Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Monthly “100 Creativity Ingredients” Book Tuning: Develop Creative Competency Dec. 2018

Creativity is a constructive disruption and a contextualized competency. 

All humans are born with raw creativity ability. Creativity has many dimensions, with multi-faceted truth and myth, manifold knowledge and multidimensional insight. Creativity is wings of our mind and the tempo of our heartbeat. Creativity is a constructive disruption, not so bad addiction, and a sensational phenomenon. The purpose of “100 Creativity Ingredients - Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity “is to classify, scrutinize, articulate, and share insight about one hundred special creativity ingredients, to paint the picture with them, to add colors on them, to embed the music into them, and to make the story via them, in order to unleash our collective creativity potential.   

                        Develop Creative Competency


Creative Competency? Creativity is a contextualized competency. Creativity comprises a combination of “flavored ingredients” that work together, flow, fluctuate in harmony, in order to generate creative energy. You can pull it out of the box and look at it through different lenses. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity, but how does creativity manifest itself, and what’re critical components of shaping creative competency?

The Art of Creativity Creativity is everything that one has seen, felt, touched, dreamed. All our experiences are completely reconfigured in a way that mixes up all these "sense and sensitivity." The poet, capturing a thought, a phrase, finishes it by conveying the deep though, and then printing it; but the meaning of the artwork can have multidimensional manifestations. The photographer is not alone in catching something which changes, grows, it is affected by time - but not in the photograph. Creativity is both innate and a skill. Developing creativity requires both self-awareness and internal motivation. Here are three ingredients in the art of creativity.

Does Confidence Enforce Creativity? Being innovative is a state of mind, To be an innovator, an individual's creative mentality, proactive attitudes, the blend of knowledge and ingenuity, and the right dose of confidence are all valid within the context of his or her creative intelligence. Confidence is simply about believing in yourself, how does confidence enforce creativity?

The Psychology Behind Creativity Creativity seems to be the free flow of life force energy. It is a wellspring we can learn to tap or to un-tap. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity, but how does creativity manifest itself? We tend to equate artistic with creative and they can go together although not necessarily. Creativity has many faces and creative people have varying profiles. What’s the psychology behind creativity and how to develop creativity via practicing?

Does Trust Harness Creativity and Innovation There is a full cycle of emotions behind innovation. Trust is one of the positive emotions to harness creativity and innovation. Trust is a measure of the quality of a relationship between people, groups, or between people and an organization; and trust is a two-way street. Trust is multidimensional. It encompasses trusting self, trusting others, and earning the trust of others.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #2100th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Popular Quotes about the Digital Board Leadership in “Digital Master” Series II Dec. 2018

An effective Board can connect all the right dots well.


"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (26+ books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about the digital board leadership.

12  “The Boardroom Paradox: Harden the softest like culture, and soften the hardest like number.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

13 “Breaking rules is indeed an important part of creativity. Innovation needs a level of guidance.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

14 “Heterogeneous BoDs with independent thinking enforce governance, and diversity strengthens creativity.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

15 “A harmonic, forward-looking approach to practice governance discipline has to be put at the heart of corporate board in the digital age.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

16 “An effective Board can connect all the right dots well.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

17 “A wise board accumulates rational wisdom, embraces unconventional wisdom and sharpens system wisdom.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

18 “Applying deep insight and rubber stamping are such counter-propositions.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

19 “The BoDs play a significant role in both Management Innovation and Innovation Management.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

20 “Create an innovative boardroom with “free atmosphere,” so directors are inquisitive to ask great, tough questions for deepening understanding.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

21 “The purpose of the governing body, or board of directors, is to direct and guide the organization in the right direction”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

Running a “Programmable” Future of Digital Organization

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity, but it is programmable, to a certain degree.

Reimaging the future of business is exciting, but investigating the different path for unlocking business performance takes strategy, methodology, and practice. The multidimensional digital effects provide impressive advantages in term of the business speed, the abundance of information, and the quality of the digital workforce. The future of digital organization needs to be non-stop, instant-on, adaptable to change, open to new knowledge, informative and innovative. The future of the digital organization presents the programmable capability which enforces adaptability, exhibits the willingness and ability to learn and then applies those lessons to succeed in new situations and makes a leap of digital transformation.

Real-time: The pervasive digitalization means “reduced time to information and knowledge.” The power of information is to enable the business with real-time insight across the organization in ways never possible before, for making timely decisions and responding to changes accordingly. The purpose of running digital businesses today is to amplify collective human capability, develop the organizational capacity and build the unique business competency. Digitization has triggered a transformation across each of the business areas such as strategic planning, operation, innovation, change management, talent management, and customer relationship management, etc, resulting in business benefits as well as transformational challenges. With these real-time business insights refined by information and unprecedented convenience brought by advanced digital technologies, digital organizations acquire the ability to reprogram themselves, reshape products, services, and improve customer engagement, with the goal to run an adaptive digital organization.

