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, November 18, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Fit” Book Tuning: Learning Fit Nov. 2018

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. But what are digital organizational traits, how to define digital fit and take a structural approach for digitalization?

                              Learning Fit


A Learning Organization? A learning organization is one in which the majority of the employees at all levels are open to new ideas, experimentation with new ways of doing things, learning from instead of condemning or punishing mistakes, errors and, perhaps most importantly, where knowledge is shared instead of hoarded, thus, expanding power instead of confining it. What Systems Thinking models are called up when organizations "learn"? Can you recognize the interconnectivity between employee learning and organizational learning? What are the characteristics of a learning organization? And does "Learning" trait differentiate Digital Masters from the digital laggards?

The Culture of Learning Culture is a collective mindset, attitude, and behavior. Culture is the residue of learning. In other words, leaders set a culture based on their vision and leadership substance and style. Much of this becomes "the way we do things around here." What are the factors that shape up an organization's culture? What are they, and how to change organizations and for that matter societal culture to become more learning agile in order to adapt to the "VUCA" characteristics of the digital age? And how can you align business scorecards, awards and recognition, policies and procedures which drive behaviors from the "old" culture, to reinvent the digital culture of learning?

The Five Digital Learning Types People want to grow, develop and learn, in effect, they want to change even though they don't realize it. But it is often the organization which stops them. Continuous learning and training become more important in the digital era due to increasing paces of changes and the exponential growth of information. Learning taxonomies try to explain the levels of learning and identify the domains/types of learning. The goal of learning is to sharpen skills and build professional competency. Learning is situational, and the learning styles can be rationalized and diverse. it could be multidimensional, dynamic, interactive and integrated.

Three Aspects on How Collective Learning Fosters Innovation: We live in the information and knowledge economy, today’s digital professionals are hard workers, knowledge workers, and creative workers, who are exploring, innovating and evolving to new digital paradigm proactively in a continuous way. To create the new requires not just one skill, but many, not just old experience, but new perspectives. Collective learning rejuvenates the organizational culture and foster innovation.

Three Continuum to Develop Learning Habit To quote Peter Drucker, an American management guru, “knowledge is the most valuable commodity.” It couldn’t be truer in the digital era. On one hand, the fresh knowledge can be captured from the abundance of information, to create significant business value; on the other hand, it doesn’t take so long for that knowledge to become a commodity once the market is exposed to it. With overwhelming growth of information and shortened knowledge cycle, today's digital workforce must develop the hybrid learning habit in order to build professional competency and unlock their performance and potential.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8+million page views with about #5100+ 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, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. 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.

Three Questions to Assess IT Maturity

Organizations today are over-complex and hyper-competitive, the management continues to keep a business running, but lack of insight on how well their organization is doing for the long term. IT is the business inside the business. As businesses embark on the “Digital Era” of computing and managing by taking logical but iterative steps for reaching the next stage of business maturity, IT assessment is a great way to help identify what is right and wrong in your environment and how you can make continuous improvement, to improve overall IT manageability, performance, adaptability, flexibility, and maturity.

How technically-oriented the business is in general: We live in a technology world and every day more and more technology affects the way we live, think, and work. Nowadays IT is like the backbone of the business. many forward-looking organizations declare they are in the information management business. With IT as the linchpin, modern digital organizations are not just the sum of functional pieces, but an integral whole to maximize its performance. IT maturity is proportional to the overall business maturity. Business initiatives today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation or information refinement. A company must leverage IT and encompass all of the relevant disciplines in place and actively monitor emerging business opportunities in order to recognize and act on them in a time frame that will yield strategic advantages. How technically-oriented the business is depends on how seamlessly IT can be integrated to the business and how well IT and business can work collaboratively to ensure the business as a whole maximizing its performance and unleashing the full digital potential. Running an IT savvy business is not just about playing some cool technology gadgets, it needs to expand digital in every dimension of the business, to optimize underlying functions and processes, streamline information flow, and connect business to the ecosystem for involving customers and business partners in the digital dialogs to co-solving problems and co-creating knowledge. IT has to continue working together with businesses to find out what they need and develop tailored business solutions side by side to advance the company.

Does the company ever appreciate the benefits of IT? Is IT the competitive necessity or the differentiated advantage of the business? Many think the new way of running the business is the management through Information Technological lens. However, in reality, there are still a lot of IT organizations being perceived as a cost center and back office function. Businesses do not show enough appreciation of the benefit gained from IT either because they don’t have a clear understanding of their IT organization or they haven't provided IT leaders opportunities to lead change proactively. When there is a discrepancy between IT perception of itself and the user perception of IT, the top management must work closely to understand the situation and make an objective assessment if IT maturity - Is IT the competitive necessity or the differentiated advantage of the business? The idea that the IT organization is overlooked as a digital driver and is being bypassed by business units comes at an odd time when you consider the robust new technology prospects and pervasive information influence. IT leaders must have a deep understanding of the business model and how organizations make the profit as well. In the end, it is not about technology, but what technology can do when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to deliver strategic differentiation, inspire and facilitate innovation across the technology and business interface. IT is on demand. But to gain respect and appreciation from the business, IT management must keep evolving, communicating, and adapting.

