Tag Archives: technology

Transformation Insights – Part Two

Transformation Insights - Part Two

“The world needs stories and characters that unite us rather than tear us apart.”~ Gale Anne Hurd, Producer of Aliens and The Terminator

GUEST POST from Bruce Fairley

In my early years I was fortunate to spend some time on film sets. Unlike how the entertainment industry is portrayed in the Netflix series, The Movies that Made Us, I did not come to blows with any of my directors as Eddie Murphy apparently did with John Landis during the making of Coming to America. Nor did I witness an entire crew mutiny, as James Cameron did on Aliens. Instead, I often saw the same dynamic I’ve witnessed in the tech sector from the first moment I stepped off set and into I.T.

People coming together.

Skilled, diverse, passionate people hard at work fighting against miscommunication, technical issues, and time constraints – coming together to achieve something significant. I referred to this in my previous Transformation Insights post, The Future Always Wins as:

Collaboration Between Complementary Influencers.

This dynamic is as true of a film set as it is of a firm engaged in digital transformation. In both cases, expertise in various areas is required to create a successful whole, with C-Suite leaders in the corporate sphere tasked with providing the articulated vision at the helm. Of course, the success of any endeavor comes down to human-powered action and decision making at every level of execution. And while the challenges of a digital transformation project may not be as bone-breaking dangerous as the stunts in an action film, getting to greatness requires a similar fusion of mind and machine – of talent and technology.

If that sounds like The Terminator, consider that its box office success speaks to the fusion of mind and machine as an unstoppable trajectory – but those who deepen their humanity rather than succumb to machine rule are the heroes that triumph. This was mirrored in the making of the film, which was nearly shut down when the crew put down their tools. Addressing their humanity and acknowledging the value of their contribution changed the story from disaster to blockbuster.

Humans lead – technology serves. Not the other way around.

When that is reversed, dystopia ensues whether on screen or in the boardroom. Having witnessed many occasions in which technology was expediently obtained before its value to the user could be established, I am convinced we have lost the plot in telling a wider, corporate story. Technology was supposed to liberate not enslave. Instead, how many times have you attended a Zoom meeting or prepared weeks for a presentation only to discover the sound not working, the slide deck freezing, or even a hidden ‘on’ button? These may be simple examples, but they rob the intrepid hero of the corporate journey; the chance to shine and advance their creative talent much like the crew of Aliens putting down their tools. Now multiply that by the large scale digital transformation projects I’ve spearheaded, and it becomes clear how a broken axis between human-powered decision making and technology can break the bottom line.

Optimism and momentum towards a more positive, successful outcome hinges on more than technological expertise. It requires an understanding of the whole story – and how the team, tech, leadership, and consumers each play a role. The story you wish to tell about your corporate journey requires buy-in at every level of service – human and tech. Obstacles are not indictments, they are merely obstacles. But they do often require a third-party complementary collaborator that understands how to transform pitfalls into profits.

When I launched the Narrative Group I wanted to amplify the genius of C-Suite executives through the optimization of the business-tech relationship. Similarly to how I observed the inner workings of a set and how all the pieces had to fit together to create a screen success, I spent years observing digital transformation from the inside. Across continents and boardrooms, I learned, led, and transformed as well. This only increased my commitment to helping talented leaders tell their story successfully.

If you’re a C-Suite leader that would like to storyboard the trajectory of your corporate success, please feel free to reach out and continue the conversation at:

connect@narrative-group.com

Image Credit: The Narrative Group

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Creating Innovation with Hardcore Soft Skills

Creating Innovation with Hardcore Soft Skills

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Yadira Caro on the Hardcore Soft Skills Podcast.

In the episode I define what innovation really is, how people, process and technology come together to create innovation and where people go wrong.

The conversation includes a discussion of how to craft successful innovation teams because it’s such a crucial factor for successful innovation.



I also speak about the peril of idea fragments and the importance of respecting your employees by putting funding and execution capabilities in place BEFORE you ask your employees for even a single idea.

