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.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection & “Digital IT” Tuning: The CIO’s “Big WHAT” Debates for IT Digitalization Sep. 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. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections.
      The CIO’s “Big WHAT” Debates for IT Digitalization

What are the CIO’s Top Priority to Overcome Challenges in Digital Transformation? Digital provides significant opportunities for business growth, also brings unprecedented risks to cause business fall. 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. Forward-looking companies across the industrial sectors empower their IT organization to drive changes, what are the CIO’s top priority to overcome challenges in digital transformation?

What are Tactics and Methodologies in Developing IT and Business Relationship? Statistically, only less than 5% of IT can communicate with business partners seamlessly and build IT reputation as a game changer; while more than half of IT organizations still get stuck on the bottom level of maturity, functioning as an isolated support center or service provider due to ineffective communication. Both senior leadership team and CIOs are clear in what needs to achieve in terms of top line, bottom line and working in tandem with other departments to achieve the IT goal. So what are the tactics and methodologies in developing IT and business partner relationship via effective communication?

What are CIOs’ Top Challenges? Due to the changing nature of technologies, CIOs seem to be always in the “hot seat” in the face of increasing business demand, talent shortage, budget limitation or numerous critics from businesses. Now, information is permeating into every corner of business, what technology is expected to do has changed significantly over recent years, although every company has its own circumstances, overall speaking, what are the common challenges facing today’s IT organizations, how can CIOs leverage resources to stay focus, and continually improve IT agility and maturity, to become an integral part of business?

What is the Business Fitness for Digital Paradigm Shift
Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically? Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. At the heart of digital, it is people and how to build a customer-centric organization. But how to assess the digital fitness of your organization for such a paradigm shift?

What are the CIO’s Top Priorities for Improving Business Maturity? Nowadays, information is the lifeblood of business, and technology is the big brain of the organization, there are so many things on the CIO’s agenda, IT is always in overload mode, and CIOs seem to be always at the hot seat. Therefore, in order to run IT more effectively and efficiently, how shall CIOs prioritize the projects, and what shall be put on the top of the CIO’s agenda?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 5000+ 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.

Reliability as an Important Characteristic of Digital Quality

Reliability is the ability of the business to consistently deliver the high-quality products or services and expected business results. 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. Reliability is one of the significant quality aspects of the business.




Reliability: “Keep the lights on” is always fundamental to run a high-performance digital organization: The business management plays a crucial role to ensure that the organization’s systems are reliable and run when needed and when the users expect them to run. Quick-fixing the handy issues is also necessary to build a good business reputation. Make sure the business systems running following the preplanned schedule and performance standards. If there is a day-to-day operation break/fix type of issue in relation to business-critical problems, highly effective business leaders should first stop the pain, take care of chronic operational issues and deliver much-requested upgrades and tactical solutions. Many legacy organizations spend significant time, cost and resource to maintain the heavy legacy applications. Digital leaders need to truly work hard on achieving operational management excellence which is more as a journey than a destination. Because information, technology, and other business assets and resources need to be centralized, reallocated, updated or replaced if needed to improve business efficiency, optimize processes, and build the business capacity and competency.

Enforce cross-functional communication & collaboration: Reliability is not about being static or silo, as the matter of fact, it’s about connecting, communicating, and collaborating to enforce trust and transparency. Digital knowledge flow helps to unlock latent expertise, collaborate with communities with geographically-distributed teams, build trust, gain commitment and engagement, rather than just be compliant with work tasks, and arise the opportunity to run a reliable and high-performance organization. Running a reliable business with the steadfast speed takes planning, structure or process tunning, and measurement. If you try to impose solutions or structures that are too far ahead of the curves, the result is alienation and rebellion rather than transformation. Digital leaders have to not only provide clear process guidelines but also see that the teams are engaged, collaborative, and accountable to continually deliver the higher than expected business results to ensure reliability and endurance.

Applying a holistic management discipline to improve business reliability:
Digital organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or inter-relational interactions surpasses the silo-based organizational capacity. Digital management needs to apply multidisciplinary practices and take the integrated and holistic approach for dynamic business planning and actions. Without a holistic management discipline, businesses intend to fix some issues but cause more problems later on; or people try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. They allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, until it’s too late, cause fatal damage. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom will continue to return. To improve the business reliability, there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles in order to fix real issues and improve overall business quality.

Reliability is one of the significant quality aspects of the business. Products or service reliability is one of the critical non-functional 'abilities' such as availability, reliability, scalability, reconfigurability, interoperability, elasticity, security, etc) With a faster pace of change and continuous disruptions, there are both a day-to-day operation break/fix type of issue in running a reliable business, and strategic concerns for improving the business’s long-term competency, business management has to first stop the pain, take care of chronic operational issues and deliver much-requested upgrades and tactical solutions, but also improving the strategic responsiveness and overall quality of the business in the long run.

Three Complementary Elements of Innovation

Innovation - the practical application of creativity is essentially about problem-solving at various levels; and to solve a problem implies a wish to make something, or everything, better. In a fundamental view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. Some highly innovative organizations fail to capitalize on great ideas because there was no structure in place to manage the ideas and produce quality products/services. Here are three complementary elements of innovation from the management perspective.