Participation: The emerging digital era means flow - information flow, idea flow, mind flow, and it has its own dynamic which is a state of constant flux. The emerging digital technologies such as social platform provide a flexible way to learn, share and collaborate. A digital organization builds up a momentum that draws creative contributions from the participants that they did not previously conceive or understood they were capable of. It’s about people brainstorming together to reinvent a programmable digital business through collective creativity and effort. A high-responsive digital organization should lead the way to lift one foot and shift the organizational structure more into participative models that better support the quantum leap in speed we are experiencing. The future of the organization is fluid, flexible, informative and autonomous. Real-time sharing, transparency, active listening, two-way trust are crucial ingredients in the wisdom of the team. The collective creativity based on proactive participation in the digital organization is not just a sum of creative pieces; but a more meaningful achievement for problem-solving, continuous improvement or breakthrough innovation.

Personalization: Digital is the era of people and options, empathy, or simply put, "personalization." The digital organization is more like the living thing with its unique identity and strength, in part because ways of doing business and customer expectations both tend to be more flexible than the siloed industrial age. Thus, running a programmable digital organization with greater personalization leading to a better understanding by designing tailored applications or solutions to tailor the customers' need. In fact, providing the personalized services or solutions to its customers become the new normal for running a digital organization.

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity, but it is programmable, to a certain degree. The more effortlessly you can align, integrate, harmonize, and optimize the important business factors inside an organization, the closer you can accelerate performance and lead changes. Building an ideal digital organization won’t happen overnight, it takes planning, experimenting and scaling up.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Monthly “Digitizing Boardroom” Book Tuning: The Dilemmas, Pitfalls, Gaps, and Barriers in Boardrooms Dec. 2018

Modern corporate boards play significant roles in guiding businesses in the right direction and achieve expected business results. Due to the “VUCA” characteristics -Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Velocity of the Digital Era, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here are the multiple perspectives of digitizing boardroom.




      The Dilemmas, Pitfalls, Gaps, and Barriers in Boardrooms


The Digital Boardroom Dilemmas Corporate board as one of the most important top leadership teams plays a significant role in overseeing strategies, leading changes and driving digital transformation. The real boardroom dilemma is that driving the business forward is extremely difficult. That means looking into an unknown future and attempting to define the landscape with risks and opportunities. The digital directors today need to understand things and circumstance in a holistic way, ask themselves and others deep questions, to ensure they can deal with leadership dilemmas and handle digital new normal wisely.

Three Pitfalls in Boardroom The modern digital board has many responsibilities also gets a lot of frustration and hits many pitfalls on the digital transformation. Driving the business forward is extremely difficult. This means looking into an unknown future and attempting to define the landscape with its risks and opportunities, to steer the business in the right direction. Here are three pitfalls in digitizing the boardroom.

Three Digital Barriers Limit the Board’s Strategic Oversight Effectiveness Organizations across the sectors are steadily moving into the digital era with characteristics of hyperconnectivity and fierce competitions. There’s knowing unknown, there’s unknowing unknown. The corporate board as senior leadership team has to overcome many obstacles and numerous pitfalls in order to lead effectively. Here are three digital barriers might limit the board’s strategic oversight effectiveness.

What are the Barriers and Pitfalls to Build a High-Performance Board The contemporary corporate board plays a crucial role in overseeing business strategy and monitoring organizational performance. An effective board enables and directs management towards good outcomes, and ensure the business is on the right track to reach well-defined business goals. If the results are lacking, and then the board effectiveness must be questioned. More specifically, what are great inquiries which can help you deepen the understanding of the barriers and digging through the root cause of ineffectiveness, in order to build a high-performance and digital ready board?

Is your Board too Backward-looking Digital means the increasing speed of changes, the exponential growth of information, hyperconnectivity, and always-on business dynamic. How successful organizations can handle continuous digital disruptions depends on how capable the board and business management can lead effectively across the ever-changing environment and how fast people can adapt to changes. When change does not meet the shareholders' expectation, the boardroom will feel the pain. The BoDs need to make an objective assessment of their own performance, changeability, and maturity: Is the board too backward-looking, compliance-driven, or internal focus? And how to build the high-performance digital board with a clear vision to drive progressive change effortlessly?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with 5200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.