We talk about top-down innovation…

We talk about bottom-up or middle-out innovation…

And, we also speak about many different innovation misconceptions.

So, I encourage you to check out the episode!

You can listen to the embedded podcast above or click this link to go to the podcast page.

Image credit: Pixabay

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The ABCDEs of Technology Adoption

The ABCDEs of Technology Adoption

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Every day, doctors have to make daily decisions about whether or not to adopt a new technology and add it their clinical armamentarium, either replacing or supplementing what they do. In doing so, they run the risk of making a Type 1 or a Type 2 adoption error.

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy generally concerned with the nature of knowledge. It asks questions such as ‘How do we know?’ and ‘What is meaningful knowledge?’. Understanding what it means to have knowledge in a particular area—and the contexts and warrants that shape knowledge—has been a fundamental quest for centuries.

Data Information Knowledge Wisdom Pyramid

In Plato’s Theaetetus, knowledge is defined as the intersection of truth and belief, where knowledge cannot be claimed if something is true but not believed or believed but not true. Using an example from neonatal intensive care, this paper adapts Plato’s definition of the concept ‘knowledge’ and applies it to the field of quality improvement in order to explore and understand where current tensions may lie for both practitioners and decision makers. To increase the uptake of effective interventions, not only does there need to be scientific evidence, there also needs to be an understanding of how people’s beliefs are changed in order to increase adoption more rapidly.

Only 18% of clinical recommendations are evidence based. There are significant variations in care from one doctor to the next. Physicians practicing in the same geographic area (and even health system) often provide vastly different levels of care during identical clinical situations, including some concerning variations, according to a new analysis.

Clinical and policy experts assessed care strategies used by more than 8,500 doctors across five municipal areas in the U.S., keying in on whether they utilized well-established, evidence-backed guidelines. They found significant differences between physicians, including some working in the same specialty and hospital.

The study results were published Jan. 28 in JAMA Health Forum.

One practice difference the authors found surprising was in arthroscopic knee surgery rates. In these cases, the top 20% of surgeons performed surgery on 2%-3% of their patients, while the bottom 20% chose this invasive option for 26%-31% of patients with the same condition being treated in the same city.

The question is why?

There’s an old joke that there are two ways everyone sees the world: those that see it as a 2×2 matrix and those that don’t.

Type 1 Type 2 Errors Kris Martin

A type 1 error occurs when they make a “false positive” error and use or do something that is not justified by the evidence. Type 2 errors, on the other hand are “false negatives” where the practitioner rejects or does not do something that represents best evidence practice.

The most recent example is the campaign to get doctors to stop prescribing low value interventions and tests. The Choosing Wisely campaign, which launched five years ago, hasn’t curbed the widespread use of low-value services even as physicians and health systems make big investments in the effort, a new report found.

The analysis, released  in Health Affairs, said a decrease in unnecessary healthcare services “appear to be slow in moving” since the campaign was formed in 2012. The report found that recent research shows only small decreases in care for certain low-value services and even increases for some low-value services.

The reasons why American doctors keep doing expensive procedures that don’t work are many. The proportion of medical procedures unsupported by evidence may be nearly half. In addition, misuse of cannabis, supplements, neutriceuticals and vitamins are rampant.

Evidence-based practice is held as the gold standard in patient care, yet research suggests it takes hospitals and clinics about 17 years to adopt a practice or treatment after the first systematic evidence shows it helps patients. Here are some ways to speed the adoption of evidence based care.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why there are barriers to adoption and penetration of new technologies that can result in these errors. I call them the ABCDEs of technology adoption:

Attitudes: While the evidence may point one way, there is an attitude about whether the evidence pertains to a particular patient or is a reflection of a general bias against “cook book medicine”

Biased Behavior: We’re all creatures of habit and they are hard to change. Particularly for surgeons, the switching costs of adopting a new technology and running the risk of exposure to complications, lawsuits and hassles simply isn’t worth the effort. Doctors suffer from conformation bias, thinking that what they do works, so why change?