Efficiency
: On the surface, it seems that efficiency and innovation are the opposite. Because in many organizations, there is an emphasis on efficiency rather than innovation or creativity, in pursuit of operational stability. They focus on improving margins by trimming the bottom-line cost rather than increasing the top-line growth. However, to think the long-term, actually, efficiency and innovation are complementary business characteristics to run the high-performance business. The greater the efficiency of an organization, the greater the need is for creativity to maintain high performance in the long run. Many process innovations will be concerned with increasing and optimizing efficiency and maintaining existing skills and linkages. Efficiency and innovation have to learn to live and function together seamlessly. If an organization is inefficient, it will be inefficient with new ideas as well. Efficiency will extract the maximum benefit from a new idea. However, be cautious, an over-obsession with the rigidity of efficiency stunts innovation processes, and innovation is supposed to be fluid and should not be straight-jacketed, otherwise, efficiency perhaps easily destroy the seed of innovation which is not quite ready to be analyzed for its profit margin. When the business management can strike the right balance of efficiency and creativity, they are on the right path to both improve the bottom line benefit and the top line business growth. "Efficiency and creativity complement, not oppose, one another." - Edward de Bono

Simplicity: Though innovation seems to be the light every organization is pursuing, for many of them, innovation is still serendipitous, nothing but simple. Because companies of all sizes, especially large corporations, are designed to suck at innovation. They become too dependent on satisfying corporate regulation or protocols, and things, in fact, turn out to be so complex. But back to basic, innovation is about simplifying things, not the other way around. The ability to simplify means to eliminate unnecessary layers of complication so that the better or more innovative solutions coming out. From innovation management perspective, innovation processes fall into one of two camps: Either they are too abstracted from the real world issues at hand, so they can’t provide practical guidance or lack of formal processes to streamline ideas and push them through, or they are so detailed and specific, such that they are not flexible to adapt to the emerging changes or the compliance with the processes is impractical. Innovation processes need to be flexible and adaptable. Unlike many other types of operational business processes which are strictly based on hierarchical management discipline, innovative ideas should be reviewed, selected and developed by leveraging simple empowered processes, cross-functional communication and collaboration are crucial to bridge idea creation and implementation, things should be as simple as possible.

Change
: Innovation is the change, though not all changes are innovations. Some additional variables that might merit consideration are the scope, scale, and impact of the changes. The broader the scope, scale, and impact of the change, the more one leans towards calling such change an innovation. More often than not, innovation management and change management are complementary processes going neck to neck to improve innovation success rate. Either change or innovation is hard for many organizations because people are part of the status quo, and it isn’t until they are forced by circumstances when the old paradigm becomes incompatible with the new reality and there’s no other choice but changes. With change management as an embedded mechanism in innovation, successful organizations can manage a portfolio of innovation initiatives, prioritized with adequate support across the whole business spectrum, to either make the current business improved or look for new business model and everything in between (refreshing the portfolio, finding totally new fields or ensuring on-going profitability and extension of the current portfolio). Change and innovation are complementary and core business activities which enable the business flow, drive new product development and make continuous business improvements.

Although there’s no magic formula for innovation success, people, structure, technology, and process are all important factors. There are also many complementary elements in innovation management. There are times fostering a culture where creativity thrives really helps to drive innovation that can fit into an existing business or process. Innovation is both art and science.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Monthly “100 Digital Rules” Book Tuning: Digital Quality Principle Sep. 2018

A well-defined set of digital rules are not for limiting innovation, but for setting the frame of relevance and guide through changes and digital transformation.
T
he purpose of “100 Digital Rules: Setting Guidelines to Explore Digital New Normal “ is to establish digital principles and update business policies that can be applied holistically and guide the digital transformation systematically. Digital rules are based on a set of fundamental beliefs behind the methodologies and they help to shape mindsets behind behaviors. Digital rules encourage mindfulness, authenticity, creativity, inclusiveness, and discourage static thinking, silo, and bureaucracy, help to accelerate collective human progress.

                   


Digital Quality Principle


The “Continuous Improvement” as the Digital Principle to Achieve High Quality? Change is inevitable, it will come by itself. The digital era means the increasing pace of change, the leapfrogging progress, and the collective societal advancement. Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is definitely a change. For change to be embraced by stakeholders, they ultimately need to understand why it is an improvement and what it will improve for them. “Continuous Improvement” is the digital mantra and principle to achieve high quality.

Improving Innovation Quality and Strengthening Innovation Discipline Innovation is about reinventing the business direction and purpose at any time. Innovation is a managed process to transform novel ideas to achieve business value. Innovation is the core activity of human evolution to changing the environment for reaching high performance and improving business profit, for the saving of resources, for the satisfaction of customers, etc. Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. However, innovation overall has a very low success rate, how to improve innovation quality and strength innovation discipline?

