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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As” Book Tuning: What’s the Top Priority of the Digital Boardroom Aug. 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 is the monthly “Digital Boardroom” summary of the digital board’s leadership inquiries.


  What's the Top Priority of the Digital Boardroom

What’s The #1 Pick of the Board Function Business management and governance are interdependent disciplines to keep businesses move towards the right direction with the proper speed. Governance is like a steering wheel, comprises six elements: culture, values, leadership, resource allocation, strategy, and controls. The first two are intangible but are reflected in the choice of leadership, approval of how resources are allocated, approval of what strategies are pursued to convert those resources into stakeholder value, and controls that foster conformance with culture, values, allocation of resources and strategy. The board as one of the most significant governance bodies, if you had to choose one and only one function of a corporate board of directors, what is the single most important function/role?

Five Focal Points of Digital Board RoomThe modern corporate board plays a significant role in guiding the business in the right direction and achieve the expected business result. Due to the complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, and volatility of the digital age, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build the ability to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goal. Here are the five focal points via the length of the digital boardroom.

How to Build a High-Performing Board Corporate Board plays a significant role in overseeing organizational strategy, practicing governance and exemplifying leadership disciplines. However, most of the boards still operate on a traditional approach to recruiting for expertise and executing its function; what’s the paradigm shift in building a high-performing Board, and how to create the synergy, trust, and confidence of BoDs?

A Prioritizing Board with Digital savvy BoDs? The board in a high-level leadership position plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key digital tones in leadership quintessential and talent management. The board needs to retain the ability to capture immediate and future opportunities which will enhance their shareholders’ benefit. And the board has to spread their thin time schedule on the variety of important things. Digital is about the change with the accelerating speed and the abundance of information (often the scarcity of insight), how to build a “prioritizing Board” with digital-savvy BoDs?

Conformance vs. Performance: What’s Board’s Priority Corporate Board is one of the most important governance bodies to oversee strategy and enforce GRC disciplines. Many directors think that the role of the director is conformance. The underlying question is actually fundamental: What is corporate governance, when is it necessary and how should it work? Conformance vs. Performance, which is more important for the Corporate Board? Is it possible that companies are burdening the boards with so many different tasks that the main task and focus of the board, which is to create long-term profitable companies, will be inundated by all other types of issues?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4800+ 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 to human progression.

The "Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As" Slideshare Presentation

The "Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As" Chapter V Introduction: The Digital Board's Leadership Inquiries

The New Book “Digital Hybridity” Chapter IV Introduction: The Hybrid Digital Management

The digital paradigm has many dimensional, it is like to solve a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces, easy to get lost when trying to capture the big picture. Digital Management is a hybrid and holistic discipline with mixed management styles for managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working and running a high performance and high mature digital organization.

Transactional/transformational digital competency: To reach the high digital vision, businesses have to build a healthy digital capability portfolio with the balance of transactional capacity for “keeping the lights on,” and the transformative capability for lifting the organization to the upper level of business maturity. The transactional or operational capability usually makes only minor adjustments to the organizational structure and management. It often takes the linear stops of tuning the business to ensure it keeps spinning. However, the transformational capability is the game changer. It creates something new out of something old, helps the business reach the new horizon out of an old vision. It can evoke fundamental evolutions in the basic political and cultural systems of the organization for achieving the high-performance business results. Thus, digital organizations today have to strike the right balance of being transactional to keep spinning and being transformational to make a leap.

Innovation management & rule setting: Innovation is doing something better than it currently is. It’s a mindset, process, and the strategic business competency today. It has to strike the right balance of breaking down some outdated rules but setting a level of rules and guidelines. Innovation challenges the status quo and that is important for a healthy and innovative organization. Too rigid rules will stifle creativity. However, being unruly incurs risk, you should set the updated digital principles for managing innovation and mitigating risks. To get the best results, you need to structure the creative process. An organization that has a lightweight process which allows creativity and innovation to flow, get protected, channeled and nurtured will succeed more often than those that do not have such as process. The rigorous innovation structures are supported by the right policies and programs. The process to support the creation of sustainable and systematic innovation can be structured, but innovation management is a holistic management discipline which requires effective leadership, risk-tolerance culture, well-established framework, a set of updated rules, the lightweight processes and a series of best and next practices.

The “push and pull” forces of digital transformation:
Running a high-performance digital business is no longer a single dimensional effort to apply cool technologies or focus on short-term profitability only, it’s a multidimensional management discipline to embed digital into every core business process and build differentiated business competency. It’s about how to leverage the opposite business forces of “push and pull” for adapting to changes and orchestrating the full-fledged digital transformation. Organizations have to push themselves out of the comfort zone, but also pull all critical business elements to form the unique business competency. Motivation usually has both “push and pull” factors. You are pushed to get out of the comfort zone, and you pull all important resources together for moving forward. Through all necessary “push and pull,” “bend over and stretch out,” the organization can strike the right balance and achieve the premium state of the business.

The hybrid digital management can bring greater awareness of the intricacies and the systemic value of organizational systems, processes, people dynamics, technology, resource allocation, and economies of scale., etc. It is important to break through the industrial constraints and limitations, set the right balance of old and new, in pursuit of possibilities rather than impossibilities, to drive changes and accelerate digital transformation.