The Popular Quotes about the Digital Board Leadership in “Digital Master” Series Dec. 2018

A strategic board has a view of looking ahead, an insight to look deeper, and competency to look beyond.
"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (26+ books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about the digital board leadership.
1 “The Board’s role is to pull management out of the trees to see the forest.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

2 “Group Thinking” or lack of courage to ask the tough and strategic questions is the chief weakness on Boards today.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

3 “In a world of well-defined problems, directors are required to exercise influence over volatility, manage uncertainty, simplify complexity, and resolve ambiguity in the 21st-century digital environment.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

4 “The diversity along with deep knowledge of the business will allow board directors to be real “thought partners” with senior management as they consider the longer-term goals beyond quarterly earnings.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

5 “Metaphorically, governance is like a “Steer,” Risk Management is like a “Brake.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

6 “Breaking rules is indeed an important part of creativity. Innovation needs a level of guidance.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

7 “The Board must set a tone for digital leadership.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

8 “A strategic board has a view of looking ahead, an insight to look deeper, and competency to look beyond.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

9 “A tech-savvy Board sets a right tone for shaping the culture of innovation.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

10 “A wise board accumulates rational wisdom, embraces unconventional wisdom and sharpens system wisdom.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

11 “The value-added Board brings the high-performance result, “deep common sense,” balance, improved strategic thinking, creativity, wisdom and more.”
― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

Reinventing IT by Developing a Digital Framework for all Structural Components

IT becomes the decisive success factor for the business’s long-term perspective.

At today’s information-driven business dynamic, IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. However, many traditional IT organizations are still perceived as the cost center and support desk. To break the mold, IT needs to rethink itself as an innovative and business leading organization. From an IT management perspective, an effective CIO’s job is to leverage systems view for an understanding of the variety of business relationship, organizational functions, and processes. IT is the linchpin of running a digital organization. The multidisciplinary IT management includes many important components such as strategic and tactical planning, Systems Engineering, concurrent engineering, design, quality engineering, portfolio management and optimization, systems ecology, etc. IT is a mixed bag of science and art disciplines, how to reinvent IT by developing a digital framework for all structural components and manage them systematically?

Reinforce IT as a strategic, scientific, and systems engineering organization: Modern IT is an engineering discipline, as always, but adding more enriched digital context to the paradigm shift. Information systems are business oriented, integrate hardware, software and many other pieces of IT components to help business users accomplish the organizational goals and objectives. IT systems are not just glorified computer programs, it is actually the backbone of the business and provides invaluable information for either decision-making or problem-solving. Besides “keeping the lights on,” and improving efficiency, IT needs to become strategic focused and increase the top-line business profitability for the company. Fundamentally, IT is the scientific and systems engineering organization. Science = "What" & "How." What defines science from chance is the ability to repeat a process with the same resultant solution every time, through the application of known facts. The main reason for IT becoming irrelevant in the hyperconnected digital era is that up to the point in time most leaders have been silo managers and don’t really have business skills or leadership traits to lead change or digital transformation. To reinforce IT as a strategic business partner, the focus of IT needs to engage with the business units to find out how the department is perceived, what the pain points are and to identify opportunities for developing new services or improving/optimizing current ones.

Improve quality + productivity across the organization for climbing up IT maturity: Quality is to ensure that the organization’s systems are reliable and run when needed and when the users expect them to run, meet the needs of the business, don't waste time or have critical defects. a lack of productivity with technology. When IT operation is refined to the point that it can adapt to changing business demands in a timely fashion; it can be adjusted to meet the business priority, and be effective with the little down curve, IT is on the right track to achieve high business value. Quality management should be focused not only on products and services quality but also the means to achieve it, it often has the indication of innovation. IT leaders should make the quality check by making an objective assessment of IT effectiveness, efficiency, scalability, flexibility, resilience, etc, or the overall digital fitness and maturity of IT organization. From IT management perspective, quality, productivity and employee engagement are all interconnected. Employee engagement is important to drive competitive business advantage. Engagement is about employees "willing to give discretionary effort, wants to stay, and is always looking for ways to improve individual and team performance, increase productivity and achieve high-quality business results. There is ever a greater ability to create engagement around very specific goals, such as employee retention, talent acquisition, benefits administration, wellness, or multi-generational workforce facilitation.

Execute new business initiatives with a well-balanced portfolio management: IT will not "be the business" if it does not focus on the top prioritized business initiatives. IT initiatives are unlike others as they are always enterprise-wide. When it comes to collect the business requirements, IT needs to take the traceability path of where the requirements come from, and IT requirements need to be functionally structured to serve each functionality the enterprise needs. To improve its maturity, IT organizations need to be assertive in preparing and engaging effectively and efficiently with their business partners in strategic initiatives. It’s important to set the right priorities, don’t just deliver what the business asks for, but be able to provide the ”best solution” for the business, offer added value and feature insights based on system understanding and scientific management discipline. Each level of business transformation management - portfolio, program and project management should focus on different business objectives but works cohesively to deliver business value with effectiveness and efficiency.