Here are the most common psychological biasesHere are many more.

Why do you use or buy what you do? Here is a introduction to behavioral economics.

Cognition: Doctors may be unaware of a changing standard, guideline or recommendation, given the enormous amount of information produced on a daily basis, or might have an incomplete understanding of the literature. Some may simply feel the guidelines are wrong or do not apply to a particular patient or clinical situation and just reject them outright. In addition, cognitive biases and personality traits (aversion to risk or ambiguity) may lead to diagnostic inaccuracies and medical errors resulting in mismanagement or inadequate utilization of resources. Overconfidence, the anchoring effect, information and availability bias, and tolerance to risk may be associated with diagnostic inaccuracies or suboptimal management.

In addition,  there is a critical misunderstanding of what information randomized trials provide us and how health care providers should respond to the important information that these trials contain.

  • Has this trend been studied?
  • If so, who conducted the study?
  • Was it somebody who may make money based on study results?
  • Did the study include a control group?
  • What population did they use to test this trend?

Do you know how to read the medical literature?

Denial: Doctors sometimes deny that their results are suboptimal and in need of improvement, based on “the last case”. More commonly, they are unwilling or unable to track short term and long term outcomes to see if their results conform to standards.

Emotions: Perhaps the strongest motivator, fear of reprisals or malpractice suits, greed driving the use of inappropriate technologies that drive revenue, the need for peer acceptance to “do what everyone else is doing” or ego driving the opposite need to be on the cutting edge and winning the medical technology arms race or create a perceived marketing competitive advantage. In other words, peer pressure and social contagion is present in medicine as much as anywhere else. “Let’s do this test, just in case” is a frequent refrain from both patients and doctors, when in fact, the results of the treatment or test will have little or no impact on the outcome. It is driven by a combination of fear, the moral hazard and bias.

Here are some common customer fears when it comes to adopting a new product or technology and how to overcome them.

 Although investment in start-ups is significant, complex barriers to implementing change and innovation remain.

These “unnecessary” barriers, which vary from complicated funding structure to emotional attitudes towards healthcare, have resulted in the uneven advancement of medical technologies – to the detriment of patients in different sectors.

Economics: What is the opportunity cost of my time and expertise and what is the best way for me to optimize it? What are the incentive to change what I’m doing?

Here are three insights as to why physicians are still skeptical about using wearable technology to monitor patients’ health:

  1. Data access. Clinicians aren’t interested in using wearables if data from the devices isn’t connected to their organization’s EHR. Only 10 percent of physicians said they have integrated data from patient wearables, leaving clinicians unable to access the data or having to enter it manually.
  2. Data accuracy. Some physicians do not trust data from consumer wearable devices; for example, the FDA and other global regulators have cleared a smartwatch application that can alert patients who have already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation when they are experiencing episodes. However, the capability is less useful as a mass screening tool and has generated many false positive results.
  3. User error and anxiety. If a wearable device is not worn correctly, it may generate inaccurate results. Some who use wearables to monitor their health can also become too focused on vitals such as heart rhythm and pulse rate, which can cause anxiety-induced physical reactions that mimic conditions such as atrial fibrillation.

The past 600 years of human history help explain why humans often oppose new technologies and why that pattern of opposition continues to this day. Calestous Juma, a professor in Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, explores this phenomenon in his latest book, “Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies.”

Here are the key takeaways.

Research indicates that doctors make these kinds errors frequently(http://ecp.acponline.org/sepoct01/pilson.pdf). Moreover, we are witnessing the development of digital health technologies like medical mobile apps, most of which are not clinically validated. So, how should a clinician decide when to adopt new technology? How much evidence is sufficient for an unsophisticated physician to begin adopting or applying a technological innovation for patient care? How do you strike a balance between innovation and evidence from a patient safety and quality standpoint?