The Digital Profiles of “Change Agent” CIOs

Due to the disruptive nature of technologies and the exponential growth of information, IT plays a crucial role in driving changes and leading digitalization. Therefore, the digital CIO is not a static management position, but a dynamic leadership role. Digital CIOs have to keep evolving and play the situational leadership all the time. The expectations for CIO have grown multi-fold. The success of IT leadership has to do with the definitions or scope of the role that the CIO is playing. Here is a set of change agent CIO profiles.

The digital forerunner CIO: Compared to the business world a couple of decades ago, the speed of change is increasing, and the digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic. Clearly, the role of IT and that of the CIO is going through some significant changes. CIOs need to be the change agent to step into the void of digital leadership. Many forward-looking organizations empower their CIOs as forerunners to drive changes and lead digital transformation at the organizational level. Because CIOs are in the unique position to oversee the business and integrate key business elements such as people, process, and technology to the differentiated organizational competency. Change is difficult, some say, change is not a problem, the primary reason for change failure is resistance to change while the second reason is the inability of leaders to deal with resistance. Work-changing acts need to be delivered together with a positive emotional charge. The CIO shouldn’t get pushed for the changes, they are actually in a better position to play a role as a change agent who can help to build the digital workplace in which effective digital platforms and tools are leveraged to make change seamlessly and inspire innovation.

The digital gap-minder CIO: The digital CIO is the gap-minding role as IT is in the unique position to oversee underlying business functions and structures. Digital IT plays an omnipresent role in catalyzing business digital transformation by leveraging internal and external resources, integrating business processes, enabling, innovating, and optimizing the consumer-driven technology that’s going viral in the enterprise. Traditional IT often acts as the technology controller, but to move up the organizational maturity, a gap-minder CIO needs to forge a harmonized relationship with business users, partners, and shareholders and add multidimensional business value to the company. The choice of what would deliver value requires an understanding of the business. IT leaders have to look at things from all different angles, bridge the multitude of gaps between business and IT through building peer to peer executive relationship with functional management, leverage IT unique knowledge, and use this knowledge to uncover hidden value, not only within IT but benefit the entire organization.

The digital energizer CIO:
The classic organizational management usually enhances silos and bureaucracy by taking the reductionistic management discipline (the whole is equal to the sum of pieces) to deal with overly rigid organizational structure hierarchy. As a result, businesses get stuck in stagnation, lack of responsiveness and changeability. IT plays a crucial role in energizing the digital business, to make sure that information and interaction flow in every direction, digitizing the enterprise platform for idea brainstorming and collaboration enablement. An open information platform blurs functional, geographical, or even industrial borders, enables companies to integrate the critical components of a smart platform, which is “open” not only because it allows information exchange, idea flow, and participant involvement but also because it ensures that interdependencies and loyalties between partners are taken into account and build up the trustful business relationship. Keep an open mind and keep positive energy flow, cool down stressed people before they stress others. It is important to create positive change for tomorrow as well as the moment. The digital energizer CIO can help to build up trust by bonding people around clear and benevolent intentions. When there is an interchange of thoughts, we begin accepting and opening to newness and transforming to change and innovate together for achieving the common goals and reach the digital vision.

The culture-shaper CIO: Business has fundamental pillars such as People, Process, Technology. The role of digital CIO is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all digital aspects together to enforce the value creation. Digital CIOs are “designed for changes,” they are the change agents to promote the culture of learning and innovation, less finger-pointing, more problem-solving. IT plays a significant role in shaping the organization’s culture by applying the latest technologies to empower employees working creatively and productively, and enable cross-functional communication and collaboration. Culture can powerfully reinforce the competitive advantage a generic strategy seeks to achieve if it is an appropriate one. Being digital-ready goes beyond applying the latest technologies only, it is an overarching approach to building a set of digital cultures and taking a series of systematic step-wise practices. Creating and maintaining the right corporate culture is in itself a competency.

The digital guardian:
Information and technology play a crucial role in catalyzing changes nowadays, a digital CIO has to focus on guiding the company through the digital transformation and create unique business value by sharing a clear technological vision, making wise IT investments, and delivering the tailored IT-enabled business solution. The digital CIO is the scientific digital guardian, not a charismatic prophet. Digital CIOs should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, as well as how it might be missing out on opportunities due to low responsiveness caused by bureaucracy, information bottlenecks, or the limitations on understanding of disruptive technological trend and knowledge update. IT is the significant element of any differentiated business competency and the defining factor of the business success. Digital CIOs need to share the technological vision and help C-level leaders understand the potential of the business and the possibilities of how new technologies can enhance the creation or improvement of products and services while balancing the technical and business risks, the budget and resource investment, for steering the organization into the uncharted water confidently.

Change is the voyage which needs to continually discover its own landscape, avoid the potential pitfalls and enjoy the unprecedented scene of the digitalization. Today’s technology enables companies to leverage their various environments or ecosystems, to chase innovation and accelerate performance. The CIO's real challenge is how you can move the ‘needle’ forward, and really mind the digital gap to accelerate your organization’s digital transformation. Digital CIOs should develop the enriched digital profiles and fit the title as the change agent.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection & “Digital IT” Tuning: The CIO’s “Big WHY” Debates for IT Change & Innovation Aug. 2018

Debating is not for stimulating conflicts, but for brainstorming better ways to do things.

