Tag Archives: digital

Is Digital Different?

Is Digital Different?

GUEST POST from John Bessant

‘Now the chips are down…’

‘The robots are coming…’

‘Digitalize or die!’

There’s no shortage of scary headlines reminding us of the looming challenge of digital transformation. The message is clear. On the one hand if we don’t climb aboard the digital bandwagon we’ll be left behind in a kind of late Stone Age, slowly crumbling to dust while the winds of change blow all around us. On the other we’re facing some really big questions — about employment, skills, structures, the whole business model with which we compete. If we don’t have a clear digital strategy to deal with these we’re going to be in trouble.

And it’s not just the commercial world which is having to face up to these questions; the same is true in the public sector and in the not-for-profit world. The digital storm has arrived.

There aren’t any easy solutions to this which explains why so many conferences now have the digital word scrawled across their strap-lines. They provide focal points, create tents within which people can huddle and talk together, trying to work out exactly how they are going to manage this challenge. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks attending a couple — ‘Innovating in the digital world’ was the banner under which the ISPIM (the International Society for Professional Innovation Management) community gathered while ‘Leading digital transformation’ brought EURAM (the European Academy of Management) together. Close to a thousand people gathering for more than just a welcome post-Covid reunion; conferences like these are a good indication of the scale of the questions which digital transformation raises.

A Pause for Thought

But look again at those headlines at the start of this piece. They were actually newspaper cuttings from the 1980s, close on fifty years ago. Anxiety about the transformative potential of digital technology was running pretty high back then and for similar reasons. And yet their dire predictions of disaster and massive structural upheaval haven’t quite emerged. Somehow, we’ve made it through, we haven’t had mass unemployment, we haven’t been replaced by intelligent machines, and while income distribution remains very unequal the causes of that are not down to technological change.

Which is not to say that nothing has changed. Today’s world is radically different along so many dimensions, and not everyone has made it through the digital crisis. Plenty of organizations have failed, unable to come to terms with the new technology whilst others have emerged from nowhere to dominate the global landscape. (It’s worth reflecting that none of the FAANGS corporations (Facebook/Meta, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google were even born when those headlines were written). So, we’ve had change, yes, but it’s not necessarily been destructive or competence-destroying change.

If we’re serious about managing the continuing challenge then it’s worth taking a closer look at just what digital innovation involves. Is it really so revolutionary and transformative? The answer is a mixture. In terms of speed of arrival it’s been a very-slow paced change. Digital innovation isn’t new. Despite the hype around the disruptive potential of this technological wave the reality is that it’s been building for at least 70 years, ever since the invention of the transistor back in Bell Labs in 1947. And there’s a good argument for seeing it date back fifty years before that to when John Fleming and Lee DeForest began playing around with valves and enabling simple electronic circuits.

The idea of programmable control was around another hundred years before that; early on in the Industrial Revolution we saw mechanical devices increasingly substituting for human skill and intervention. Textile manufacturers were able to translate complex designs into weaving instructions for their looms through the use of punched card systems, an innovation pioneered by Joseph Marie Jaquard. Not for nothing did the Luddites worry about the impact technology might have on their livelihoods. And we should remember that it was in the nineteenth, not the twentieth century that the computer first saw the light of day in the form of the difference and analytical engines developed by Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace.

In fact although there has been rapid acceleration in the application of digital technology over the past thirty years in many ways it has more in common with a number of other ‘revolutions’ like steam power or electricity where the pattern is what Andrew Hargadon calls ‘long fuse, big bang’. That is to say the process towards radical impact is slow but when it converges there can be significant waves of change flowing from it.

Riding the Long Waves of Change

Considerable interest was shown back in the 1980s (when the pace of the ‘IT revolution’ appeared to be accelerating) in the ideas of a Russian economist, Nikolai Kondratiev. He had observed patterns in economic activity cycles which seemed to have a long period (long waves) and which were linked to major technological shifts. The pattern suggested that major enabling technologies like steam power or electricity which had widespread application potential could trigger significant movements in economic growth. The model was applied to the idea of information technology and in particular Chris Freeman and Carlota Perez began developing the approach as a lens through which to explore major innovation-led changes. They argued that the role of technology as a driver had to be matched by a complementary change in social structures and expectations, a configuration which they called the ‘techno-economic paradigm’ .

Importantly the upswing of such a change would be characterised by attempts to use the new technologies in ways which mainly substituted for things which already happened, improving them and enhancing productivity. But at a key point the wave would break and completely new ways of thinking about and using the technologies would emerge, accelerating growth.

A parallel can be drawn to research on the emergence of electricity as a power source; for a sustained period it was deployed as a replacement for the large central steam engines in factories. Only when smaller electric motors were distributed around the factory did productivity growth rise dramatically. Essentially the move involved a change in perspective, a shift in paradigm.