Changing patient behavior has been described as the “next frontier”. To make that happen, we will need to change doctor behavior as well.Some interventions work but passive interventions don’t.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Recognize, that like most customers, surgeons buy emotionally and justify rationally.
  2. Surgeons should be introspective about how and when they adopt new technologies and try to minimize Type 1 and Type 2 errors
  3. While an initial step is to be sure that surgeons are aware of new information that might drive an adoption decision, research indicates that simply presenting them with that information does not change behavior.
  4. Doctors should be skeptical about digital health technologies that might be technically and commercially validated, but not clinically validated.
  5. Doctors will have to resolve the conflict between best evidence and personalized medicine. We face the opportunity to individualize care yet are faced with the challenges of delivering mass customized care when it is becoming increasingly commoditized.
  6. Technology adoption, diffusion and sustainability vary depending on the product offering like drugs, devices, digital health products, care delivery innovation or business process innnovation.
  7. Doctors often have nothing to do with choosing which technology is adopted or, more importantly, paid for by a third party.
  8. Doctors, particularly those that are employed, have to concern themselves more and more with making the numbers, which involves implicitly or covertly rationing care, as irrational as it may be.
  9. Conflicts of interest hide, in some instances, the motivation for technology adoption.
  10. Doctors have high switching costs when it comes to including something new in their therapeutic armamentarium.
  11. In most instances, dissemination and implementation has more to do with leading change than the technology. Consequently it is best to get buy in from clinicians early, define a clear unmet need, have internal champions and leadership from the C-suite.
  12. Adoption and penetration happens in organizations when there is a match between the values and skills of intrapreneurs and organizational innovation readiness as demonstrated by teams that are willing to pull the oars in the same direction.
  13. Here are some ways to to change doctor prescribing habits to conform to evidence based medicine

The job doctors want virtual care technologists to do is that they want you to give them a QWILT: quality, workflow efficiencies,income, protection from liability and giving them more time spend with patients (face to face, since, in most instances, that’s how they get paid) Increasingly, they also want to spend more time “off the clock”, instead of being overburdened with EMR pajama time and answering non-urgent emails or patient portal messages.

While monetary incentives and behavioral “nudges” both have their strengths, neither of them is sufficient to reliably change clinician behavior and improve the quality of their care. Sometimes nudging helps. Organizational culture, while diverse and complex, provides another important lens to understand why clinicians are practicing in a certain way and to put forth more comprehensive, long-term solutions.

The public shares some culpability. Americans often seem to prefer more care than less. But a lot of it still comes from physicians, and from our inability to stop when the evidence tells us to. Professional organizations and others that issue such guidelines also seem better at telling physicians about new practices than about abandoning old ones.

Medicine has a lot to learn from the consumer products industry when it comes to using the power of brands to change behavior. Some are using personal information technologies to give bespoke information to individual patients, much like Amazon suggesting what books to buy based your preferences. We need to do the same thing for doctors.

Like most consumer electronics customers, doctors will almost always get more joy from technology the longer they wait for it to mature. Cutting-edge gadgets can invoke awe and temptation, but being an early adopter involves risk, and the downsides usually outweigh the benefits.

There are many barriers to the adoption and penetration of medical technologies. The history of medicine is full of examples, like the stethoscope, that took decades before they were widely adopted. Hopefully, with additional insights and data, it won’t take us that long.

Image credits: Pixabay, ResearchGate.net, Kris Martin

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Why so much medical technoskepticism?

Why so much medical technoskepticism?

Guest Post from Arlen Meyers

Medicine has transitioned from high touch to high tech to low trust. The explosion of post COVID technology “innovations” is leaving a wake of skepticism from the healing class.

As noted, Covid-19 let virtual medicine out of the bottle. Now it’s time to tame it. If we don’t, there is a danger that it will stealthily become a mainstay of our medical care. Deploying it too widely or too quickly risks poorer care, inequities and even more outrageous charges in a system already infamous for big bills.