Align IT and business and integrate processes across the organization seamlessly: Digital IT plays a crucial role in optimizing business operation management capacity with a keen eye to grasp growth opportunities, manage risks, and improve operational efficiency. To make the IT-business link strong is to enable the IT team and make them think through the business world while working on the solutions. This is a small step but a much-needed move! IT should be more integration focused rather than re-inventing the wheel with most custom development that takes place, to break through IT systems bottlenecks. IT needs to integrate varying applications and enable workflows between them. The ultimate business goal for IT integration is to maximize the value from existing IT systems and the need for better business performance and responsiveness. Be cautious about pitfalls here. Integration can be very difficult, costly and hard to justify the ROI. Each "integration" effort can spin off into a chain reaction that may not be recognized until the budget is gone. Therefore, it has to be done with a “big picture” - the business architecture in mind that supports business strategy and objectives such as revenue growth, margin improvement, and customer satisfaction.

The business risk/exception management: We live in an era of information abundance but insight scarcity, full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, and ambiguity. The result is the higher risk of conflict and inertia, not something the organization wants in a dynamic business environment that demands innovation, speed, responsiveness, and flexibility to succeed. In the IT organizations running at an industrial speed, traditional CIOs have tried to reduce technology and IT risk as much as possible, with a risk avoidance mentality, it may also lose some opportunity to grow the business. Technically, most of today’s risk and risk management is reserved for huge and costly endeavors. The problem with this is that poor decision-making that lack of risk awareness creates more blind spots uncovered and gaps unfilled. At the age of digitalization, opportunities and risks are coexisting, the CIO needs to make an objective evaluation of the IT organization's effectiveness and take a periodic risk assessment. When they shift from a 'risk-avoidance' to a 'risk management' & risk intelligence mentality, they weight risk, and reward, take prudent risks and find ways to mitigate risk rather than eliminate it. With “VUCA” digital new normal, risk management should be a key component of decision-making. A digital mind with risk intelligence can naturally and skillfully apply risk-based thinking for almost every discipline of IT management, including people management, financial management, asset management, reputation management, customer relationship management, organizational structure design, product or service development and so on.

IT becomes the decisive success factor for the business’s long-term perspective. IT can be a "pioneering" division to walk the talk and lead the change within the organization for harnessing communication and collaboration. To truly reach the premium IT management, CIOs have to reach out horizontally to their business peers, be able to reinvent IT by developing a digital framework for mixing all structural components to business competency for improving IT performance, innovation, and maturity systematically.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 12/13/2018

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with 5200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight of digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

The Digital Metaphor: How to Grow a Digital Business Like a Vegetable Garden A digital organization is a living business which is organic, alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, and innovative, in the relationship with its environments. Metaphorically, Running a digital organization is like to grow a vegetable garden, where each capability is a different type of vegetable growing in the garden. What you want, is the right mix of productive plants to match your culinary needs. From designing a landscape to nurturing an environment, there are both art and science to either grow a garden or run a digital business.

The Digital Boardroom Dilemmas? Corporate board as one of the most important top leadership teams plays a significant role in overseeing strategies, leading changes and driving digital transformation. The real boardroom dilemma is that driving the business forward is extremely difficult. That means looking into an unknown future and attempting to define the landscape with risks and opportunities. The digital directors today need to understand things and circumstance in a holistic way, ask themselves and others deep questions, to ensure they can deal with leadership dilemmas and handle digital new normal wisely.

The Popular Quotes about CIO Leadership in “Digital Master” Series 2018 "Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (26+ books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about CIO leadership and digital IT.

The Monthly “IT Innovation” Book Tuning: Making Some New Twists to Reinvent IT Dec. 2018 Within abundant information and emergent digital technologies, IT is a key component of holistic business mindsets to re-imagine “what is possible” - unleashing business potentials and improving business efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and maturity. The art of possible to reinvent IT in the digital age is to deliver the value of information in helping businesses grow, delight customers and doing more with innovation.

Does Confidence Enforce Creativity Being innovative is a state of mind, To be an innovator, an individual's creative mentality, proactive attitudes, the blend of knowledge and ingenuity, and the right dose of confidence are all valid within the context of his or her creative intelligence. Confidence is simply about believing in yourself, how does confidence enforce creativity?

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Popular Quotes about CIO Leadership in “Digital Master” Series III 2018

Be grateful to understand others and be understood.

"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (26+ books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about CIO leadership and digital IT.