What’s the role of CIO, and does IT leader have a seat at the big table?
Traditional CIOs are often perceived as the tactical manager, controller, or order taker. But digital CIOs need to become the strategic business advisor, change agent, or even the “constructive disruptor.” The board and top leadership team should help to define the CIO role in the same as the other CXO roles have been defined. The digital CIO should sit on the executive board as the “digital transformer” because it is critical that the CIO can contribute to strategy making, and IT department effectively enables, facilitates the business strategy and objectives, and ultimately orchestrates the digital transformation. Ideally, the CIO should be a serious partner in the inner circle to creating value-added strategies and enabling deeper insights into the opportunities IT can do. CIOs need to not only get their voice heard but also figure out how to communicate persuasively and build the trustful relationship with the business. IT leaders must keep in mind which performance indicators best measure IT ability to deliver business value. IT performance metrics need to evolve to something that matters to the varying business audience, at the same time that “business sentiment” needs to get put into something more tangible.

Great opportunity, danger, and disruption are around every corner. Business needs to be the advocate of IT-driven change or business transformation. The journey of improving business maturity is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Organizations rely more and more on technology; the IT department has more and more to overcome. Making an objective assessment is always a critical step to run a high performance IT organization. To catalyze business, IT has to recharge itself. It is certainly critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, the source of knowledge, innovations/adaptations and customer centricity. It is necessary for the coherent use of various already known concepts. To improve IT maturity, the forward-looking IT leaders must be able to develop and optimize the IT function within itself and scale the best practice to the company scope, and ultimately improve the business maturity of the entire company.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Monthly “100 Creativity Ingredients” Book Tuning: Dare to Be Creative Nov. 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 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.

                        Dare to Be Creative


Does Passion Fuel Creativity? Passion is an emotion, which is something that comes from within, the bottom of your heart, with the strong sense of connection with "self," not only the reasoning of your mind. What fuels passion? It is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. It comes both from heart and mind. Does passion stimulate creativity? How to discover your creative passion?

Dare to Be Creative? In order to move the organization/industry/society forward and step into the "VUCA" digital new normal. Creativity needs a problem to solve, and a creative mind needs a purpose. Business leaders must understand that not all of the stakeholders will move through the change curve at the same speed and they should convey a clear message and communicate relentlessly to inspire creativity and spark innovation.

Can Conflict Stimulate Creativity Wherever there’re groups of people, there’re conflicts. People vary in their ideology, cognizance, perceptions, and priorities; and they react to situations in different ways. Therefore, conflict is perhaps inevitable. Conflict can have both a positive and negative effect depending on the cause of conflict as well as how to deal with it. On the bright side, conflict can stimulate creative thinking or innovative solutions when solving it positively; it may cause damage and negative impact if not handling properly.?

Does Dissatisfaction Trigger Creativity Creative people are inspired to think and work nearly every day on creating and inspiring; they are not satisfied with conventional thinking and repetitive work; they are motivated to explore new possibilities and keep innovating. Fundamentally creativity is about changes, to pursue a progress or discover a better way to do things. Does dissatisfaction trigger creativity?

Enforcing Creativity in the Digital Organization Many forward-looking organizations are shifting from the industrial silo mode to interconnected innovation mode. Innovation is a systematic process to transform novel ideas for achieving its business value. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity. But collectively, how does creativity manifest itself in the workplace? What's the best work environment for creativity? And how to put people at the center of business? Here is the creativity triangle with three vertices in the digital organization.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5100th 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.

Shaping an Effective IT Digitalization Agenda

IT leaders should build a comprehensive agenda with a few crucial highlights to drive digital transformation with focus.

IT becomes so critically, many times, it is a determining success factor for building long-term business competencies. However, many traditional IT organizations are still perceived as a cost center and get stuck at the lower level of business maturity. At the dawn of the digital transformation, IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibility as a true business partner. Information Technology should be seen by any business as a “digital game changer.” But from here to there is not some spontaneous activities, IT leaders need to clarify the following mysteries for shaping an effective IT digitalization agenda, set the right priority to run a high-performance digital organization.

Do you have an objective assessment of IT maturity? Can you frame the top priority issues accurately? The ultimate goals of IT digitalization are to improve IT performance, unlock its potential and amplify digital effect in every dimension of the business. IT assessment is a great way to help identify what is right and wrong in your environment and how you can keep optimizing processes, improving management disciplines, and leveraging limited resource and time to do things really matter. IT assessment needs to include techniques such as pure health check techniques, customers feedback, business partner relationship analysis, cost estimation which includes operational cost, financials, IT vendor cost, people cost, or calculation of cost to fix varying problems such as structural quality, redundant processes or technology update, as well as those key elements which can be applied to give a holistic picture of what is working or not. To shape an effective IT digitalization agenda, the CIO has to make a priority choice based on ROI and risks. It is important to have IT resources, assets, and talent aligned with business strategies and objectives. It is also critical to have IT resources refined to the point to make sure that IT is nimble and adaptable to changing business demands in a timely fashion and it can be reapplied to altering business priorities. Setting priority to leverage limited resources and talent to maximizing business value is an important step in unlocking business performance and climbing organizational maturity.