Medical technoscepticism is driven by:

  1. Unresolved conflicts between the ethics of medicine and the ethics of business
  2. False promises and marketing hype
  3. Resistance to change
  4. Faulty thinking leading to technology adoption errors
  5. The halo from BIG TECH shenanigans and the resulting distrust
  6. Social media misinformation and infodemics
  7. Not addressing the needs of end user healthcare professionals and what they value
  8. Rules, legislation and administrative mandates and that interfere with dissemination and implementation and the resulting unintended consequences
  9. Inequitable access and lack of clinical validation to solutions
  10. Inadequate professional and patient education and training about present and future medical technologies and their value
  11. Fear about artificial intelligence and its effect on society
  12. Security, privacy and confidentiality concerns

The pandemic resulted in an increase in virtual care.  But its place and value in the post-pandemic world is up in the air. To help policymakers, payers, providers assess the  various ways in which virtual care programs could have a positive impact for patients, clinicians, payers, and society going forward, the American Medical Association and Manatt Health developed a framework. It can be used by care providers to develop and evaluate new digitally-enabled-care models, by payers to inform coverage and payment decisions, and by policymakers to establish regulations.

Much like addressing vaccine skepticism, technoskepticism will require a multipronged approach. . Maybe you should just take all those worthless vitamins and supplements and forget about all the technology snake oil.

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What is digital transformation? – EPISODE THREE – Ask the Consultant

Live from the Innovation Studio comes EPISODE THREE of a new ‘Ask the Consultant’ series of short form videos. EPISODE THREE aims to answer a question that many people struggle to answer or accurately discuss:

“What is digital transformation?”

Digital transformation is a complicated topic for people to speak intelligently about and to explore in depth because there is so much misinformation and confusion about what a digital transformation actually is – a lot of it espoused by technology vendors.

Together in this episode we’ll explore what digital transformation is by looking at two definitions that show what digital transformation is not.

1. Wikipedia’s bad definition of Digital Transformation

“Digital Transformation (DT or DX) is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.”

— Wikipedia

2. This Definition of Digital Transformation Gets Closer But Still Isn’t Right

“Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”

— EnterprisersProject

So, let’s dig into what Digital Transformation really is …

A digital transformation is the journey between a company’s current business operations to a reimagined version of itself from the perspective of how a digital native would build the same business operations leveraging the latest technology and scientific understandings of management science, leadership, decision science, business and process architecture, design, customer experience, etc.

A digital transformation can only be successfully achieved if you put customers and employees at the center to create a human-centered data model and explore the intersection between what’s needed and what’s possible to simplify processes, reduce complexity, and to design elegant experiences.

The key thing to remember is that technology comes at the end, not the beginning, starts by making strategic choices, and focuses on identifying and building the needed capabilities to execute the new strategy.

Here is a quick review list of ten things to keep in mind for a successful digital transformation:

  1. Reimagine your business from a digital native perspective
  2. A Human-Centered Data Model (customers & employees)
  3. Put your customers and employees at the center
  4. Identify intersection of what’s needed & what’s possible
  5. Simplify processes
  6. Reduce complexity
  7. Design elegant experiences
  8. Technology comes at the END – not the beginning
  9. Start by making strategic choices
  10. Build capabilities needed to achieve your transformation

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Help Shape the Next ‘Ask the Consultant’ Episode

  1. Grab a great deal on Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire on Amazon while they last!
  2. Get a copy of my latest book Charting Change on Amazon
  3. Contact me with your question for the next video episode of “Ask the Consultant” live from my innovation studio

Below are the previous episodes of ‘Ask the Consultant’:

  1. EPISODE ONE – What is innovation?
  2. EPISODE TWO – How do I create continuous innovation in my organization?
  3. All other episodes of Ask the Consultant


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Transform Your Business with a Change Success Manager

Transform Your Business with a Change Success Manager

“Stealing the role of customer success manager from the world of SaaS is the key to making your digital transformation efforts a success.”