22 “The digital CIOs are mindful, not necessarily over-thinking, but imaginative, inquisitive, and innovative.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

23 “Digital management is responsible for designing, enabling, and enforcing a collaborative, innovative, intelligent, inspiring and inclusive working environment.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

24 “A digital CIO has to be a digital visionary, a transformational leader; an empathetic communicator; a good facilitator, a great listener, and an excellent digital game changer.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

25 “Digital transformation is “pushed” by both visible forces and invisible forces; hard forces and soft forces from multiple directions.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

26 “IT shouldn’t be the afterthought of the business because technology is often the disruptive force.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

27 “Leadership is not a setting-hour work, but a continuous self-awareness, self-motivation, and self-mastery journey.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practice

28 “The companies that are working to bridge the insight gap will be the most successful businesses going forward.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

29 “Continual Improvement” is the IT mantra in the digital era.”
― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

Five Forces of Digital Innovation

Innovation is what leads to differentiation. There need to be both “hard” and “soft,” visible and invisible forces to drive innovation management.

The emergence of potential opportunities for exploring digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. Change at the digital age is coming at seemly a much faster pace, more potential disruptions, with a broader scope, scale, and impact on the business’s surviving and thriving. Winning the digital dynamic means engaging creative thinking, enforcing cross-functional collaborations, building unique business competencies such as innovation. Innovation is essentially an intentional novelty bringing sustainable benefit. Here are five forces of digital innovation.

The business system: The highly innovative companies usually have the powerful innovation navigation system involves tapping the business ecosystem for collective perspective and integrating critical business elements such as people, process, and technology into innovation competency. They can connect the key resources or assets in the vicinity and context to the information and resource-rich hubs or clusters across the business ecosystem. The digital organizations are in fact more dynamic and nimbler business system, which is a collection of hyper-connected and interdependent subsystems. The degree of business responsiveness and innovativeness depends on how those subsystems interact with each other, and those interactions can be structural, technical, informational, or human.

Information Technology: Innovation happens at the intersection point of people and technology. Information is one of the most time intensive pieces of the innovation puzzle, more advanced technologies bring unprecedented opportunities for people and businesses to change, innovate and figure out the better ways to do things. Information & Technology is the key ingredients of the business solutions and assets that can be applied in new and different ways to generate massive business value. Organizations can become more effective in executing innovative ideas by leveraging powerful digital platforms and technologies, harnessing cross-functional collaboration and continuous improvement. Information & Technology also plays a crucial role in creating a disciplined and managed space for developing and testing new models, products, and business approaches.

Structure: Ideally, the digital organizational structure needs to break down silos, be solid enough to “keep things in order,” but also fluid enough to interact with the expanded digital ecosystem seamlessly. The physical organizational structure, relationships, virtual platforms, and social connections wrap around each other to ensure ownership and responsibility, smoothly information and idea flow,  as well as employee engagement and empowerment. Logically, breaking down silos and being intentional about developing business processes that encourage cross-functional communication and collaboration and enforcing business flexibility and innovation. New generations of digital technologies such as social platform or other collaboration tools are enabling not only the structured processes of the past but also the unstructured processes of the hyperconnected digital enterprise to improve business collaboration and speed. Limited hierarchy works best in a creative environment where the free flow of ideas and their prompt implementation is a key element of improving digital innovation success.

Customer: One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is how well it can delight customers by “doing more with innovation.” People-centric innovation means that you have to involve customers and different stakeholders, listen to their feedback, involve them in both idea generation and process implementation. The customer including prospects should be studied and observed. Customers should always be involved, but not be the main or the only driver behind the innovation process. Gain a deep understanding of them through empathy and observation by taking a more inductive approach as to what the customer wants to accomplish "next." This is where pro-active listening is very important and becomes the vital link in innovation management efforts. To put simply, people should be the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for innovation process and accomplishment.

Culture: Culture is the melting pot to inspire creativity. Culture is the collective mindset, attitude, and how things get done in the organization. Culture is invisible but powerful. A creative team should have the cogitative difference and diversified worldview and the culture of inclusiveness. Many believe there is no innovation without diversity in the age of abundant information, rapid changes, and hyperconnectivity. Diversity is not something you need to plan for. It is a basic reality of the modern digital world that needs to be better understood and well orchestrated. In fact, at team setting, collective creativity or creative culture is only achieved through the diversity of thoughts. Highly creative people in the team or across the teams are almost accidentally collaborating, clarifying, building on each other's ideas, discovering nuances and unexpected relationships, and so on. All of which enriches the thinking and contributes to a fabulously rich innovative output.

Innovation is what leads to differentiation. There need to be both “hard” and “soft,” visible and invisible forces to drive innovation management. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. The ultimate business goal is to unlock latent expertise, scale innovation effort, amplify digital impact, and streamline business flow across the business ecosystem.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Monthly “The Change Agent CIO” Book Tuning: Reboot IT to Get Digital Ready Dec. 2018

Digital CIOs need to be proactive, visible, and influential, get out of the comfort zone and have to become the change agents to walk the talk effortlessly.

Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. This is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. A digital transformation is achieved via dynamic Strategy-Execution-Change lifecycle management, though it is not all linear steps, but an iterative, ongoing and upgoing change continuum.


Change in and of itself is never the reason. Change is an ongoing business capability. Change Management needs to be a mechanism embedded in the multitude of IT management. Digital CIOs need to be proactive, visible, and influential, get out of the comfort zone and have to become the change agents to walk the talk effortlessly. How to Reboot IT to Get Digital Ready and cultivate the culture of learning and innovating?
     

Reboot IT to Get Digital Ready


Rebooting IT to get Digital Ready Organizations are stepping into the deep digital normal with increasing speed of changes. Information is abundant, technology is pervasive. Never before has IT and business been so closely tied together, never before has technology moved more quickly and missteps have larger trajectory impacts on every aspect of the business. Therefore, CIOs play the crucial role in leading changes as they continue to be put on the front line. They need to deal with constant ambiguity and digital disruptions for rebooting IT to get digital ready.

“Thinkingaire Effect” in IT Transformation: Reboot IT Mindset IT plays a significant role in digital transformation. IT transformation is an integral part of the business transformation. There are changes in two shapes: One is internal where IT transforms and the second where IT helps transform or change the business in line with new strategic imperatives. Transformation is the radical change, IT needs to reboot its mindset before it can change its attitude, and build the set of capabilities to drive digital transformation.

Tough Choice for IT: Change the Name, or Reboot Mindset IT is being treated as a cost-to-be-controlled for years -It may be reasonable because many IT organizations are seen as IT help desk to keep light on, or simply cannot give a fair accounting of where the money is going in terms of business capability or, more importantly, directly identifying the business value -- which leads to an inability for IT to its value to the lines-of-business. However, with business across sectors moving from industry speed to digital speed, IT becomes so pervasive and critical, information is the lifeblood of the organization, and IT is business’s “digital brain”; many companies started with marketing driven, then finance driven, consumer-driven, lately become IT driven. Can IT really be a game changer to drive business growth? Should the name then reflect the IT contributions and have people aware of the criticality of its value?

Nine Perspectives to RE-Imagine IT Outside in & Retool IT Inside Out In today's digital business environment, information is the lifeblood, and technology touches every phase of the business. However, the majority of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of maturity and running in the industrial mode as a cost center and commodity service provider. How to reimagine IT’s unleashed potential, rebrand IT’s tarnished image and retool IT in a systematic way?

Setting Principles and Initiating Next Practices to Reboot IT It is the end of the year, also the time for the digital CIO leaders reimagine and reinvent IT for digital ready: What is the IT role in your company? Are you there to just keep the lights on, or is IT expected to actively take part in strategic and tactical decisions? How to set principles, develop the next practices,...

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.


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The New Book "The Change Agent CIO: The CIO's Dynamic Role of Leading Digital Transformation" Introduction

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter 1 The Digital CIO as Change Agent

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction  Chapter 2 The Pervasive Change and Digitalization

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter 3 The Digital IT Change Agenda

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter IV The Digital IT Change Practices

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter V IT Innovation and Intrapreneurship

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter VI: The Digital Change Agent

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter VII Avoid Pitfalls to Run Dynamic Digital IT

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter VIII Play the Number Game Wisely

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Quote Collection I

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Quote Collection II

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Quote Collection III

Creative Competency

Creativity seems to be the free flow of life force energy and it is a wellspring we can learn to tap. 

Creativity is a contextualized competency. Creativity comprises a combination of “flavored ingredients” that work together, flow, fluctuate in harmony, in order to generate creative energy. You can pull it out of the box and look at it through different lenses. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity, but how does creativity manifest itself, and what’re critical components of shaping creative competency?




Creative intelligence: Creativity is both innate and an intelligence. Creativity is the ability to solve or attempt to problems. People who can solve problems in a new way are innovators. Thus, creativity is a mental process which results in an action that tests a possible solution. Creativity has two parts: The spark of inspiration which plants a new concept, and then the building of a structure of associations and relationships between that "seed" concept. The associations and relationships are what turn the spark into an expressible idea, and if we are lucky, a useful idea. Creativity is about thinking beyond conventional wisdom, or the “Out of Box” thinking. It is also a high-level intelligence because creativity evolves different dimensions of thinking and the multitude of thought processes such as association, perspective shifting, divergent thinking, etc.