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. DHere are the monthly CIO debates collections.

The CIO’s “Big WHY” Debates for IT Change & Innovation

Why Has IT Been Perceived as the ‘Weakest Link’? IT plays a more important role in the digital transformation of the organization. It is the superglue to connect both the hard elements of the business such as processes, platforms, technologies and soft elements of the organization such as information, knowledge, culture and integrate them into a set of business capabilities, which underpin the business strategy. However, there is the perception gap between IT looks at itself and the business perceives IT. IT is often seen itself as a business enabler and change agent, but business often thinks that IT is slower to change and even be one of the “weakest links” for the business transformation. So why is IT not getting enough respect despite all good work and huge efforts were undertaken? Where does it link to improve IT brand? To deal with such a "He said, she said" dilemma: What are the different perspectives from each party, how to integrate them into a holistic IT view and reinvent the tarnished IT reputation?

Why Is so Hard for Running IT “Out of the Comfort Zone” Technology is pervasive, information is growing exponentially. Business transformation or change initiatives today nearly always involves some form of information and technology. All forward-thinking organizations across the industries claim they are in the information management business. To adapt to the increasing speed of changes, organizations have to be more nimble about updating technology and managing information effectively. Hence, IT organizations today can no longer get stuck at the lower level of maturity to keep the lights on only or get struggling to make an alignment with the business. Digital IT organization must get “out of the comfort zone,” to explore better ways of running IT as a trusted business partner, proactive change agent, and hyper-connected innovation hub. "Continual improvement" is the IT mantra in the digital era.

Why is the CIO Struggling to Build IT Reputation as a Better Business Partner? Many IT organizations are at transformation journey, from an industrial model to digital leap; from a cost center to value-added; from 'T'-technology-driven to 'I'-Information focus, from alignment to engagement. But more specifically, how shall IT leaders run IT as a better business partner??

Why is IT so Reluctant to Look at itself? With the rate of change is accelerated, it’s very important for contemporary organizations to continually do “self-reflection’ upon the business effectiveness, process efficiency, strength and risks, culture, and brand etc. IT is a critical component of the business, commonly IT self-evaluation ability is a reflection on overall business culture within the whole organization. Some say IT is so reluctant to look at itself, is it true?

Why is So Critical for Running IT as a Change Agent
In the industrial age, IT is often perceived as the department which is slow to change, acts as a controller only, and gets stuck at the lower level of maturity. However, nowadays, with increasing speed of change and exponential growth of information, IT is like the business's digital engine, CIOs are accountable for critical part of the business that is constantly changing and evolving and IT is also in a position to dig through underlying functions and processes of the businesses. Therefore, it is imperative to speed up IT and run it as a change organization of the business for accelerating digital transformation.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 4800+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. 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.

Amazon Book Order List

The New Book “Digital Hybridity” Chapter 3 The Hybrid Thinking Introduction

Hybrid Thinking is not just another digital “buzzword,” but a set of the digital minds integrating the multiple thought processes to think big, think deeper, think broader, and think critically.

The digital business is perceived as the future of the organization within the hybrid, networked, and extended modern working environment to empower workforce communication, sharing thoughts and ideas, engaging customers and partners to voice their concerns and feedback, and encouraging broader conversations and interactions with the business ecosystem. Therefore, digital leaders and professionals should learn how to leverage hybrid thinking which is a set of interdisciplinary and integrative thinking processes to manage a smooth digital paradigm shift by solving many of today’s complex problems that require strategic consideration, system intelligence, innovative approaches, and interdisciplinary understanding.

The pair of critical thinking & creative thinking: Both critical thinking and creative thinking are vital in the digital workplace. In fact, for either to be effective, critical thinking and creative thinking are both important and must work in tandem. The more creative you are, the better you are at solving problems. However, creativity is stifled by business reality if you aren’t leveraging logic and critical thinking. In the digital setting with “VUCA’ characteristics, creativity and critical thinking shouldn’t only be the “privilege” of a small percentage of workers but need to become the mainstream digital thinking scenario. To build the culture of creativity, both are essential in today’s workforce seeing as to how the current economy demands the creative eye to look at things and discover new innovative ways to handle problems. In fact, critical thinking evolves deep thinking process usually with creative thinking embedded; creative thinking and critical thinking are two types of “out of the box” thinking to challenge conventional wisdom and bring up the new perspective for framing and solving problems.

The pair of systems Thinking & process thinking: Systems Thinking is how the whole system works together. A process is a smaller part of the larger system. Systems Thinking and Process Thinking are both purposeful. Process thinking is more focused and specific, while systems thinking is to see the interconnected whole. Many who believe they are process-thinkers believe that they are logical and they proceed in a logical progression. Many who believe they are systems thinkers, think of themselves as seeing the “bigger” picture, or the global outlook, as well as how their thinking may be based on a set of preordained principles. Therefore, process thinking is considered micro or focused on a specific perspective, whereas systems thinking could be considered macro or broad-based in nature. What is needed for problem-solving is to bridge the two perspectives - the process perspective and system perspective so that they can enhance each other for improving decision effectiveness and problem-solving capability.