Whilst the long wave model has its critics it offers a helpful lens through which to see the rise of digital innovation. In particular the earlier claims for revolutionary status seemed unfounded, reflecting the ‘substitution’ mode of an early TEP. Disappointment with the less than dramatic results of investing in the new wave would slow its progress — something which could be well-observed in the collapse of the Internet ‘bubble’ around 2000. The revolutionary potential of the underlying technologies was still there but it took a while to kick the engine back into life; this time the system level effects are beginning to emerge and there is a clearer argument for seeing digital innovation as transformative across all sectors of the economy.

This idea of learning to use the new technology in new ways underpins much of the discussion of what is sometimes called the ‘productivity paradox’ — the fact that extensive investment in new technologies does not always seem to contribute to expected rises in productivity. Over time the pattern shifts but — as was the case with electric power — the gap between introduction and understanding how to get the best out of new technology can be long, in that case over fifty years.

Surfer

Strategy Matters

This model underlines the need for strategy — the ability to ride out the waves of technological change, using them to advantage rather than being tossed and thrown by them, finally ending up in pieces on a beach somewhere. Digital technology is like any other set of innovations; it offers enormous opportunities but we need to think hard about how we are going to manage them. Riding this particular wave is going to stretch our capabilities as innovation managers, staying on the board will take a lot of skill and not a little improvisation in our technique.

It’s easy to get caught up in the flurry of dramatic words used to describe digital possibilities but we shouldn’t forget that underneath them the core innovation process hasn’t changed. It’s still a matter of searching for opportunities, selecting the most promising, implementing and capturing value from digital change projects. What we have to manage doesn’t change even though the projects may themselves be significant in their impact and scalable across large domains. There’s plenty of evidence for that; whilst there have been notable examples of old guard players who have had to retire into bankruptcy or disappearance (think Kodak, Polaroid, Blockbuster) many others continue to flourish in their new digital clothes. Their products and services enhanced, their processes revived and revitalised through strategic use of digital technologies.

If the conferences I’ve been attending are a good barometer of what’s happening then there’s a lot behind this. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are now deploying new digitally driven product and service models and streamlining their internal operations to enable efficient and effective global reach. If anything the Covid-19 pandemic has forced an acceleration in these trends, pushing us further and faster into a digital world. And it’s working in the public and third sector too; for example the field of humanitarian innovation has been transformed by the use of mobile apps, Big Data and maker technologies like 3D printing. Denmark even has a special ministry within government tasked with delivering digitally-based citizen innovation.

Digital Innovation Management

Perhaps what’s really changing — and challenging — is not the emerging set of innovations but rather the way we need to approach creating and delivering them — the way we manage innovation. And here the case for rethinking is strong; continuing with the old tried and tested routines may not get us too far. Instead we need innovation model innovation.

Take the challenge of search — how do we find opportunities for innovation in a vast sea of knowledge? Learning the new skills of ‘open innovation’ has been high on the innovation management agenda for organizations since Henry Chesbrough first coined the term nearly twenty years ago. We know that in a knowledge-rich world that ‘not all the smart people work for us’ and we’ve developed increasingly sophisticated and effective tools for helping us operate in this space.

Digital technologies make this much faster and easy to do. Internet searches allow us to access rich libraries of knowledge at the click of a mouse, social media and networks enable us to tap into rich and varied experience and to interact with it, co-creating solutions. ‘Recombinant’ innovation tools fuelled by machine learning algorithms scour the vast mines of knowledge which the patent system represents and dig out unlikely and fruitful new combinations, bridging different application worlds.

Broadcast search allows us to crowdsource the tricky business of sourcing diverse ideas from multiple different perspectives.  And collaboration platforms allow us to work with that crowd, harnessing collective intelligence and draw in knowledge, ideas, insights from employees, customers, suppliers and even competitors.

Digital innovation management doesn’t stop there; it can also help with the challenge of selection as well. We can use that same crowd to help focus on interesting and promising ideas, using idea markets. Think Kickstarter and a thousand other crowdfunding platforms and look at the increasing use of such approaches within organizations trying to sharpen up their portfolio management. Simulation and exploration technologies enable us to delay the freeze — to continue exploring and evaluating options for longer, assembling useful information on which to base our final decision about whether or not to invest.

And digital techniques blur the lines around implementation, bringing ideas to life. Instead of having to make a once for all commitment and then standing back and hoping we open up a range of choice. We can still kill off the project which isn’t working and has no chance — but we can also adapt in real time, pivoting around an emerging solution to sharpen it, refine it, help it evolve. Digital twins enable us to probe and learn, stress testing ideas to make sure they will work. And the whole ‘agile innovation’ philosophy stresses early testing of simple prototypes — ‘minimum viable products’ — followed by pivoting. Innovation becomes less dependent on a throw of the dice and a lot of hope; instead it is a guided series of experiments hunting for optimum solutions.