Digital Management Principle: "Less is More" Modern businesses become over-complex every day, they also add to such eco-system complexity! If we accept it is complex, somewhat unpredictable or not completely predictable, we have to accept uncertainty. Uncertainty comes with complexity. Simplicity vs complexity is an age-old dilemma even in English Grammar! Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice either for running the business or solving a problem. "Less is more." So, what are the principles to follow in pursuit of just right simplicity?

Quality is Everyone’s Business? The speed of change requires the business to adapt to the dynamic business new normal, and the fiery business competitions push organizations to deliver qualified products or services to woo customers and gain the market share. Nowadays, quality is everyone’s business. High-quality enterprise is comprised of high-quality people, high-quality products/services, and high-quality business capabilities/processes, etc. From the organizational management perspectives, how to gain an in-depth understanding of business competency + quality, what do you put in place or how would you then structure your business to ensure that the ability of your business to adapt rapidly and deliver products and services with high quality?

The Multiple Perspectives of Digital Simplicity Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make the business progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing a high mature digital organization. Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Take a close look at simplicity from different management lenses, simplicity is one of the very important characteristics of the digital quality. It means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, and responsiveness, etc. Here are three perspectives of digital simplicity.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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.

Why Does Innovation & Digitalization Stall

Digitalization represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with the customer at the center of its focus. Digital D is “pushed” by both visible forces and invisible forces, hard forces and soft forces from multiple directions. Change is inevitable with the faster pace, organizations today simply cannot stand still. However, sometimes the managers feel that digitalization gets stalled, goes nowhere, what’re the root causes? And how to rejuvenate the business culture and catalyze changes?

Blurred vision: In the digital era with “VUCA” characteristics -velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, organizations will get stuck if they don’t have a clear vision and lost the direction at the daily mundane “busyness.” Top leaders are supposed to be the guiding force in the organization and even with a broader scope. Visionary leaders are in demand to help organizations navigate through uncharted water and blurred digital borders and guide businesses toward the right directions. Vision is a foresight with a proactive understanding of cause and effect, not reactive sight. To shape a clear vision and lead confidently, digital leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay attention to the myriad of internal, external, national, or global forces that define and influence the way we do business these days. Unfortunately, many business managers today lose focus of the vision and get stuck in “keeping the lights on,” taking care of immediate business problems. Without continuous envisioning of a better future, organizations will become short-sighted, static, and become irrelevant sooner or later. Blurred vision causes the business stalling. Though periodically, business leaders should take a pause for reflection, and re-envisioning As vision is not static, it needs to be adjusted with emerging business property and digital dynamic. With a clarified vision and a good strategy, organizations can take the path of digitalization smoothly.

Missing synergy: Digitalization is not just about adopting some technologies not fixing a few business issues. It is a systematic approach to expand in every direction for accelerating business performance and unlocking digital potential. Silo thinking, bureaucracy, inflexibility, inefficiency, rigidity, dysfunctional systems/processes, etc are all causes of missing synergy and business stagnation. In many cases, business managers don’t understand their ever-evolving dynamic business environment because they never look outside the problems boundaries. When productivity is low and synergy is missing; when people are not working via the system to solve the real problems but play the system to stifle innovation or build “comfort zones” to create frictions to changes, you know that there is the serious problem, and there are many possible causes of it. The in-depth analysis is needed for understanding the root cause whether it is due to the dysfunctional “hard” system, inefficient practices/process, or the “soft” element such as miscommunication or culture complacency. The key issue is whether the business management recognizes a sense of urgency for fixing the root causes and will sponsor and support changes. Digital organizations are the living things, they need to be in flow to operate smoothly by breaking through the speed bottlenecks and keeping the business synchronized to ensure that every part of the organization operates in harmony to take a digital leap. It’s critical to use common business language for enhancing understanding, leverage digital platforms and tools to enforce cross-functional communication & collaboration, taking incentives to inspire creativity, knowledge sharing, and setting the right priority to create synergy for either problem-solving and strategy implementation.

Outdated practices:
When organizations wait for following the magic formula of digitalization or taking the outdated industry practices, the business stalls. Because every organization has different strength and unique competency, they are also at the different stage of the business growth life cycle. Thus, they have to develop their own set of the best and next practices to explore the new possibilities and harness innovation. What is “best” yesterday will not always be the best tomorrow. When organizations only seek examples to follow, rather than develop their own tailored solutions to emerging problems, they might stall. The path of exploring the next best practices is to contemplate the business goals, break down conventional thinking box, have iterative communication, and take multiple choices to understand and solve problems effectively. Further, taking a best practice from on environment into another could sometimes turn out to be the worst practice or so-called best is not out of its benchmarking context. When every business or function does exactly the same thing, and then innovation soon becomes the commodity. The practices that are "best" today are almost always not "best" in the future since practices, as well as technologies and markets, are constantly morphing under pressure and fast-paced change is now the part of the business reality. The path to digitalization is to think more closely about the long-term business goals, set digital principles and build your own unique set of practices for changes, innovation, and leading digitalization.

With overwhelming growth of information and continuous business disruptions, today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. The digitalization shouldn’t stall. The shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies, and leadership roles, it represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. Transformation is a non-stop journey rather than a destination, it’s an upward spiral for running a highly effective, highly innovative and highly intelligent business.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Monthly Summary: “Simplicity” as the Key Word of the Digital Era Sep. 2018

Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they don't bother to remove the dust around them or want to question the unknown.

Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing an organization. With simplicity, what we are adding is clarity and purpose. Keep in mind, in today’s complex world, in the core of simplicity lies complexity, the more simple one perceives in any system, problem or living being is inherently more complex. Here is a set of featured blogs to dig into “SIMPLICITY” -the “keywords” of the 21st century to brainstorming the future of digital leadership.


“Simplicity” as the Key Word of the Digital Age


The Multiple Perspectives of Digital Simplicity As the saying is going, simplicity is the optimal level of complexity. Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make the business progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing a high mature digital organization. Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Take a close look at simplicity from different management lenses,

Three Ways to Pursue Simplicity “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Leonardo da Vinci Either from architectural design, engineering discipline or management perspectives, simplicity means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, responsiveness, etc. And like many things, there is good simplicity and bad simplicity; good complexity and bad complexity;...

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s “Simplicity” Skill Innovation is progress, and progress is in simplicity. People are complex by nature, but to dwell on complexity is to complicate an implicate order that is naturally simple. Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they rather follow the traditions and set rules and regulations in the society. They don't bother to remove the dust around them or want to question the unknown, or challenge the status quo, out of fear. However, progress...

How to Apply Simplicity Principle in Change Management Change is simply a shift from the “Old Way - Chaos - New Way.” Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Philosophically, simplicity is the source of complication, and complications are the source of simplicity. Often human cannot live the life with simplicity and keep making it complicated. So does Change Management. Can we make change simpler? A successful change requires...

Simplicity as a Principle: Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. People are complex by nature, but to dwell on complexity is to complicate an implicate order that is naturally simple. Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they rather follow the traditions and set rules and regulations in the society. They don't bother to remove the dust around them or want to question the unknown

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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.

“See Through” Digital From Different Angles

Due to the “VUCA” nature of the business dynamic, information is growing exponentially, the business complexity is unavoidable, technology disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. Insightful leaders and professionals with strong “digital awareness” can smell the differences, sense emergent opportunities, predict potential risks, see-through digital from different angles, and ride above the learning curve to make a smooth digital paradigm shift. On the opposite, the organizational management short-sightedness, silo, and running the business in a transactional mode cause digital ineffectiveness in the long run.

See the apples/pumpkins, imagine the apple/pumpkin pies: Either individually or collectively at the business level, because none of us are stagnant, we need to continually discover “who we are,” and “who” we want our companies to be. With ever-changing business dynamic, digital leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay more attention to the myriad of internal, external, national or global forces that define and influence the way we do businesses these days. Perception is when your eyes see something, your mind tries to explain it. Vision is the ability to zoom into the future as if it were closer. Vision is critical for today’s digital leaders because organizations nowadays have to step into the uncharted water and blurred business territories due to continuous disruptions and ever-changing business dynamic. Visionary leaders with a positive mentality can imagine the future enthusiastically, define a clear vision which articulates the destination the organization intends to get and inform the change agenda with a strong logic. They can envision the future and lead the business from the “current state” to the “future state,” based on the business’s strength and differentiated competency. To create something that you really want also means that this very thing has to be adapted to your own variety. With a clear vision, an organization is able to evolve, adapt and innovate, without fear of changes. Though implementing the strategy to reach the vision is a teamwork. if management tries to strictly impose their vision onto their people, the chances are that they'll fail: people want to contribute in their way, have their secret recipe to make their pie they enjoy. So it’s important to build a win win win situation - win for people, win for company stakeholder, and win for customers.

See the forest and the trees: Enterprise is the complex system, every change initiative, either at a functional level or corporate scope, has to make sure the business as a whole is more optimal than the sum of pieces; or fix the real issues without too many side effects. Digital leaders need to leverage systems thinking to check up their problem-solving scenarios by asking: What is the bigger picture here? How is your current problem/goal related to your team/ departmental/ organizational/industry context? Practice lateral, nonlinear or multi-dimensional thinking, understand people or things from different angles and be inclusive to appreciate cognitive difference and different point of view. Try to see the ‘big picture’ and take a more holistic view of the business as a system to make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes; willing to listen to the diverse viewpoint, zooming out to capture the bigger picture, see both the forest and the trees. It is also important to take a holistic approach to solve real problems, there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles and zoom out to see the larger system and their part in the mess, in order to come out the optimal solutions.

See things underneath and see around corners:
The more complex the situation is, the more important to leverage critical thinking and the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for in-depth understanding. Critical Thinking needs to combine different thinking processes, to gather a mass of information, break it apart and reconstructed with a level of accuracy, projecting futuristic events, and numbers, etc. Critical Thinking is a crucial thought process to see underneath the symptoms and dig into root causes and see around corners without ignoring some pieces of important information. With hyperconnected and overcomplex digital new normal, to overcome the common challenges and advance the human race, we have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, see around the corner and transcend the interdisciplinary knowledge, to get to the heart of the matter. To improve management effectiveness, the business manager has to dig through the root cause of old or emergent business issues and fix them in the right way. Individually, to break through your thinking ceilings, you need to build the solid thinking blocks, have sufficient knowledge and unique insight to observe deeper, see things underneath and see around the corner. In the organizations, digital transformation cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the digital organization.