The pair of divergent thinking and convergent thinking: Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Convergent thinking follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution that in some cases, is a “correct” solution. Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous and free-flowing matter, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion and explored in a short amount of time, so unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured by leveraging convergent thinking. Innovation, to a certain degree, the process to transform a novel idea to the business value, is a combination of divergent and convergent thinking, the systematic and synthetic processes.

Hybrid Thinking is not just another digital “buzzword,” but a set of the digital minds integrating the multiple thought processes to think big, think deeper, think broader, and think critically, etc, in solving complex problems and making tough decisions for leading changes and accelerating digital transformation.

How to Fine Tune the Digital Organizational Structure

The very characteristics of digital organizations are fluid, flexible, informative, autonomous,  hyperconnected, innovative, and people-centric.

Tuning the organizational design and structure to achieve the high level of autonomy is the symbol of the digital maturity. Majority of organizations are designed to improve functional efficiency in the industrial era. But digital masters move a few steps ahead, focus on shaping changeability, innovation, and people-centricity. However, the digital transformation won’t happen overnight, organizations need to have an in-depth understanding of gains and pains of organizational design and development, follow the digital principles to plan, experiment and scale up for improving strategic responsiveness and structural flexibility of their business.

Design the digital organization to enforce people-centricity: Traditional organizations are process-driven, but digital organizations are people-centric. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to new digital structures is the development level of the people. Thus, the digital workplace needs to be designed to help employees at all levels within an organization from top leaders to front-line employees unlock performance, unleash their potential, improve their productivity and employee satisfaction. Digital organizations need to continually fine-tune a successful structure, create a business context where people can collaborate where they are empowered and respected. Get encouraged to develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in innovative ways. So, part of the digital transformation journey is to prepare people for the new structures and to recognize increasing collective consciousness is a crucial step in order to drive changes. The challenge for any business is to fine-tune a successful structure that empowers their people, enforce iterative communication, harness cross-functional collaboration to deliver better business results and unleash the full digital potential of the organization.

Design the digital organization around information & technology: The overwhelming growth of information and emerging lightweight digital technologies permeate almost every corner of the business. Running an IT savvy real-time digital organizations means that companies should fine-tune their structures and design the digital business around information & technology in order to keep information flow, idea flow, and thus, business flow, and achieve business autonomy. Any business practice today is always a combination of people, process, and technology. IT is the linchpin for running a highly intelligent and innovative digital organization. IT needs to be embedded into the varying business functions and becomes part of the change mechanism. More importantly, IT is no longer an isolated supportive function, but a strategic business partner. The best way in which Change Management would help in a vertical sector, and would be tangible as well, would be to bring about technical changes in organizational design to reduce complications and optimize cost for achieving the tangible business value. Therefore, the future of organizational design should be fluid enough to streamline information flow and flexible enough to achieve business autonomy. With efficient digital social platforms and tools, organizations can break down functional silos, delaying becomes a lens through which it is possible to examine business responsiveness and effectiveness, and then fix many business issues which stifle changes and innovation, to enable the organization achieving the state of digital equilibrium.

Design the digital organizational structure to enable changes: The emerging digital era upon us is all about the exponential growth of information and rapid speed of changes. Therefore, today’s digital organizations need to be highly responsive, flexible, and self-adaptive to the dynamic environment. A changeable organization is to create an organization in which change is the new norm and happens the whole time, thereby delivering faster and increasing market share, and ultimately becomes the business competency. From the organizational structure and change management perspective, digital favors hybrid solutions. Organizations need to be solid enough (based on a systematic framework and the certain degree of the hierarchical structure) to “keep things in order,” but also fluid enough (based on delaying and hyperconnectivity) to interact with the expanded digital ecosystem seamlessly. The goal for optimized organizational design is to improve cross-functional communication, mass collaboration, and changeability. Ideally, the two structures - hierarchy and relationship structure wrap around each other to ensure high responsiveness and accountability. Ultimately, digital organizations are becoming more flexible, able to navigate changes and business complexity through creative problem-solving and innovation management practices.

The very characteristics of digital organizations are fluid, flexible, informative, autonomous,  hyperconnected, innovative, and people-centric. Tuning organizational structure, either managerial hierarchy or information flow structure is an easy part. The challenge is to have a harmonized vision about overall business capabilities and maturities in an organization and build a customized structure to accelerate business performance and unleash digital potential.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Popular Quotes about “IT Innovation” in “Digital Master” Book Series

Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (25+ books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, advises on how to run a digital IT organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide the insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of popular quotes about IT innovation in “Digital Master” book series.

48 “IT has to continue to evolve the digital dynamic and reinvent itself as an innovative game changer.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

49 “For IT, information management is fundamental, and innovation management is value-added.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

50 “Running IT with boldness doesn’t mean IT goes rogue, it means IT becomes more intelligent,”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

51 “As a CIO, you need to understand what the organization’s expectation from IT through innovation lenses.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

52 For IT, information management is fundamental, and innovation management is value-added.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

53The ultimate aim of assimilating knowledge is to create new ideas or gain wisdom.

Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity

54 Creativity is a synthesis of two qualities: imagination and concreteness.

Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity

55 “To strengthen the IT-business link, it takes more resource to do innovation, not just IT innovation, but business innovation.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

56 “A CIO as “Chief Intrapreneur Officer” has creative, logical, hybrid, and abstract thinking traits.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

57 “Only functioning as a whole brain, IT can strike the right balance between stability and agility; creativity and standardization; innovation and risk intelligence.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

58 “Innovation becomes simply “creating value by solving simple or complex problems.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

Digital Master refers to those high-performing, highly innovative and high-mature (less than 15%) digital organizations; they have both clear digital vision and well-crafted digital strategy; they are courageous to be in the vanguard of digital transformation with a quantum lead. But they also proactively develop more advanced and unique digital capabilities step-by-step and build a digital premium into their very foundation of business, such as digital thinking, culture, agility, intelligence, and structure, and they achieve high performing results through strong digital governance discipline and reach its zenith as the digital world continues to expand and diversify. At the individual level, Digital Masters are those cross-generational digital professionals who are equipped with the advanced digital minds and build a unique set of digital capabilities, climb to the top of Maslow’s Pyramid 2.0.

The New Book “Digital Hybridity” Chapter 2: The Portmanteau Words to Reflect Digital Reality

Organizations large or small, all face the unprecedented change, uncertainty, and accelerated business dynamic.

Digital organizations are the complex ecosystem with the blurring line between functions, organizations and geographic locations. Digitalization doesn’t mean to just tear down all the old things in the previous era. In reality, it means how to strike the right balance between the new way and the old way; the best and the next practices. Here is a set of portmanteau hybrid words to convey the digital management principles and practices in running a high mature digital organization.

Simplexity: Due to the “VUCA” nature of the digital era, business complexity is unavoidable. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of “nonlinear” interaction, complexity can be good or bad for businesses depending on their strategy and capability. There are needed complexity and unwanted complexity, the effective complexity management can provide opportunities to create inter-business value and differentiated business competency. To quote Albert Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” That manifests the true meaning of the hybrid word “simplexity.” To achieve simplicity, you would have to address the complexities of the subject matter. The art of digital management is not to complicate things, but to eliminate unnecessary complication. An organization achieves the state of digital equilibrium through its optimized management layers, resilient processes, and elastic capacity.

Folksonomy: Folksonomy is a portmanteau word and classification system determined by everyday people. It’s like taxonomy, only with “folks.” It’s people brainstorming together to open the new chapter of the digital economy through collective creativity and collaborative effort. Digital organizations can embrace the business with its dynamic ecosystem seamlessly; the borderless social platforms and efficient digital tools unleash the great potential for employees and business partners; even the competitors at certain circumstances collaborate and solve challenges facing the business and industry. Folksonomy can tap innovation potential, it can involve bringing in ideas from outside - from wider user-community to drive features and understand the value-in-use of products/services. It’s about ensuring that businesses have access to the maximum number of potentially good ideas for new innovative products development. The strong message behind folksonomy is that knowledge can be shared and creativity can be manifested in a collective environment.

Insighteer: Many say we still live in the age with information-rich but insight-poor. Insighteer is a portmanteau word to articulate the digital leader profile as an insightful pioneer. Too often people may take the easy path, tink and work at a superficial level or blindly follow others rather than spend the time on an understanding of what is going on underneath. Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context, and the root cause of a problem, or the core issues of a situation which leads to resolution. Insighteers are in demand because the modern businesses need to explore the better way to do things, experiment with fresh ideas and concepts, instill drive, passion, and enthusiasm, expand knowledge, and shape the culture of creativity. In dynamic digital business environments, insighteers are the critical role to envision the future trends and capture potential innovation opportunities, apply information and technology in new and innovative ways to stay ahead of competition and industry and lead the digital paradigm shift effortlessly.

Organizations large or small, all face the unprecedented change, uncertainty, and accelerated business dynamic. Keep things simple, encourage the culture of learning, empower inisighteer leaders or professionals who have determination, dedication, motivate, passion, to make a significant influence on leading change courageously.

Taking a Portfolio Approach to Going Digital

The challenge for organizations is to manage its portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic synergies and organizational interdependence. 

Digitalization is a radical change. The connectivity in a digital business setting will have more antennae focused on the emergent business trends and foresee what’s going to happen and well prepare for the tide of changes. The successful businesses are the ones that can manage change fluently in a structural way. The purpose to take a portfolio approach to go digital is to “run, grow, and transform business” accordingly.

Setting priority for benefiting the widest possible audience within your organization: Change is not for its own sake or busyness. Understanding the technology is one thing, understanding the impact of the change on the business is another thing entirely. Especially the large scale of changes has to fine-tune the underlying functions and structures, reinvent the business culture, and innovate the business management in order to create a paradigm. Thus, prioritization is critical for leveraging the limited resources and budget to maximize the business benefit. Digital leaders must go out and talk to customers and partners to understand their tastes and current or future needs. Digital transformation is the journey of continuous delivery and improvement, organizations need to do the regular review to ensure that the business has and continue to build a set of digital capabilities to manage change effectively. In the digital dynamic with “VUCA” new normal, the challenge is to prioritize what you know about, but also keep an eye open for things you don’t know about, the business management needs to be good at dynamic planning to keep adjusting, learning, iterating, and working on a rhythm of sustained delivery. Unless something new or unforeseen and game-changing is emerging during the execution, continuously change and improve in a prioritized order as long as it creates a long-term business advantage.