Capturing value is all about scale and the power of digital technologies is that they enable us to ‘turbocharge’ this phase. The physical limits on expansion and access are removed for many digital products and services and even physical supply chains and logistics networks can be enhanced with these approaches. Networks allow us not only to spread the word via multiple channels but also enable us to tap into the social processes of influence which shape diffusion. Innovation adoption is still heavily influenced by key opinion leaders but now those influencers can be mobilised much more rapidly and extensively.

The story of Tupperware is a reminder of this effect; it took a passionate woman (Brownie Wise) building a social system by herself in the 1950s to turn a great product into one of the most recognised in the world. Today’s social marketing technologies can draw on powerful tools and infrastructures from the start.

In the same way assembling complementary assets is essential — the big question is one of ‘who else/what else do we need to move to scale? In the past this was a process of finding and forming a series of relationships and carefully nurturing them to create an ecosystem. Today’s platform architectures and business models enable such networks to be quickly assembled and operated in digital space. Amazon didn’t invent remote retailing; that model emerged a century ago with the likes of Sears and Roebuck painstakingly building their system. But Amazon’s ability to quickly build and scale and then to diversify across to new areas deploying the same core elements depends on a carefully thought-out digital architecture.

Digital is Different?

So yes, digital is different in terms of the radically improved toolkit with which we can work in managing innovation. Central to this is a strategy — being clear where and why we might use these tools and what kind of organization we want to create. And being prepared to let go of our old models; even though they are tried and tested and have brought us a long way the reality is that we need innovation model innovation. That’s at the heart of the concept of ‘dynamic capability’ — the ability to configure and reconfigure our processes to create value from ideas.

The idea of innovation management routines is a double-edged sword. On the one hand routines enable us to systematise and codify the patterns of behaviour which help us innovate — how we search, select , implement and so on. That helps us repeat the innovation trick and means that we can build structures and processes and policies to strengthen our innovation capability. But we not only need to review and hone these routines, we also need the capacity to step back and challenge them and the courage to change or even abandon them if they are no longer appropriate. That’s the real key to successful digital transformation.


If you’re interested in more innovation stories please check out my website here
And if you’d like to listen to a podcast version you can find it here
Or follow my online course here

Image credits: FreePik

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Sickcare Digital Transformation Playbook

Sickcare Digital Transformation Playbook

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers

First there was the Great Recession. Then came the Great Resignation. Now we are facing the Great Digital Transformation, i.e. how do businesses win the 4th industrial revolution?

When cloud computing collides with 5G, the internet of medical things, quantum computing, virtual reality and virtual medicine, all occuring in an environment of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, things get wicked.

So what should be your next steps if you want to be standing on the middle podium of sickcare digital transformation?

  1. Create value by constantly changing and testing your business models
  2. Scale your culture
  3. Lead innovators, don’t manage innovation systems
  4. Focus on the people part
  5. Transform sick care to healthcare
  6. Fix your dysfunctional processes and eliminate waste
  7. Steal ideas from other industries
  8. Be sure you get the right information and communication tools to the job site
  9. Change your mindset1
  10. Commit to adoption of digital solutions with the same passion that you commit to strategy.
  11. Become an ambidextrous organization
  12. Think big, start small, stay small on projects that matter to end users and patients.

The digital transformation of medicine has become a land grab for investor’s money and end user shelf space. Some think it is a bubble and it remains to be seen how much will be left after the pandemic. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that the solutions will mutate faster than the corona virus and we will need constant innovation to immunize ourselves against obsolescence and the corporate immune system.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Are You Prepared to Run a Digital Business for the Digital Age?

Are You Prepared to Run a Digital Business for the Digital Age?

In our digital age, all companies must change how they think, how they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers, and how their business works on the inside. Customer, partner, and supplier expectations have changed, and a gap is opening between what they expect from their interaction with companies and what those companies are currently able to deliver. Companies must immediately work to close this expectation gap, or their entire business is at risk.

If digital natives attack, they will do it with a collection of digital strategies that utilize the power of the digital mindset to more efficiently and effectively utilize the available people, tools, and technology, and to design better, more seamlessly interconnected, and automated processes that can operate with only occasional human intervention.