I was speaking with a headhunter recently about some of the roles she was recruiting for and there was one that captured my attention. It was a posting she had for a customer success manager at one of your favorite three letter software companies. And, as she extolled the merits of the role I found myself thinking that the management practice of organizational change is still so immature. There are still so many missing tools and mindsets in the organizational behavior area of management science.

What I found so captivating about the responsibilities of a customer success manager, is that the kinds of tasks she described are exactly the kinds of activities that need to be performed as part of any organizational change effort. The difference is that software companies have recognized that they need to have people dedicated, ideally from the very beginning of the process, to help connect the cross-functional dots for the customer behind the scenes, actively manage expectations and outcomes, ensure a mutual understanding of what success looks like, and to make sure that it is ultimately achieved.

Technology companies everywhere seem to be racing to embrace the role of customer success manager as a new member of their army of service professionals. And, the customer success manager, above all else, strives to ensure that every customer moves beyond purchase, beyond installation, beyond first use, to productive use, deepening engagement, and the holy grail of retention and referral.

And retention is key in SaaS businesses because the churn rate (13% per year on adverage) is higher than other subscription type businesses (6-8% per year according to Recurly Research), but lower than the churn rate for some wireless carriers (which averages between 1-3% per month). Churn rate is a statistic measuring those customers who choose not to renew their service, or to switch their service to another subscription provider. A churned customer doesn’t write you a check for next year, or future years either.

The main reason SaaS customers churn, especially after their first year, is that the perceived value of the subscription is insufficient relative to the price to justify renewing it. They may have bought the software but didn’t install it, installed it but never really got up and running with it, or just found it too hard to get the value out of the software that they were promised. The old technology sales model didn’t care about these situations. Tech companies just focused on closing the sale, recognizing the revenue and moving on to close the next prospect. With the SaaS model, sales are no longer king, adoption and engagement are king. If the customer doesn’t adopt, engage and expand their footprint with your SaaS offering then it is easy for them to switch to an offering of a competitor.

So, if customer success managers are so instrumental to the success of technology companies in the era of the cloud, why shouldn’t they also be considered instrumental inside of our organizations as the key to successful change?

The problem is that too many organizations are still stuck in an upside-down paradigm where change management is seen as a bolt on to project management, instead of truly architecting our organizations for successful change.

Companies that want to be successful over the long term understand that change is not an event but a constant. They strategically select those capabilities and competencies needed for the next phase of their evolution, plan a portfolio of change initiatives that executes upon their strategy, and understand that change saturation and change readiness must always be considered. Companies that succeed in this era of unending change will constantly manage the expectations of their people around each change initiative and how the process will work and what the technology can and can’t do.

It is not surprising that companies would first embrace a role that adds tremendous value on the revenue generating side of the business first. Technology companies have determined customer success managers are critical to helping customer organizations adopt changes imposed by new technologies while ultimately increasing the lifetime value of each new customer. But for similar reasons internal to the organization, companies must also now embrace the need for a role I’d like to call the change success manager.

A change success manager is a change manager on steroids. However, in today’s business climate most people think of a change manager as the person a project manager brings in near the end of a software implementation project that does the training or communications. That may be how companies are doing the so-called people side of change today, but it is wrong!

This new role of change success manager is intended to lead each change initiative inside the organization from beginning to end. A change success manager is brought in at the beginning of the process to reach across the organization and identify a cross functional team specific to the needs of each change initiative for the purposes of convene as part of a change planning workshop. This change planning team will facilitate each change planning workshop using tools like the Change Planning Toolkit™ to identify the change leadership team that will take decisions and remove roadblocks for the change management team that will facilitate the actions necessary to advance the change initiative to its desired outcomes.

And, unlike the current model of change that many organizations follow, a change success manager will have one or more project managers on their change management team to identify the appropriate pace for the project, and the right size for the work packages, in order to maintain momentum across the entire duration of the change initiative and increase the adoption of internal change – just like a customer success manager increases the adoption of external changes!