You're accepting risk for potential reward: The abundance of information and faster pace of changes brings unprecedented opportunities and risks to the organization today. Every opportunity has risks in it, and every risk could bring business opportunities as well. Thus, accept risks for the potential reward in the portfolio-based digital management. It’s important to make sound judgments and take the qualitative approach to manage risks. Both risk appetite and risk attitude are important for the business management to shift from risk mitigation to risk intelligence. The organizations are not always the one pay for the risk. Stakeholders ranging from investors to customers to ordinary citizens to business partners might all benefit or suffer from the risk attitude of a company. It’s management ability to communicate the extent to which it wants to take on risk relative to a specific business objective. Regardless of what methods or indicators are used, the key is to express risk in business terms that can really make an impact. From finance management perspective, set the digital management discipline, consider what capital you are prepared to risk in managing changes and transformation. The goal is to help the organization become super innovative and profitable, but also risk-intelligent and resilient.

You aren't sacrificing the long-term viability of the portfolio for short-term rewards: In the digital era with hyper-competition and continuous disruptions, digital leaders today must present that the organization is “playing to win,” not just trying not to lose. Standing still is already lagging behind. The focal point is to build the differentiated business competency and help the organization gain the long-term winning position. The challenge for the business management is that while there are both long-term and short-term goals for the business, far too often these goals are in opposition to each other. Thus, it is important to take a portfolio approach by striking the right balance of taking transformative initiatives for seeking opportunity and operating transactional activities for seeking continuity. Otherwise, the short-sightedness of organizational management for running the business in a transactional mode only can cause digital ineffectiveness in the long run. Since the rewards are highest for the short-term goals being met, the long-term goals tend to suffer. Organizations will become irrelevant sooner or later without long-term planning and capacity development.

The challenge for organizations is to manage its portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic synergies and organizational interdependence. Taking a portfolio approach to go digital needs to laser focus on the most important things and maintaining the delicate digital balance. The ultimate goal of running business either today or future is to achieve the high-performance business result and accelerate the high-level business maturity.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The New Book “Digital Hybridity” Introduction Chapter 1 The Hybrid Digital Organization

With the fast pace of changes, fierce competitions, and emerging digital technologies, companies large or small are brainstorming the next generation of organizational design, the next wave of digital changes, and the next step of business movement. The challenge facing business management will continue to be: “How to achieve the balance between “virtual worlds” and “human connection,” the “old way” and “new way” to do things; and how to shape a harmonized vision about business competency and build a customized business structure to enforce open communication and collaboration and run a hybrid digital organization.

Identifying the hybrid elements in running a digital organization: Digitalization doesn’t mean to just tear down all the old things in the previous era; in reality, digitalization means how to strike the right balance of stability and change, leadership decisiveness and collective insight; the best practices and the next practices. Hybridity is the digital fit style for managing a dynamic digital business which is hyperconnected, over-complex, with overloading information, unprecedented uncertainty, and continually evolving digital dynamic ecosystem. Taking the hybrid styles to make the leadership team’s thinking visible by using the democratic process of decision making will dramatically reduce or eliminate digital gaps and improve management effectiveness. From innovation management perspective, managing innovation requires leaders, either formal or informal to shepherd an idea through several phases of development, knowing when to move forward and when to return to an earlier phase. It’s hard to think of any innovation as not a hybrid combination of something old with something new or a number of new things. Nowadays, the reality of digital business is a hybrid nature of organization well mixing the virtual social platform with the physical functional structure to enforce cross-functional collaboration and dot-connecting innovation.

Managing the digital balance cycle effectively: The emergence of potential opportunities for exploring digitalization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern with exponential speed. Therefore, organizations must keep the lights on and make strategic movements all the time. Like running up to the string, keeping digital balance is critical in reaching high digital aptitude. On one side, digital leaders today must shape digital mindsets and have the right dose of risk appetite to prepare such a paradigm shift and accept that influence is attainable, but control is not. On the other side, keeping the lights on is still fundamental. The job for digital management is to bring the order from chaos and enables companies across the industries to leverage varying business elements to chase innovation and accelerate business performance through cross-functional communication and collaboration. Digital organizations and their people must learn through their interactions with the business environment. They apply their learning, act, observe the consequences of their action, make inferences about those consequences, and draw implications for future actions.

Leveraging the hybrid information technology management: IT plays a significant role in modern businesses today; it touches every key business process. The effectiveness of IT can be derived best when overall IT organization reflects on how the business is structured for responsibilities and accountabilities. To deliver IT solutions effectively, organizations should align with the business structure by showing how the business is organized and communicated thoroughly. Centralized IT or decentralized IT, which is the better management approach? As with most things, the answer is the middle path between extremes. IT management approach should have the right mix of centralized and decentralized IT services to meet business requirements. The challenge is having a harmonized vision of overall IT capabilities and maturities in a digital organization. Functions that need agility and customer intimacy can be decentralized and perhaps even embedded in business units. Functions that are common to the enterprise or commodity services can be centralized to drive scale benefits. The hybrid options should be considered and the organizational context is key.

People are the focal point of any organizational design and management focus. The purpose of building the tailored hybrid organization is on the deliverable quality, improving business productivity and performance, delighting customers, engaging employees, and encouraging innovation and optimization, with the ultimate goal to reach the next level of business maturity.

The Digital CIO’s Vision, Passion, and Digitalization

Digital CIOs have both vision and passion, capability and capacity for entering into the new world of the change and innovation.