To defend your company’s very existence, you must start thinking like a technology company or go out of business. Part of that thinking is to fundamentally re-imagine how you structure and operate your business. You must look at your business and your industry in the same way that a digital native startup will if they seek to attack you and steal your market. To make this easier, ask yourself these five foundational questions:

  1. If I were to build this business today, given everything that I know about the industry and its customers and the advances in people, process, technology and tools, how would I design it?
  2. From the customers’ perspective, where does the value come from?
  3. What structure and systems would deliver the maximum value with the minimum waste?
  4. What are the barriers to adoption and the obstacles to delight for my product(s) and/or service(s) and how will my design help potential customers overcome them?
  5. Where is the friction in my business that the latest usage methods of people, process, technology, and tools can help eliminate?

There are, of course, other questions you may want to ask, but these five should get you most of the way to where you need to go in your initial strategic planning sessions. What questions do you think are key for enterprises to ask themselves if they are to survive and thrive in the digital age?

Digital Strategy vs. Digital Transformation

How much appetite for digital change do you have?

Understanding how your management and your enterprise is likely to answer this question will help you identify whether your business should pursue a digital strategy or a digital transformation. The two terms are often misused, in part by being used interchangeably when they are in fact two very different things.

A digital strategy is a strategy focused on utilizing digital technologies to better serve one group of people (customers, employees, partners, suppliers, etc.) or to serve the needs of one business group (HR, finance, marketing, operations, etc.). The scope of a digital strategy can be quite narrow, such as using digital channels to market to consumers in a B2C company; or broader, such as re-imagining how marketing could be made more efficient using digital tools like CRM, marketing automation, social media monitoring, etc. and hopefully become more effective at the same time.

Meanwhile, digital transformation is an intensive process that begins by effectively building an entirely new organization from scratch, utilizing:

  • The latest best practices and emerging next practices in process (continuous improvement, business architecture, lean startup, business process management, or BPM, crowd computing, and continuous innovation using a tool like The Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation™)
  • The latest tools (robotics, sensors, etc.)
  • All the latest digital technologies (artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, BPM, etc.)
  • The optimal use of the other three to liberate the people who work for you to spend less time on bureaucratic work and more time creating the changes necessary to overcome barriers to adoption and obstacles to delight through better leadership methods, reward/recognition systems, physical spaces, collaboration, and knowledge management systems, etc.

It ends with a plan of how to transform from the old way of running the business to the new way.

The planning of the digital transformation is all done collaboratively on paper, whiteboards, and asynchronous electronic communication (definitely not email) powered by a collection of tools like the Change Planning Toolkit™.

The goal is to think like a digital native, to think like a startup, to approach the idea of designing a company by utilizing all the advances in people, process, technology, and tools to kill off the existing incarnation of your company. Because if you don’t re-invent your company now and set yourself up with a new set of capabilities that enable you to continuously reinvent yourself as a company, then a venture capitalist is going to see an opportunity, find the right team of digital natives, and give them the funding necessary to enter your market and reinvent your entire industry for you.

What do you want to re-invent?

Our team at Oracle was created to use design thinking, innovation and transformation tools and methods to help Oracle customers tackle their greatest business challenges, to re-imagine themselves for the digital age, and to discover and pursue their greatest innovation, transformation and growth opportunities.

We call this human-centric problem-solving and together we create plans to make our customers’ solution vision real in just weeks. And along the way, this new Oracle approach helps increase collaboration across business functions and accelerate future decision-making.

Find out more about how to protect your business from digital disruption, building upon these five foundational questions with additional questions and frameworks contained in my latest success guide Riding the Data Wave to Digital Disruption.


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Charting Change – Kindle Price Reduction

Charting Change is Number OneI’m super excited how well my new book Charting Change is doing on various Amazon sites around the world (USA, UK, CA, AU, DE, FR, JP)!

Charting Change has been the number one new release on Amazon for at least “Business Management” and “Production & Operations” so far. It also was the #2 new release for “Organizational Change” and probably #1 too (but I think I missed getting a screenshot).

The book is currently available on Kindle and as a hardcover, and I’m excited to announce that the publisher has reduced the price on the Kindle version to make it more accessible to people worldwide. More news on other ebook versions coming soon!

For those of you who already have the book, I hope you are enjoying it and leave an Amazon review when you finish! 🙂

Please feel free to ask questions about the book below.

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Charting Change – Now Available on Kindle

Charting Change is Number OneI’m super excited to announce that my new book Charting Change is now available in English at various Amazon sites around the world (USA, UK, CA, AU, DE, FR, JP) with a traditional eBook coming soon!

Charting Change has been the number one new release on Amazon for at least “Business Management” and “Production & Operations” so far. It also was the #2 new release for “Organizational Change” and probably #1 too (but I think I missed getting a screenshot).

The book is currently available on Kindle and as a hardcover. Unfortunately the eBook is still delayed. I’m trying to stay on top of the publisher to get it out as quickly as possible, so stay tuned!

