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Author's profile photo Gerd Ehrhardt

Commander Chakotay on the Role of Innovative Service Functions

Culture is the most endearing aspect of a company. And in face of digital transformation, it becomes the most problematic impediment to change management and, hence, to the smooth transformation of the company.

The impact of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the rules of the marketplace, and to meet this new reality, new business models are required. Effective change management demands that the company transitions through changes instead of turning the tables through one swift change initiative. This requires collaborating with service functions capable of remaining abreast of the transitions, and offering the services needed to keep the company afloat and profitable during those transitions.

This is the place where innovative service functions and Commander Chakotay step in, together.



Star Trek has always had a significant influence on our modern culture. Recently, I remembered the episode “Scorpion” from the Star Trek: Voyager series where Commander Chakotay advised Captain Janeway to enter a Borg alliance with caution.

The Borg, as we know, was a species that assimilated any life form they came in contact with, and so Chakotay reasoned it would likely take the Enterprise crew.

He told a story from his childhood about a fox and a scorpion.



The scorpion wanted to cross a river on the back of the fox. The fox only agreed if the scorpion promised not to sting him. In the middle of the journey, the scorpion stung the fox. When asked why, the scorpion said, “I can’t help it; it’s my nature.”

Many corporations would benefit from Commander Chakotay’s story.

Companies transitioning into a digital future, like the fox, expect their service functions to remain in line with them. This is not always possible, because while the company may realize and understand the need for the change, assuming that their service functions will follow suit, they often forget the scope and impact of their demands.

Service experts are part and parcel of the culture of the service functions, and by their own second nature they also are the protector of the existing culture and its values.

In business, Chakotay, as Janeway’s second-in-command and advisor, would know that traditional services stagnate in the current global economy.

He would realize, and would ask for an innovative service function with the flexibility to adapt to the company’s transitions and the scalability to meet its growing needs. He would understand that to adhere to their unchangeable nature would be detrimental to both the business and the service function.



There is a need for the service function to become more innovative. The innovative service function is one that would listen, understand, and review the company needs and requirements, and collaborate to create the atmosphere needed to bring change.

Chakotay would expect the innovative service function to be up-to-date with changes in technology and so would be offering cloud-based applications to create a foundation and develop their client’s business in the marketplace.

In the story, the scorpion couldn’t change his nature. It represents traditional service functions and would hold the company back. Innovative service functions would collaborate and change to meet the needs of the company.

Unless they want to sink like the scorpion, they must collaborate and change.

Looking forward to your thoughts and to sharing knowledge with you!


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