Creative attitude and aptitude: As the ability to think and produce, creativity requires a certain degree of independence and mental balance, the proper psychological level of inner security, positive attitude, and genuine autonomy. To be an innovator, an individual's creative mentality, proactive attitudes, the blend of knowledge and ingenuity, and the right dose of confidence are all valid within the context of his or her creative intelligence. Creative attitude and aptitude are important because innovators are truth-seeking, willing to change their views and are accountable for their actions. Further, they are robust and judicious in pushing down barriers to achieve the best possible effects. Often, the psychology stops you from being creative is the ‘fear of failure.’ The failure can be redefined as "Not TRYING." If you don’t try, then you fail. The most important element is the attitude put to increase the chance of generating creative ideas, tolerate risks and be confident to move the ideas forward.

Creativity practices: Creative people use specific systems, thought processes, and continuous practices to be creative. Creative people leverage emergent, divergent, and convergent thought processes to ignite creativity. You need to have the level of curiosity, desire to learn, observe, with the natural ability to maintain an open and inquisitive mind. Creatives always ask open questions which lead to discovering situations others do not see at first. The essential to questioning stimulates the creative side of our brains in order to find answers. Our minds have access to both conscious thoughts and at times unconscious thought. It is a conscious mind we call with some unconscious activities of allowing creativity flow. People who thrive as creative problem-solvers have developed a series of habits to connect the dots effortlessly and trigger creativity frequently.

Creativity seems to be the free flow of life force energy and it is a wellspring we can learn to tap. Creativity is the serendipity which can be puzzled. There is no template which you can apply and suddenly become super creative, it takes mind-crafting, risk-taking attitude, and continuous practices to build creative competency.

The Digital Management Formula

Digital Management = Goal + Principle + Process + Practice + Training + Metrics

The digital paradigm has many dimensions, with hyperconnected nature and many moving pieces. The digital management is a hybrid and holistic discipline with many mixed parts. It consists of the interlocking function of making corporate policies, organizing, planning, controlling, and directing the organization’s resources in order to achieve the objectives of that policy. The breadth and depth of digital management include people (skills and capability), process ((workflow, process effectiveness, and efficiency), the organizational structure design, technology update, knowledge transfer, and performance evaluation. Although there is no such a one-size-fits-all digital management formula, still, here are a few important management components to explore and exploit digital to improve business maturity.

Goals: Strategic Planning by definition is translating the company vision into broadly defined goals or objectives which are the achievable components to focus on an organization’s strategic management and ensuring your organization is oriented correctly upon them. It provides an effective tool for leadership to clearly articulate the business objectives to their workforce, their investors, other key stakeholders and guide positive improvement over time. Digital leaders should always stay focusing on the big picture of the business, leverage and prioritize, ensure that the business execution is on the right track to achieve well-defined goals. The relevant business goal setting helps a senior leader keep a pulse on progress and helps the execution team understand what needs to be done with priority in mind, as well as respond to emerging business issues with speed, without getting lost or burning out.

Principle: Setting guiding principles helps digital leaders provide greater clarification of mission/vision/ strategy at a more detailed level. Setting guiding principles is not to manipulate “how,” but to clarify “why” - the guiding principles frame the right questions to ask, not just about searching answers only. It’s not easy for a set of principles defined that can be applied holistically - their content contains natural conflict, and without a method of prioritizing and implementing them consistently, they become a source of contention. Thus, there needs to be a pragmatic way of applying whatever principles to the problem in a consistent manner, otherwise, it is a waste of effort to even state them. The guiding principles should cover the people, performance, and quality from a holistic perspective, such as: Make sure your customer wins. Learn something of value every day. Focus on execution and results when innovating ideas. Etc.

Process: The process management effectiveness and efficiency directly impact strategy management success and business performance. Traditional organizational management with siloed processes often causes bureaucracy which is criticized for its inflexibility, inefficiency, silo, stagnation, unresponsiveness, or lack of innovation. Strong business processes have a better chance to deliver a better result. The reality in most organizations though is the process which is forcibly jammed within an existing organizational design. The goal-driven business process is primarily defined prior to process implementation. A hybrid organizational structure and process management can bring greater awareness of the intricacies and the systemic value of digital organizational systems, processes, people dynamics, technology, resource allocation, and economies of scale, etc. Business leaders should get a deep understanding of issues facing businesses today, building transparent problem-solving processes and making continuous improvement. Creative and knowledge workers demand broader flexibility to be creative and to problem-solving. The digital computing technology enables seamless collaboration by mixing both virtual platform and physical interactions, hybrid processes, encourage broader conversations and interactions within its business ecosystem.