IT is like the business engine, CIOs are accountable for the critical part of the business that is constantly changing and evolving. The emergence of the CIO coincided with the birth of the PC and end-user computing. That role certainly is matured as the Internet age unfolded. Contemporary CIOs should be capable of evolving leadership skills to not only match pace with the changes in technology and the pace at which an organization can effectively manage these changes but also proactively drive changes in business transformation based on their vision, passion and leadership practices.

Shape the vision: Leadership is all about future and change. Leadership vision is to serve as a compass and enabler. To clear the path of digitalization, whether that is the elimination of obstacles or to provide coaching and guidance or making leadership influence, the CIO and his/her team can play a large role in shaping a vision of the firm as a place where passionate individuals want to connect with and learn from one another. Vision should have a direction which sets clarity. As IT leaders, CIOs need to have the technological vision and awareness, as more often than not, technology becomes the game changer and innovation driver for running a digital business. No matter where you are in IT, the world changes with accelerated speed. IT is in the middle of a sea change, CIOs need to have the capacity to learn, relearn, and adapt. CIOs are expected to constantly propose new ideas and challenge the status quo, have the willingness to try something new, to test, to learn what you knew again, with the new perspective, to listen and remain balanced. A CIO’s technological vision should be attainable subject to current times and its ability to adapt and help the business gain the competitive advantage for the long term.

Ignite the passion: The need for change is obvious. The range of emerging digital technologies fosters a deeper sense of digital connections and vision to changes. Simply put, IT can no longer just be about numbers and algorithms; it has an opportunity to be a significant catalyst for passion and a tool for encouraging questing and connecting the innovation dots. Passionate CIOs dare to practice out-of-the-box-thinking, introduce new business concepts, develop cross-functional systems, platforms, procedures, and tools for the efficient use of natural resource and investing human capital to maximize collective potential. The digital setting and tools necessitate a new way of thinking, a creative way to do things and a flexible way to work smartly to ignite latent worker passion and bring together disparate parts of the organization to achieve digital harmony. CIOs need to become the passionate change agent to retool the organization culture, to build up a positive emotional environment, communicate relentlessly, inspire passionate employees, and foster collaborative business relationships. If a digital leader like CIO has a clear vision and is passionate about a certain goal, and then, it has the potential to be contagious and spread throughout the team. Though the CIO as a senior leader, the passion should never take precedence over making sound judgments. Following the passion also requires a good sense of judgment that you are on a right path to the vision you set. Passion enables determination, creativity, strategy, and talent. Passion aligned with focus, capabilities, and meaningful work is a destination for both individuals and businesses.

Orchestrate the digital ecosystem: Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way business is conducted so that simply adopting a new digital technology is insufficient. Thus, the CIO as a change agent not only touches his/her own function but also needs to make a significant influence on the entire organization and the emerging business ecosystem. Digital Transformation is the change, but on a grand level, at the level of the system, differentiate in terms of the end result on a systemic level. Thus, it takes strategic planning, structural methodology, and continuous practices in orchestrating such a digital paradigm shift. The pervasive digitization requires both business and technology professionals to rethink how things are done in their organization and how to align the different parts of the business ecosystem to adopt more digital points of integration. You have to transform the company's underlying functions and organization as a whole with adjusted digital speed. To effectively respond to these new dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive and innovative. The CIO should run IT as the linchpin to orchestrate a high performance and high-innovative digital organization.

IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. The priority for CIOs is to genuinely position IT as an integral and inseparable part of the business to lead the digital paradigm shift. CIOs are change agents, for IT to enable and catalyze business transformation, for IT to have an oversight of the key business processes and influence of the organizational culture. Digital CIOs have both vision and passion, capability and capacity for entering into the new world of the change and innovation, build a comprehensive change agenda with a few crucial highlights to drive change with focus, and practice leadership influence with their unique insight and intellectual voice.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Monthly “Problem-Solving Master” Book Tuning: The Creative Problem-Solver Aug. 2018

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 the 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.

                  The Creative Problem-Solver

Change, Creativity and Problem-Solving Change is not for its own sake, the very purpose of the change is often for problem-solving, progression, or innovation. From Change Management perspective, taking people through new experiences, exposing them to additional "information" through those experiences, developing their creativity, and doing that very purposefully will create the opportunity to shift attitudes, beliefs, mindsets that ultimately will cultivate their problem-solving capabilities.

Running IT as an Innovative Problem Solver and a Relentless Change Agent? IT is at an inflection point to speed up digital transformation, modern IT organizations need to be the explorer for stepping into the deep, deep digital normality with the abundance of information and the sea of changes. Forward-looking CIOs express a need to free up their staff from commodity activities to spend more time on strategic or innovative business initiatives. For IT to break the old cycle, and transform from the ‘weakest link," to the superglue of the business, it has to provide business stakeholders technological insight into how they bring success to the company as a whole instead of being a commodity overcoming the cost center reputation. Digital IT leaders today should practice paradoxical thinking to strike the right balance, drive changes, and solve business problems effectively.