I will announce on my blog here when the eBook and Nook versions are available for those who don’t have a Kindle.

For those of you who already have the book, I hope you are enjoying it and leave an Amazon review when you finish! 🙂

Please feel free to ask questions about the book below.

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Digital Transformation versus Digital Strategy

In my last article, Digital Transformation Matters, we looked at the accelerating pace of change, the case for digital transformation, and our evolving interactions with technology. We also asked a simple question:

Are you ready to do business in a digital way for the digital age?

In our digital age all companies must change how they think, change how they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers, and change how the business works inside. Customer, partner, and supplier expectations have changed and a gap is opening between what they expect from their interaction with companies, and what those companies are currently able to deliver. Companies must immediately work to close this expectation gap or the entire business is at risk.

There are groups of digital natives out there that are extremely capable, have greater access to capital than ever before, and are very likely to re-imagine your business and your entire industry from the ground up if you don’t start making the necessary changes in your business to eliminate the opportunity.

If they attack, they will do it with a collection of digital strategies that utilize the power of the digital mindset to more efficiently and effectively utilize the available people, tools and technology, and to design better, more seamlessly interconnected and automated processes that can operate with only the occasional human intervention.

To defend your company’s very existence, you must start thinking like a technology company or go out of business. Part of that thinking is to fundamentally re-imagine how you structure and operate your business. You must look at your business and your industry in the same way that a digital native startup will if they seek to attack you and steal your market. To make this easier you can ask yourself five questions:

  1. If I were to build this business today, given everything that I know about the industry and its customers, and given all of the advances in people, process, technology and tools, how would I design it?
  2. From the customers’ perspective, where does the value come from?
  3. What structure and systems would deliver the maximum value with the minimum waste?
  4. What are the barriers to adoption and the obstacles to delight for my product(s) and/or service(s) and how will my design help potential customers overcome them?
  5. Where is the friction in my business that the latest usage methods of people, process, technology, and tools can help eliminate?

There are of course potentially other questions you may want to ask, but these five should get you most of the way to where you need to go in your initial strategic planning sessions. If you have other key questions that you think I’ve missed, please add them in the comments.

Digital Strategy vs. Digital Transformation

But how much appetite for going digital do you have?

This is where the question of digital strategy versus digital transformation comes in.

The two terms are often misused, in part by being used interchangeably when they are in fact two very different things.

A digital strategy is a strategy focused on utilizing digital technologies to better serve one particular group of people (customers, employees, partners, suppliers, etc.) or to serve the needs of one particular business group (HR, Finance, Marketing, Operations, etc.). The scope of a digital strategy can be quite narrow, such as using digital channels to market to consumers in a B2C company, or broader, such as re-imagining how marketing could be made more efficient through the use of digital tools like CRM, marketing automation, social media monitoring, etc. and hopefully become more effective at the same time.

Meanwhile, a digital transformation is an intensive process that begins by effectively building an entirely new organization from scratch utilizing:

  • All of the latest DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES (artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, BPM, crowd computing, etc.)
  • The latest TOOLS (robotics, sensors, etc.)
  • The latest best practices and emerging next practices in PROCESS (continuous improvement, business architecture, lean startup, Business Process Management (BPM), crowd computing, and continuous innovation using a tool like The Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation™)
  • The optimal use of the other three to liberate the PEOPLE that work for you to spend less time on bureaucratic work and more time imagining the changes necessary to overcome barriers to adoption and obstacles to delight through better leadership methods, reward/recognition systems, physical spaces, collaboration and knowledge management systems, etc.

And ends with a plan for making the transformation from the old way of running the business to the new way.

The planning of the digital transformation is of course all done collaboratively on paper, whiteboards, and asynchronous electronic communication (hopefully not email, but more on that later). The goal is to think like a digital native, to think like a startup, to approach the idea of designing a company to utilize all of the advances in people, process, technology and tools to kill off your own company (at least as you know it). Because, if you don’t re-invent your company now and set yourself up with a new set of capabilities that enable you to continuously re-invent yourself as a company, then some venture capitalist is going to see an opportunity, find the right team of digital natives, and give them the necessary funding to enter your market and re-invent your entire industry for you.

It’s All About the Interfaces

People are fascinated with startups like Uber and with good reason because they have changed the lexicon and the way that we think about entire categories of products and services. Whether or not you believe there is causation, the fact remains that Yellow Cab in San Francisco filed for bankruptcy, and that Uber has placed an immense amount of pressure on taxi and airport limousine companies. But you should also be looking at what established technology companies like Amazon are doing because established technology companies are looking for growth and new markets too, and they might decide yours looks attractive, so you have to think like a technology company or go out of business.