Organizations rise and fall, not on the quantum of plans and resources, but on the capabilities to manage, lead, yet most important to execute. Digital leaders and professionals need to perceive without bias, see through things from different angles. Companies that are skilled at managing complexity can gain advantages by pushing the boundaries of a more complicated business mix and pulling all-important resource to make a large digital leap.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 9/21/2018

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

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 5000+ 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 Interoperability, Changeability, and Visibility of Digital IT IT is always striving to improve its value to the business when it is part of the organizational strategy and business toolkit; not when it simply supports the things the business would do otherwise. Their constant exposure to information and the fact that they are usually the most "connected" part of all management group makes IT a lightning rod for new ideas and innovation. Digital CIOs are uniquely qualified to envision the digital trend and oversee business innovation. The challenge for them is how to discover an outlet within their organization to channel that lightning once it strikes and continue improving IT interoperability, changeability, and overall visibility to get digital ready.

The Monthly Foresight: Trend-Setting And Digitalization Sep. 2018? 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 lead to the digital future effortlessly?

The Board Directors Think Like "Digital Architect" With the organization/industry/ society moving forward and stepping into the "VUCA" digital new normal, the corporate boards as the top leadership pillar play a critical role in leading changes; they are like the steering wheel, to ensure their corporate ships are moving in the right direction towards the uncharted water. Compared to other junior level management position, the boards as senior leadership role needs to spend significant time on making both strategic decisions and sound judgments. They are like digital architects to envision the future of the organization and orchestrate the digital transformation smoothly.

Digital IT as The Engineering Discipline with Both Artistic and Scientific Touch
Running the digital IT organization is the engineering discipline as the practical application of digital principles and practices constrained by the laws of the science domain. Running an IT organization as a business solutionary is about how to apply scientific logic and engineering discipline to break big business problems down into deliverable chunks for presenting value to the business at regular intervals. In fact, engineering is both art and science. If there is a magic formula, could it be: Engineering = System + Operation + Methodology + Design + Creativity + Science + Process?

Riding Above Innovation Curves to Reach the New Horizon of Digitalization? The definition of innovation is just so simple, to gain benefit by doing something different. The flashes of inspiration we now see in retrospect as groundbreaking inventions or innovations were driven by people not only far-sighted but determined to make their ideas succeed. At the organizational level, having innovation curve awareness means that innovation leaders need to understand that working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work to rise above the learning curve by figuring out many “Hows,” in order to improve innovation success rate and reach the new horizon of digitalization.

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 Interdisciplinary CIOs

Interdisciplinary CIOs are in demand to understand things contextually and manage IT holistically.

The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the information growth and the accelerating changes in technology. The top CIOs today must have the unique business insight and high level of influence on business changes and digital transformation. They should practice expert power and interdisciplinary management disciplines all the time in order to become the trusted business partner.




The multidimensional viewpoint: Consider the digital organization as the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, IT is the linchpin of running a high-performance business. CIOs are in the better position to oversee the underlying business processes and gain the contextual understanding of key business issues and diagnose the real root cause underneath the symptoms. Thus, they need to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and multidimensional viewpoints in order to make sound judgments or decisions based on unbiased fact, deep observations, and dispassionate examination. Embracing the multidimensional viewpoints also means that digital CIOs are skeptical about conventional understanding of issues so that they examine everything before accepting it for the real truth or advising it to others. Digital CIOs today have both business acumen and technical expertise, their interdisciplinary knowledge, and diverse experience allow them to see things from different angles and convey the balanced viewpoints about logic vs. creativity, opportunity vs. risks, change vs. stability; centralized organizational structure vs. decentralized structure, transactional IT and transformational IT. From people management perspective, they can also recognize those IT professionals who can bring unique PoVs; who can discover better ways to solve problems; who can take the calculated risks to do innovation; and who can lead changes and digitalization proactively. To put it briefly, the interdisciplinary CIOs can practice empathetic leadership to put the right people with the right capabilities in the right position to solve the right problems timely.

The multidisciplinary management approach: The hyperconnectivity nature of digital breaks down the functional, geographical, or even organizational border, businesses today become much more nonlinear, interconnected and interdependent than ever. It means to have the better opportunities to connect the dots across the geographical, functional, organizational, industrial, or generational boundaries. The border of knowledge domains is blurred and the scope of knowledge is expanded in the continual base. It requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms such as accepting that leadership influence is attainable, but control is not. An effective CIO’s job is to leverage systems view and take a structural approach to achieve operational excellence by reducing the wastes, eliminating redundancy, and removing burdens on the company. In fact, an interdisciplinary CIOs with proficient leadership expertise and systems thinking skills to understand a system is a necessary precondition for an effective intervention; to deal with the mountain of information by leveraging efficient technological tools and human know-how. The purpose of managing business via interdisciplinary discipline is to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces, enforce cross-divisional communication and collaboration to build dynamic business competency.