The best practice and training: The best practice is not a “one size fits all” formula. Every organization needs to develop a set of customized practices for the specific situation and challenges that are faced and that actually requires different priorities as compared to others. These practices might be different across organizations, across departments, and affiliates within an organization and can change over time. When the enterprise is at risk of being defeated by smaller, nimbler, more innovative competitors, and then, the silos’ owners understand it is for their own benefit to collaborate and build “horizontal” organizational interdependencies and develop the best and next practices to achieve better time to market and build the unique business competency. Training is also important, you need to first define the business competencies required to achieve your organizational goals at a technical/functional level, behavioral and attitudinal, core competencies including values, the generic and foundation skills/training that affect all employees, the management and leadership competencies.

Metrics: Measurement is part of management. The performance measure setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of the organization as a whole, not just the individual or the team’s performance. The organization that didn’t have a systematic approach to measurement and analysis at both the strategic and operational level has a giant blind spot that is impairing their performance and business effectiveness. The peril of measurement management such as the wrong metrics selection or ineffective measurement practices perhaps causes management conflicts or resource misalignment. The usual argument about measurement is being what you want to provide a service at the lowest possible cost, both in terms of acquisition cost and ongoing "care and feeding." But keep in mind, the digital management cost-benefit analysis is multifaceted, it is flawed if only economic costs and benefits are considered.

Digital management is both science and art. The traditional linear management practices working in the considerably static industrial organizations are simply not sufficient to manage the "VUCA" digital new normal. Interdisciplinary science can be applied to digital management which involves applied Science (Engineering), Art (Design), principle (Philosophy), Cognition (Psychology), Social norms (Culture) and group behavior (Sociology), etc. The scientific part of management helps to set the policy, guidelines, structure, and methods to achieve business effectiveness and efficiency. The art of management will take the more crucial role in change management, innovation management, talent management and beyond in order to lead the business’s digital transformation seamlessly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Monthly Foresight: Running an Ultra-Modern Digital Organization Dec. 2018

The true digital advancement is about QUALITY, DELIGHT, SIMPLICITY, BRIGHTNESS, and INTELLIGENCE.

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? How to run ultra-modern organization leading to the digital future effortlessly?
            

Running an Ultra-Modern Digital Organization

Three Aspects to Build an Ultra-Modern Digital Organization: The digital paradigm shift means radical change and leapfrog progress. It represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with its people, and fine-tune innovation as its major theme. The goal is to build an ultra-modern digital organization that has both clear digital vision and well-crafted digital strategy, accelerate business performance and maximize business potential via a systematic approach.

Three Insight about Digital ADVANCEMENT? Human history is an evolutionary journey to keep advancing economically, technologically, and sociologically. Advancement is about forward-thinking, progress, improvement, fresh knowledge, modernization while the opposite of advancement is primitivity, outdated concept/tradition, static mindset, negative behavior, etc. The modern society is a dynamic continuum with collective human progress. Real societal advancement is made through the work of progressive minds, update knowledge, and progressive activities. When the world is catching up with the most advanced mindsets, stepping into the further-looking perspective, aligned with a positive attitude, fitting into the new digital dynamic, and integrating into upward movements, it makes a LEAP of collective human progress. The true digital advancement is about QUALITY, DELIGHT, SIMPLICITY, BRIGHTNESS, and INTELLIGENCE.

Building an Ultramodern Board to Lead Digital Transformation At today’s “VUCA” digital dynamic, organizations face both unprecedented opportunities to grow and hyper-competition or great risks to survive. Therefore, the corporate board as the top leadership team and governance body should become the advanced mastermind behind the digital transformation, to envision, inspire, influence, and innovate. Because the substances of leadership are all about vision, change, positive influence, and progression. The spirit comes from the top, an ultra-modern board can amplify leadership influence, advance the digital management mentality and lead digital transformation seamlessly.

Three Aspects to Run an “Ultra-Modern” IT Organization? We live in an information-enriched and the technology-empowered world, Every day more and more technologies affect the way we think, live, and work. Great opportunities, dangers, and disruptions are around every corner. However, many IT organizations seem to have a tendency to align with the slow changing parts of the organization, act as a controller, not an enabler. In order to make a leap of digital transformation, IT must become the strategic partner of the business, the trendsetter of the business advancement, and the catalyzer of the digital transformation. Here are three aspects to run an “ultra-modern” IT organization.

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s Advancement People are always the most invaluable asset in businesses. “Hiring the right person for the right position at the right time,” is the mantra of many forward-thinking organizations. The advancement of an organization depends on how advanced its people are. But how can you assess people’s advancement? Is it only based on the advanced degree they got, an advanced title they hold? Or is it because they can play the latest gadgets or wear fashionable outfits? What are the right questions to lead thought-provoking understanding about the advancement of an individual, or an overall society?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.