This article originally appeared on CIO.com


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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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Will Health Sensors Make iWatch the Must Have Wearable?

iWatch Concept with Health SensorsBack in the 1990’s NBC referred to Thursday night as must watch television, and when it comes to making the transformation from invention to innovation, an innovation often needs a ‘Must Have’ feature.

So, with rumors swirling about the potential introduction today of an Apple iWatch, will Health Sensors make the iWatch a ‘Must Have’ or a ‘Must Wear’?

Will the iWatch do to the Fitbit and Nike Fuelband what the iPhone did to the Flip video camera?

If so, it will be yet another example of how it is more important to build a product or service that moves people. Move them not in a spiritual way (although creating something akin to a spiritual experience can help), but in an emotional way where the product or service (through value creation, value access, and value translation) provides enough ‘Must Have’ (or at least ‘Must Try’) to move people to abandon their existing solution (even if it is the ‘Do Nothing’ solution) to try and ultimately adopt your new solution in large numbers.

Moving people in this way is what moves your product or service from being an invention, to being an innovation.

Will the purported ten sensors of the iWatch provide enough entertainment, functionality, and actionable information to make the iWatch a ‘Must Wear’, make it a device that you won’t want to take it off?

If Apple can pull that off, then they will have a huge hit on their hands.

Are they too early like Samsung?

Have they seeded an ecosystem to grow after the launch of the iWatch?

After all it was the ecosystem created around the App Store that turned the iPhone into the market leader, it was the ecosystem created around the iTunes Store (and a Windows version of the software to access it) that turned the iPod into the market leader.

Or is it too early for Apple to launch an iWatch?

What ten sensors would make an iWatch a ‘Must Wear’?

  1. Accelerometer
  2. Pulse monitor
  3. NFC
  4. Blood pressure monitor?
  5. Temperature sensor?
  6. Barometric pressure sensor?
  7. ?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

I guess we’ll find out next year.

Image Credit: techradar


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Shocking People into Buying Your Product

It costs a lot of money to make a television commercial, and at its core what is a television advertisement? It’s a short piece of video designed to reinforce brand values and attachment, or possibly with any luck, to drive purchasing behavior. But there are other ways to distribute video now of course, other than buying time on the major networks or the hundreds of cable networks. And sometimes alternative methods of video distribution actually work better for some creative ideas than traditional media buys.

And what do you do when you have a product that isn’t necessarily that easy to advertise in the traditional ways, for example horror movies or ultra high-definition televisions?

Products that in your advertising that you might WANT to shock people, because they like that, in the case of horror movies. Or in the case of a tech product where people are reasonably happy with what they have, your might actually NEED to find a way to shock people in order them to perceive the incremental benefits of what you’re offering versus what they already have.

In the first case, the people behind the new Carrie movie set out to create a telekinetic café prank in New York City to promote the movie:

While in the case of ultra high-definition televisions, which let’s be honest, aren’t SOOOO much better than HDTV’s that people are camping out in front of the electronics retailers to get one. So, companies like LG are going to have to go to extreme lengths to highlight the incremental value delivered by an ultra high-definition television over an HDTV. LG decided to engage some of the public in shocking scenarios utilizing their product (and film the whole thing) to try and show not just the people involved in the pranks, but the rest of the world at the same time, the shocking visual clarity of their ultra high-definition televisions. A great creative strategy, and a smart value translation approach for their potential innovations.

Here is an LG elevator prank:

Here is an LG job interview prank from Latin America:

And finally here is another LG prank in the men’s restroom:

So, as you are thinking about advertising your own new products and services, think about whether or not buying media is the best way of distributing any video advertising you might want to create. And also think about whether or not you might need to shock people into buying your product or service because they believe their existing product or service is “good enough”?

And is your product or service better than the existing ones by a wide enough margin to make customers care?

Something to think about…


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