One way that technology companies differ from non-technology companies is that they naturally focus on the interfaces, because that is where complex systems often fail. And so, if you are pursuing a digital strategy on your way to a digital transformation, you must first pick an interface, and then optimize the experience at that interface. It could be the interface between the company and customers, it could be the company to employee or employee to employee interface, or even the company to partner or company to supplier interface. Whatever interface you choose, your goal is to ultimately look at that interface with a fresh modern lens, and then utilize all of the latest (and emerging) approaches from a people, process, and technology perspective, to create a more efficient and more effective (aka better) experience.

The better job you do as an organization at removing friction at the interfaces, the more likely you are to become a partner of choice, supplier of choice, employer of choice, and/or a brand of choice. The value of becoming any or all of these could be the difference between the survival and growth of the organization, and a slow, agonizing death at the hands of a new, digital entrant or a digitizing incumbent that completes a digital transformation before your leadership team can agree it’s even necessary.

Architecting Your Organization for Change

One thing that both a digital strategy and a digital transformation have in common is that they will inflict change (in varying amounts) upon the organization, and with a more visual, collaborative approach to planning that change – like that enabled by the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I introduce in my new book Charting Change (available February 24, 2016) – you will increase your odds of beating the 70% change failure rate and of successfully achieving your digital change goals.

As you plan your change efforts it helps if you keep in mind the Five Keys to Successful Change™ and that you consider Architecting Your Organization for Change. Below you will see visualizations of both concepts and both are available as free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™, which is a collection of frameworks, worksheets, and other tools (including the Change Planning Canvas™).

Five Keys to Successful Change 550

Architecting the Organization for Change

Click to access these frameworks as scalable 11″x17″ PDF downloads

These two frameworks will help you take a more holistic view of organizational change wider than just change management or change leadership, and helps organizations:

  1. Visualize a new way to increase organizational agility
  2. Integrate changes in the marketplace and customer behavior into the strategy
  3. Create a new organizational architecture that integrates all five elements of organizational change
  4. Make project, behavior and communications planning and management a central component of your change efforts
  5. One thing that should immediately jump out as you look at the Architecting the Organization for Change framework is that The Five Keys to Successful Change™ are embedded it.

Change Maintenance forms the foundation of a change-centric organization, ensuring that the changes necessary to ensure a healthy firm continue to persist (or are “maintained”), while the top of the organizational pyramid is driven by a conscious strategy that evolves over time, informed by changes in customer behavior and changes in the marketplace.

The strategy of the firm then determines the appropriate business architecture, and as the organization’s strategy changes, the business architecture may also need to change. Any necessary changes in the architecture of the business (new or updated capabilities or competencies) then will lead to modifications to the portfolio of change initiatives and projects (and remember every project is a change effort). These projects and initiatives will consist of innovation initiatives and efforts to create positive changes in the operations of the business.

The change efforts and projects identified as necessary and invested in as part of the change portfolio then represent projects that impact the innovation and operations for the firm, and in order to successfully execute them in the short term includes change planning, management, and leadership, and in the longer term the maintenance of the required changes.

And for the change efforts and projects to be successful the organization must also focus on project planning and management, behavior planning and management, and communications planning and management. The related projects, behaviors, and communications must all be effectively planned and managed in a way that keeps all three in sync.

I hope you see that by increasing your focus on the Change Planning discipline and through increased use of tools like the Architecting the Organization for Change framework from the Change Planning Toolkit™, your business will be able to more collaboratively and visually plan change efforts as large as a digital transformation or as small as a digital strategy and to increase your organizational agility.

More on organizational agility soon, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please get yourself a copy of Charting Change as a hardcover (ebook coming soon) and get your free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™ (or go ahead and purchase a license now).

Buy the Change Planning Toolkit™ NowNow you can buy the Change Planning Toolkit™ – Individual Bronze License – Advance Purchase Edition here on this web site before the book launches.

This article originally appeared on Linkedin

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Digital Transformation Matters

Digital Transformation Matters

The pace of change is accelerating.

Much has changed since we all started to dial in with our modems and connect to online services like America Online or Compuserve and eventually directly onto the Internet and the World Wide Web. Elements of our digital world continue to invade our language and our consciousness.

  • “Text me later.”
  • “Skype me tomorrow.”
  • “Google it.”
  • “#hashtag”
  • “rtofl”

Whether we like it or not the physical world and the digital world, and people are more likely to freak out about leaving their mobile phone at home than their wallet. Soon you won’t even need to carry a wallet (unless you want to). Canada stopped making pennies. In Sweden many businesses no longer take cash. Have you tried buying a drink on an airplane lately? (no cash accepted there either)

We now live in a digital age.