"Digital Valley" Tuning I: How to Apply Creativity Wisdom in Problem Solving? The business world becomes overcomplex and hyperconnected, problem-solving also turns out to be increasingly challenging. Many think the lack of in-depth problem-solvers is a significant problem for the world. Problem-solving is not just about fixing the things, it is also important to remove the potential obstacles on the way or prevent the risks from the serious problems happening. Problem-solving is a mindset with curiosity, self-inclusiveness, creativity, and progression. Creativity is about connecting the dots. Unless there is a problem there is no creativity. But how to close creativity gaps in problem-solving?

Closing Creativity Gaps in Problem-Solving? Silo is perhaps one of the most paradoxical symptoms in running business in the industrial era, on one side, most of the organizations are still operating in the functional base to improve efficiency; on the other side, the digital nature of hyper-connectivity and interdependence makes it inevitable to break down the silo, because more often than not, the silo thinking becomes the root cause of ineffective leadership; the silo team fragment the strategy, stagnate execution, motivate the unhealthy internal competition and cause more problems than benefits. More specifically, what’s the cause and effect of silos and silo thinking?

How to Build a Creative Workforce and Workplace? People are the most invaluable asset in business, at the age of digital, it is, even more, true than ever. Talent employees are treated as human capital needs to be well invested to unleash the boundless potential, not just human resources counted as a cost. HR shall also transform itself from an administration function and gatekeeper to change agent, capital investor and innovator in order to build a creative digital working environment and catalyze the organizational level of digital transformation. However, how do you, as leaders, involve all people in creative thinking and actions? And how can you help improve the harvest of the creative seeds?
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about 4800+ 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 New Book "Digital Hybridity: How to Strike the Right Balance for Digital Paradigm Shift" Introduction

The hybrid digital view has many dimensions such as socio-cultural, socio-technical, socio-economical, organizational, scientific, or philosophical, just to name a few.

We are experiencing the major societal transformation from the industrial machine age with information scarcity to the digital era with information/knowledge/innovation abundance. The digital paradigm shift is reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are the part, the environments in which we live, and the way how we perceive the multipolar digital world.

The digital transformation makes a significant impact on almost every aspect of the business from people; process, to technology, both horizontally and vertically. It does make a smaller world, but also makes businesses and the world super complex and full of uncertainty and ambiguity. Companies across the sectors have huge pressures to survive and thrive in today’s hypercompetitive economic dynamic.

               The New Book "Digital Hybridity" Introduction Slideshare

The purpose of the book “Digital Hybridity: How to Strike the Right Balance for Digital Paradigm Shift” is to shed some light on how to strike the right balance of stability and changes; being transactional to keep spinning and being transformational to leap forward for making a seamless digital paradigm shift. Digital organizations should apply the hybrid management approach, focus on building a diverse, networked, and extended modern working environment in which the powerful digital platforms and computing technologies enable seamless conversations, delayer overly rigid organizational hierarchy, inspire idea sharing and brainstorming, and engage employees and partners to achieve the high-performance result.

Chapter 1 The Hybrid Digital Organization: With the fast pace of change and emerging digital technologies such as social, mobile and cloud computing, companies large or small are brainstorming the next generation of organizational design, the next wave of digital changes, and the next step of business movement. They need to figure out how to take advantage of the new digital platforms and tools, strike the right balance of physical assets and virtual platforms, improve productivity, encourage creativity, and enforce collaboration cross-enterprise ecosystem.

Chapter 2 The Portmanteau Words to Reflect Digital Reality: Digitalization doesn’t mean to just tear down all the old things in the previous era. In reality, it means how to strike the right balance between the new way and the old way. Being hybrid means to take balance as a management philosophy. In order to make a solid digital transformation, there are many seemly paradoxical, but indeed coherent elements in running a high-effective business today. Organizations have to strike the multitude of digital balances which impact with each other in order to achieve such a state of dynamic equilibrium.

Chapter 3 The Hybrid Thinking: We live in the digital world with all sorts of hybrid solutions. Digital leaders and professionals need to leverage Hybrid Thinking which is a set of interdisciplinary and integrative thought processes to solve many of today’s complex problems that require strategic consideration, systems intelligence, innovative approaches, as well as cross-cultural and cross-generational perspectives.

Chapter 4 The Hybrid Digital Management: Digital transformation is the journey for solving problems caused by "conflict," "out of balance," and “lack of logic.” It has to expand into every dimension of the organization by taking a structural approach. Digital management is a hybrid and holistic discipline with mixed styles for managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working such as cross-functional communication and collaboration, organizational structure design, change management, talent development, digital business readiness, and stakeholder management, etc.

Chapter 5 The Hybrid Workforce Management: Many company workforce spans three or even four generations - Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y (Millennial) and Z. Each with different leadership, thinking, communication, working, and learning styles. At the dawn of the digital era, global businesses need to shed the tendency to bridge the generational differences and shape the cross-generational mindset with common digital traits and perceive a diverse, dynamic, and complete picture of their workforce.

The hybrid digital view has many dimensions such as socio-cultural, socio-technical, socio-economical, organizational, scientific, or philosophical, just to name a few. A worldview is like a lens through which we perceive the landscape of life that becomes our reality. These dimensions of lens interact and mutually influence each other. Those who look through the lens of the previous era see their own reality very differently from those who use the lens that the new digital era has crafted. Digitalization means flow - energy flow, information flow, idea flow, mind flow and ultimately business flow, so the view of the world needs to become more dynamic, adjustable, colorful, and multidimensional.