ GreatestÂ Business Decisions of all TimeâÂ andÂ âThe ConnectionÂ Algorithmâ.
You are one of the Key Notes at next months Australasian Enterprise IT ConferenceÂ here in Sydney. Could you give me a quick synopsis of what we can expect from the conference this year?
I am going to discuss theÂ conceptÂ ofÂ enterprise design, what it is, how it works, why it is needed.Â This will look at theÂ accelerated pace of change and how we need to adapt to stay relevant.Â
What is that burning question within Strategy and Architecture youâve always wanted to ask your peers?
WhyÂ has an enterprise architect never made it to a CEO positionâ¦or have they?