The “multi-faceted leadership personas”: More and more forward-looking organizations across the industry sectors claim they are in the information management business and empower their CIOs to lead changes. Digital CIOs need to have “multi-faceted personas,” to practice the situational leadership accordingly by communicating with varying shareholders, taking multiple management responsibilities, and developing a balanced “running, growing, and transforming” portfolio with adjusted speed. They need to be the digital visionary, business strategist, process overseers, change agent, customer advocate, talent master, or governance champion. Those interdisciplinary CIOs understand the whole business models, customers, and the markets the business operates in, understand the competitive landscape, have a medium/long term investment and performance horizon in mind. They contribute to the business’s long-term planning proactively; they are also tactical when necessary because envisioning the future and seeing around the corner are both important. Most importantly, they are innovative leaders to drive the digital transformation of the business. In many organizations, especially those well-established large companies, IT intrapreneurship becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to substantiate their competitive position, affect the marketing landscape, and drive new revenue growth.

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades, colors, extensiveness, and intensity. The CIO is no longer just a tactical management role to “keep the lights on” only now, there are many critical leadership traits in digital CIO and there are many roles they must play well for leading changes and catalyzing innovation. Interdisciplinary CIOs are in demand to understand things contextually, manage IT holistically, overcome barriers to solve complex business problems seamlessly and lead the thorny digital transformation journey effortlessly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Monthly “12 CIO Personas” Book Tuning: CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer” Sep. 2018

Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO role continues to be shaken up, refined, reinvented and reenergized. The magic “I” of the CIO title sparks many imaginations and modern CIOs need to wear different hats and play multiple roles. Here are a set of blogs to brainstorm digital CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officers.”

              


Chief Innovation Officer


The CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to Build a Highly Innovative Team Nowadays, forward-thinking organizations empower their CIOs to facilitate digital dialogues and lead digitalization. Language influences perception, the CIO must be able to translate between the board/business speak and technology in both directions. CIOs need to tailor the different audience and speak multiple business dialects in order to enforce leadership empathy and improve communication effectiveness. Without a clear strategy and a way to communicate it in the language of the business, CIOs will always have trouble getting even "aligned," no mention of reaching the higher IT maturity level of proactively enabling and engaging with business, as well as leading the organization to reach the high level of maturity.

Is Digital CIO Well Grounded to Lead Change and Innovation With increasing pace of changes and fast growing information, organizations across industrial sectors declare they are in the information management business; information nowadays is the invaluable resource and asset of organizations, technology is the force behind digital disruptions. Clearly, the role of IT and that of the CIO is going through significant changes, IT leaders must understand the business from different angles and well grounded to lead change and innovation masterfully.

The CIO as the Digital Master: From Managing Change Incrementalism to Leading Innovation Breakthrough Digital businesses become more information based, people-centric and hyperconnected, riding change curves is particularly important for improving business responsiveness, increasing organizational speed and reaching the high level of business maturity. Nowadays, Information technology is the growth engine of business. Today’s CIOs have multiple roles to play and take broader leadership responsibilities from managing change incrementalism to mastering innovation breakthrough to transforming their organizations into the high-performance digital powerhouse.

Three Concentrations of Digital CIOs Digital IT is a paradigm shift in role, responsibility, and attitude. IT plays a crucial role in leading the digital transformation of the business. Your goals and objectives will be your drivers. IT needs to play different roles in the situation at hand, but also should stay focus on the most important things to ensure IT is value-added and become the strategic partner of the business.

The Digital CIO’s Three Distinctive Roles? The digital organizations are so technology-driven and information-intensive, as the matter of fact, the success of the business relies more and more on information and technology nowadays. IT organization is like the spinal cord of the digital business which can integrate various functional abilities to bring out technology-driven business solutions. A big component of IT success has to do with the definitions or scopes of the role that the CIO is playing. Because different organizations are at the different stages of business maturity life cycle, the CIO responsibilities are quite varied even with the same title or position. Generally speaking, IT leaders can no longer act just like the tactical manager to “keep the lights on” only. Here are digital CIO’s three distinctive roles for running IT as the trustful business partner and the growth engine of the organization.

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 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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 New Book "12 CIO Personas" Introduction: The Digital CIO’s Profiles, Personas, and Personalities
The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 1 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Information Officer”
The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 2 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 3 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Insight Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter IV Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Improvement Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter V: The CIO as “Chief Instrument Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter VI Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Interpretation Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Introduction: Chapter VII The CIO as “Chief Inspection Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 8 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Interaction Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 9 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Intrapreneur Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter X The CIO as “Chief Investment Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 11 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Integration Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 12 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Influence Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Quote Collection I

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Quote Collection II

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Quote Collection III


Quality is Everyone’s Business

“Quality is everyone’s business” is the digital principle to build a coherent, effective and dynamic digital organization. 

The speed of change requires the business to adapt to the dynamic business new normal, and the fiery business competitions push organizations to deliver qualified products or services to woo customers and gain the market share. Nowadays, quality is everyone’s business. High-quality enterprise is comprised of high-quality people, high-quality products/services, and high-quality business capabilities/processes, etc. From the organizational management perspectives, how to gain an in-depth understanding of business competency + quality, what do you put in place or how would you then structure your business to ensure that the ability of your business to adapt rapidly and deliver products and services with high quality?

