In this podcast, we consider Conan Doyle’s second Sherlock Homes novel, The Sign of Four. The novel was published in 1890 but the story is set in 1888. The story entails a complex plot involving service in East India Company, India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts and two corrupt prison guards. It presents the detective's drug habit and humanizes him in a way that had not been done by Doyle to-date. It also has a rather happy ending as it introduces us to Dr. Watson's future wife, Mary Morstan to whom he proposes at the end of the novel. It also introduces today's topic of the innovation process.
The Sign of Fourwas an intricate tale with many strands woven throughout. I thought of this novel when reading the article entitled “Leading Your Team into the Unknown” by Nathan Furr and Jeffrey H. Dyer in the Harvard Business Review. The article is a good starting point to help a CCO or compliance practitioner help move a compliance function down into the DNA of an organization to make compliance a more standard process for operationalizing compliance through “A Comprehensive Approach to Innovation” which I have adapted for the CCO or compliance practitioner to facilitate innovation in the compliance function.
Concluding, there are multiple values to such an approach. First, you will have generated “insight value-that is, the insight into the unknown that comes from reducing uncertainty.” Second is the “option value-the option upon resolving an unknown, to pursue, alter, or abandon a course of action.” Third is the “strategic value” which is both the value derived by your internal compliance consumers but also that of all the knowledge you will have gained throughout the course of the project; what worked and what did not work and, more importantly, why.
If there is one over-riding theme that the Department of Justice has communicated over the years it is that your compliance function needs to constantly evolve. It certainly must evolve as the corruption risks your company encounters develop but also it should also mature as your compliance program grows and becomes more ingrained in your organization. Moreover, as compliance moves into its next phase and becomes the best practiceof a well-run business, innovation will become more of a focus.
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