Not because technology is new, but because the way we react to technology and interact with it is different.

We’ve had technology for a while, but we used it primarily for performing calculations, and then for information storage and retrieval. But now, because the computer has moved from being a machine in a lab programmed with punch cards, to something nearly every one of us carries in our pocket or wears on our wrist, we’re beginning to form relationships with machines and more importantly, to use our machines to form, maintain, and even deepen, our human relationships.

So what does this mean for you as a business person?

It means that people like me have to drag you kicking and screaming away from the way you’ve always done business, away from the way you’ve always structured your enterprise, away from the ways you’ve facilitated communication among employees and between you and your customers, partners, and suppliers and towards a fundamentally different way of organizing and operating your business.

Are you ready to do business in a digital way for the digital age?

No?

Well, your market is large and attractive to me and my digital native friends. While you struggle under the weight of your legacy systems and the denial that you must change how you think, change how you interact with customers, change how your business works inside, maybe we will re-imagine your business and your entire industry from the ground up with a collection of digital strategies that utilize the power of the digital mindset to more efficiently and effectively utilize people, process and technology with some venture capital backing to challenge the incumbents and put them out of business. People are fascinated with startups like Uber and with good reason, but they should also be looking at what established technology companies like Amazon are doing because you’re either have to think like a technology company or go out of business.

In my next article on digital transformation we will circle back to discuss Uber in a bit more detail as we explore the difference between a digital strategy and a digital transformation. Because they are not the same and are vastly different in what they require to be successful. The one thing they both have in common is that they will inflict change (in varying amounts) upon the organization, and with a more visual, collaborative approach to planning that change – like that enabled by the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I introduce in my new book Charting Change – you will increase your odds of beating the 70% change failure rate and successfully achieving your digital change goals.

Stay tuned!

This article originally appeared on Linkedin

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The Digital Innovation Talent Shortage

The Digital Innovation Talent ShortageI was watching our Seattle Seahawks lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and was surprised to see a series of television ads air during the game from GE, not touting how great their products are, but why GE is a great place for software developers to come work.

Each 30 second advertisement will have cost GE nearly $700,000, meaning that GE probably spent $2 million last Sunday. First I’ll share the ads and then I’ll share my thoughts on their significance.

All three advertisements are in this single video from ad agency BBDO:

  • Advertisement #1 (Parents’ reaction to Owen taking a developer job at GE)
  • Advertisement #2 (Fellow students’ reaction to Owen taking a job with GE)
  • Advertisement #3 (Friends’ reaction to Owen taking a developer job with GE)

All three ads highlight the gap between most people’s industrial age thinking and our new digital reality, and close with the tagline:

“The digital company. That’s also an industrial company.”

A year ago, together with Linda Bernardi, a Chief Innovation Officer at IBM, the two of us wrote about this very subject in our article for the world’s most popular innovation web site, Innovation Excellence:

You’re Either a Technology Business or You’re Out of Business

The sad truth is that most companies don’t realize this. GE, based on this ad campaign, obviously does. I won’t re-visit all of the points in the article, but instead I encourage you to read it, and for now I’ll focus on additional thoughts emerging since then. One thing I did after publishing this article with Linda, was ask the following question at my previous employer:

“Are we a technology company that happens to serve customers in the health insurance industry, or are we a health insurance company with an IT department?”

Does anyone want to guess what the majority of people answered?

The healthcare industry is undergoing a period of incredible change, but they are not the only ones. Technology is transforming market and customer expectations faster than executives and employees can transform their thinking. Customers expect more, they demand more, in every industry, and this is opening the door both for new entrants and for existing competitors to rearrange the market share picture, IF they take strategic actions focused on transforming into a more digital, more collaborative, more innovative organization. The questions every organization should be asking themselves include:

  1. How can we modify the architecture of our organization to cope with the increasing pace of change?
  2. How can we increase our organizational agility?
  3. How can we retain the talent we need to power a true digital transformation?
  4. How can we attract the talent we need to fill the gaps in our skills base to empower a successful digital transformation and to drive success in the marketplace as a social business?

I see GE’s ad campaign as the canary in the coal mine, an example of a large company awakening to one of the major challenges every organization faces in continuing to stay relevant (and profitable) in a rapidly changing, digital, always connected world.

The fact is that almost every organization needs more digital innovation talent…

And you know what?

There is a shortage…

Keeping up with the pace of technological change is hard enough. Conducting a digital transformation, and becoming a true social business is even harder, but INCREDIBLY important to your current and future success. The companies that realize this and commit to a coordinated digital transformation, embracing the fact that they are a technology company serving a particular industry and a certain set of customers will have a better chance of attracting the scarce talent they need to complete the work to emerge out the other side. And you MUST do this before every other company out there piles on and causes an incredibly bloody fight for the scarce digital innovation talent out there, and the market share that is at risk.