Quality = Expected standard of products/services/information: The ability to deliver a quality product/service is, as a matter of clear focus on the things that deliver quality. Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent. There are multiple business perspectives of quality management. From the business management perspective, "people, process, technology" must be defined and maintained to support the quality goal of the business. From the products/projects management perspective, the big Q - Quality is a function of scope, budget, and resources. From a data management perspective, by “quality data,” it means clean, organized, and actionable data from which to extract relevant information and insight. From a talent management perspective, high-quality leader or employees are great in attitude, aptitude, and altitude. It takes a holistic discipline to manage quality; remove the obstacles to quality, clearly describe what quality looks like, and practice the activities that produce quality results.

It is the "design" that is the critical enabling factor for quality: Design = forming human-made objects to be pleasing and preferred by humans. Design lifts up the quality from functioning to delight. The big advantage of being design centered for improving quality is that you prioritize in making things likable vs. just making them functioning. Embrace design-centered development when you have a highly competitive environment around functionality. To build quality into the design, it starts with building it into the business processes. The more the processes are viewed holistically and integrated, the greater the quality of the product, system, or service will be. Being design-centric is when innovation meets the products/services to fit the design proposed as long as costs meet the criteria, not over-engineering with quality and performance meeting expectations of users and customers. The design is actually a critical enabling factor for quality.


In digital organizations, quality management is not the job of one department, but an overarching management approach: “Quality is everyone’s business” is the digital principle to build a coherent, effective and dynamic digital organization which needs to be well planned and thoughtfully renewal. Where there are ineffectiveness and inefficiency in business management, there are quality gaps existing. The successful business integration and quality management will depend on the underlying business relationships between all of crucial business touch points and how they influence each other for closing quality gaps. In order to get quality out of anything whether it is people or process, or technology, organizations need to cultivate a climate that is conducive to growth rather than using catch-phrases that make things look good. Through quality integration, the enterprise is easily combined with assets for orchestrating high-performing businesses.

Quality is not one department’s job, but everyone’s business. Digital management systems and processes need to be more dynamic, iterative, integral, and interactive in order to make the timely adjustment for either improving the quality of management or the overall business maturity.

Riding Above Innovation Curves to Reach the New Horizon of Digitalization?

A highly innovative organization is to create organizations where creativity is a significant part of business culture and innovation has been managed masterfully.

The definition of innovation is just so simple, to gain benefit by doing something different. The flashes of inspiration we now see in retrospect as groundbreaking inventions or innovations were driven by people not only far-sighted but determined to make their ideas succeed. At the organizational level, having innovation curve awareness means that innovation leaders need to understand that working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work to rise above the learning curve by figuring out many “Hows,” in order to improve innovation success rate and reach the new horizon of digitalization.

How to optimize innovation process to enforce collaboration and increase speed: In a basic view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. Different types of innovation should be managed via tailored management processes. The main challenge organizations face when attempting to digitize and innovate is a cohesive management discipline with the tailored methodology in a consistent manner through which they can implement innovations and develop ideas into fruition. The main barriers to innovation are silos, rigidity, inflexibility, static process, or bureaucracy, etc. Therefore, to ride innovation curves, it’s important to keep optimizing innovation processes by breaking down those structural or management obstacles and enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration. Because a corporation needs processes and culture to sustain cross-boundary engagement to discover external ideas, as well as interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise to manage those ideas to achieve business values. However, unlike many other types of business initiatives, the process of planned innovation shouldn’t be too rigid, the chaos to some extent is necessary for sparking fresh ideas and flexibility is important to make proper adjustments for improving innovation performance. It’s also critical to cultivate a culture which inspires creativity and motivated to accept external ideas and rapidly integrate them into innovative internal ideas. Planning and optimizing are important, you can’t imagine a successful innovation process without its continuous improvement.

How to manage innovation in a structural way? Applying discipline to innovation is to figure out how to manage innovation in a structural way. There are quite a few important elements such as strategy, people, process, tools, and culture, etc, in innovation management. Missing any of them will severely decrease innovation effectiveness and influence the sustainability of an intentional innovation effort. Taking a structural approach with all key elements will improve systematic thinking and the consistency of the innovation results by an order of magnitude. Due to the complexity of modern businesses, within the organizations, innovation nowadays is rarely an individual action; rather, it is a team effort, often across multiple functional silos or even break down the company, geographical or industry boundaries. It’s important to manage innovation systematically via a good alignment of great innovators, disruptive technologies, and rigorous but not overly rigid processes. An innovation framework is a great tool in managing innovation by integrating all critical innovation elements, deploying a range of different management practices, technologies, processes, and structural solutions.

How to scale innovation by managing cost, time and risk skillfully: Innovation is the means to end, the end is how to achieve the business value. Thus, ridng above innovation curves also means how to manage cost, time and risk skillfully in order to achieve the high return-on-investment business results. More specifically, the innovation management needs to make an objective assessment because how well the organization manages innovation is based on varying factors such as how effective for the allocation of resources; how efficient of the innovation process or lack thereof; how fast they can make decisions as well as deliver the result; how much risk they can afford to take and how big is the innovation impact, etc. Every process, every expenditure of time, talent, money, or energy and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the “Why.” In essence, the innovation management is about how to manage people, assets, time, resources, and risks to achieve high-performance business goals and unleash organizational potential by managing and scaling up innovation skillfully.

It takes the time to ride the innovation curve. But it is particularly important for building innovation as the differentiated business competency, scale innovation effort, and accelerate innovation speed. A highly innovative organization is to create organizations where creativity is a significant part of business culture and innovation has been managed masterfully to achieve superior business value or improve customer satisfaction.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Board Directors Think Like "Digital Architect"

The board directors with the digital architect’s mindset can abstract and envision, leverage the multitude of thought processes, to move the enterprise forward confidently.

With the organization/industry/society moving forward and stepping into the "VUCA" digital new normal, the corporate boards as the top leadership pillar play a critical role in leading changes; they are like the steering wheel, to ensure their corporate ships are moving in the right direction towards the uncharted water. Compared to other junior level management position, the boards as senior leadership role needs to spend significant time on making both strategic decisions and sound judgments. They are like digital architects to envision the future of the organization and orchestrate the digital transformation smoothly.

The first skill an "architect" must have is "abstraction": Abstraction is an innate intelligence, the foundation of insight. Being able to step back from details and see patterns, generalization, standards, context, and a bigger picture. Compared to junior or middle or functional managers, the board directors as senior leaders should focus on the holistic big picture, without getting distracted by trivial details. As matter of fact, abstraction is an important senior leadership skill because it’s the ability to abstract and simplify; it means to eliminate the unnecessary hassles so that the necessary can speak out. Abstraction is the cognitive skills which help to clarify and simplify, to capture the substance from style, essence from details, and patterns from random pieces, etc.. Senior leaders such as boards play the critical role in setting principle and policies. Hence, abstract thinking helps them "talk the walk," differentiate substance from style and grasp the quintessence from outdated information. The difference between senior and junior (middle) leadership is not about how many answers you have, but about how well you can ask the open questions to attract best answers, and leverage all sorts of information to perceive the big picture into which the knowledge fit, to improve decision effectiveness and enforce leadership maturity.

Flexible open-minded with “outside of the box" creative and critical thinking: With increasing speed of change, it is in the BoD’s mindset to either adapt or resist changes. It has been said that to embrace change requires a change of mindset at every level of the organization and an understanding that things cannot stay the same. BoDs and top leadership teams make a significant influence on shaping the digital mindset of the organization, evolving to what is needed next for radical changes and societal advancements. An architect’s mindset has the ability to zoom in and out of the bigger picture. Thinking as the digital architect means the board of directors can both grasp the big picture of the business and go deeper, pay more attention to the significant details as well. The more complex the situation is, the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for in-depth understanding. An architect’s mindset is coherent and persuasive, has the ability to read the "ripples on the surface of the water," practice critical thinking and creative thinking all the time. At the board level, practicing critical thinking is about gaining the contextual understanding of the business, conceptualizing, and making sound judgments. Critical Thinking requires an ability to be able to not only ask the great questions but also analyze information forecast potentials; risks/benefits; making comparing and contrast options, leveraging logic, and creativity. The board as top leadership team needs to be creative as well because creativity is about thinking beyond the conventional wisdom - where you have left the confines of other people's thoughts, in order to lead forward with a clear vision. Senior leaders at the board level need to be open-minded for either asking open questions to encourage creativity or exploring new possibilities to solve tough business problems.

Leverage business architecture as a strategic communication tool in the boardroom: The board oversees the business strategy and monitors the organizational performance. The real value of business architecture is how to keep the priorities in balance and make the sound judgment without losing the big picture. The business architecture equivalent takes a look at balancing the business priorities and forcing conversations that are otherwise difficult to have. The business architecture could become a great executive communication tool, particularly when the architecture discussion is kept at a higher level. The board directors with an architect’s mindset can translate the abstract concept back into the real world example, thus, it also has the ‘visual’ ability to “see” an idea and express it in visual terms via interactive way. In addition, you need to have the ability to analyze problems and mentally iterate through possible solutions to find the best fit. Leadership in itself is a constant learning process that requires the leader to apply the growth mindset, leverage the right tools, build experience and share insight, listen carefully, learn continually, expect to find some fresh viewpoint all the time, identify tradeoffs and negotiate them with all stakeholder to collaborate skillfully with empathy.

The board of directors is the leadership role, leadership is the adventure to explore unknown, and have confidence and insight for taking the right path to reach the destination. It has to be in touch with the business forces via listening, questioning, connecting, and coaching, with the capability to know when to bend and when to make a firm stand. The board directors with the digital architect’s mindset can abstract and envision, leverage systematic thinking, holistic thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, analytical & synthetic thinking, or non-linear thinking for advising, monitoring, deliberation, and moving the enterprise forward confidently.