I will be writing more about how to increase your organizational agility and to achieve a successful digital transformation in the coming months in the run up to the publishing of my second book by Palgrave Macmillan on organizational change and the Change Planning Toolkit™.

Are you going to be like GE and admit that you need to change the way you think of yourself as an organization and change the perception potential employees have of you in the marketplace?

Are you ready to become a social business?

Do you have what you need to achieve a successful digital transformation?

Are you ready to admit that you need help getting there?

Image credit: news-leader.com


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Drowning in a Sea of Content

Drowning in Content

In #MyIndustry, content creation (I’m an author, keynote speaker and publisher), there is already a flood of content and the flood waters will not recede anytime soon. In fact, the rate of content creation is increasing as more companies launch content marketing and inbound marketing campaigns to pull customers to them.

Before the Internet came along, content was naturally limited by the potential throughput possible through a relatively fixed number of available channels:

  • Handful of TV stations
  • Radio stations
  • 1 or 2 local newspapers
  • A few dozen magazines
  • A handful of book publishers

Things remained relatively stable for several decades, then beginning in about 1980 this began to change. Cable and satellite television began to arrive taking television from a handful of stations to hundreds. The number of magazines began to grow, doubling between 1980-2000 according to Pew Research, online services and eventually the Internet emerged to provide a plethora of alternatives to traditional newspapers, and satellite and internet radio arrived. At the same time Amazon, Lulu and others launched the self-publishing revolution.

The amount of content available to people has exploded over the last 35 years. I saw a statistic recently that more than 1 TRILLION photos will be taken in 2015, compared to 2.7 Trillion photos cumulatively stored through the end of 2014.

With the rate of the content deluge increasing and with none of it draining out the bottom of the Internet bathtub, it will become harder and harder for a content creator like myself to capture people’s attention and to afford to continue to deliver quality insights from research, collaboration, and connection.

Being a content creator is a lot like being a space object, there are lots of asteroids in space, and it is easy to float around as an asteroid, but to carefully tend and cultivate an ecosystem that helps you attract enough mass and an atmosphere capable of generating and growing life is much harder.

Creating unique and differentiated insights to power content that educates, informs, or entertains (or potentially all three) is hard enough, but if you want to create something with its own source of gravity, you need to collect and harness many more skills, while also looking for potential collaborators with complimentary skills.

This will always be true for artists, musicians, authors, and any other kind of content creator. There is no going back?

So, what’s your center of gravity?

And how can you make it stronger?

In my own content creation sphere, I continue to work to strengthen the center of gravity in the innovation arena by working on a site redesign with my great Innovation Excellence co-Founders and the digital professionals at Juice Interactive, and growing a new center of gravity in the change arena with some new partners as we seek contributing authors for an upcoming launch of Charting-Change.com.

Helping to make innovation and change insights accessible for the greater good is what drives me, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I possibly can!

Image credit: Bunchcast


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Free Virtual Keynote on Innovation Culture – June 6, 2014

Pipeline 2014 Conference

If your innovation culture leaves something to be desired and its your job to make it better, then come join me online at Pipeline 2014 for my FREE keynote on June 6, 2014 and find out five actions you can take to change your innovation culture for the better.
Here is a description of the session:

When it comes to innovation, far too much emphasis is placed on creativity, ideas and products. Innovation requires more than ‘aha’ moments. Innovation is a team sport, not an individual one, and while it may be easier for our reptilian brain to understand a single innovation hero, the truth is that every innovation figurehead from Steve Jobs to Thomas Edison had a whole lab or team of people behind them making the real innovation happen. In this session we will investigate what it takes to build a successful team of capable innovation practitioners and contributors that will effectively form a strong and sustainable innovation culture to power success for the organization, not just for the moment, but for the lifetime of the organization.

And here is some information on this FREE virtual conference:

If you’re not familiar with the Pipeline Conference, it is a virtual conference with more than 4,000 participants from 95 countries over the past four years. PIPELINE offers product development practitioners access to experts as well as practical information they can use right away – all from the comfort of their desks. From idea to launch to end-of-life, the content will appeal to any professional involved in the end-to-end product development process. In addition, the newly designed PIPELINE virtual platform serves as a resource center for 12 months following the live event with new content each quarter.

People who register for the conference get a free access to the resource center. PIPELINE 2013 was named Event of the Year category in Best in Biz Awards for virtual conference on innovative product development. For more information and to register, visit:

http://www.pipelineconference.com

I hope to see you online on June 6th for my presentation and the Q&A session!


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