Are you channeling the business flow - information flow, idea flow, communication flow, and thus, organizational flow? We are moving from a considerably static industrial age with information scarcity to the digital age with knowledge abundance. To adapt to the increasing pace of changes, it is important to create a dynamic business environment that enables information and knowledge flow. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to operate smoothly and adapt to change effortlessly. CIOs need to have information technology insight and foresight upon potential opportunities to retool business, re-imagine growth possibilities and lead digitalization effectively. A CIO must also have the ability to see the ideas of others and transform them into action. Though every executive should make their voice heard and have an opportunity and responsibility to participate in the digital dialog and to come up with innovative ideas, most of the business functions can make process innovation within their division. IT, on the other hand, has much more of an opportunity to enable incremental top-line and bottom-line value across the business, not just within IT, but cross-organizational scope. Thus, IT leaders play a critical role in channeling business flow, fine-tune underlying organizational structures and business processes to streamline communication flow, knowledge flow, idea flow, and therefore, business flow and achieve digital premium.

Can you accumulate IT capital and build IT-enabled business competency? There are both tangible and intangible business capitals need to be managed well. Human Capital -including all the talent, competencies, and experience of employees and managers. Information Capital - including all data which can be refined into business knowledge and insight. Structural Capital - including knowledge, processes, software and intellectual property. Relationship Capital -including all key external relationships that drive business growth, with customers, suppliers, partners, outsourcing and financing partners, to name a few. Etc. IT leaders are able to accumulate varying IT capitals and build IT-enabled business competency. With advancements in information and technology, CIOs and IT staff should take a leadership role in identifying, assessing, designing, coordinating, implementing, and revising opportunities for transforming the business to get digital ready. The digital CIO as a C-Level role is able to catch technology trends, apply IT capital and resources to develop strategic competencies of the business and drive the capability-based digitalization.

Are you crafting sustainable change and leading digital transformation steadfastly? Change is the new normal. However, change is not for its own sake, every change needs to have a noble business purpose, and IT as a change agent needs to well engage business conversations. The change management system needs to be the alerts you put in place that act as tuning force to enable you viewing things and harmonizing what's going on. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. Alignment with organizational design, enterprise architecture, and program office functions is ultimately where you need to be to really make a difference. The CIO is at a unique position in change and business transformation, they need to handle it cautiously but firmly. It should be driven by business needs and goals rather than IT requirement, and then, it is easier to get peer collaboration and enhance IT reputation as a change agent. To make change sustainable, it’s time to make the shift from process-driven to people-centric change management, and solve change inertia or digital stagnation from the mindset level. Because change cannot be completely manipulated from top-down, it starts with the mindset and encourages positive behaviors. Change Management is about mentoring the human side of the business through a profound and unsettling change

Can IT create multidimensional business value and convey them persuasively? The business value itself is a multi-dimensional concept, such as seamless customer experiences, optimal business products, service, or commercial value proposition, a social value system which deals with and provides context for varying interest and need. IT contribution to business value does not come from the technology itself, but from the change that IT both shapes and enables. More broadly speaking, IT is about distributing and sharing intelligence on the scale and enabling the business to achieve their visions and goals. IT needs to first understand what the business is, what their pain points are, identify areas for improvement and then those that can be improved with IT. IT needs to develop a systematic measure approach to assessing its multi-dimensional value beyond just monetary benefit. IT leaders are not only good at creating value but also know how to convey them persuasively and lead to recognition of the efforts by the executive peers, and thus the perception of the value of IT, to enforce IT as the trustful business partner. They will receive greater esteem within the business and in the relevant industry & ecosystem.

IT leaders should build a comprehensive agenda with a few crucial highlights to drive digital transformation with focus. With continuous disruptions often driven by technologies, IT leaders need to have the strategic mindset and skillset for contributing to business problem defining and solving. Now it is a great opportunity for CIOs to practice innovative leadership and demonstrate the execution of responsibility by leveraging unique IT knowledge and capability to foster innovation and build business competency.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Monthly Foresight: The Future of Work and Organization Nov. 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 Future of Work and Organization


Running a Future-Driven Digital Organization: Digital organizations are the living systems which keep growing and maturing. Organization of the Future is an organization designed openly for anyone with ideas on how human organizations ought to be contrived in the face of the “VUCA” digital new normal, hyperconnectivity and fierce competition. Reimaging the future of business is exciting, but investigating the different path for unlocking business performance and potential needs to take a systematic approach and develop it into a more solid form. Digital leaders must realize that you cannot wait until there is an immediate pressing task, continuous adaptability is necessary in an ever-changing world, in order to run a future-driven digital organization.

Running a “Boundaryless” Digital Organization? Today’s digital businesses are nonlinear, volatile, interdependent, and uncertain. Digital blurs the geographical, functional, organizational, and even industrial borders nowadays. It means that organizations today need to be fast and flexible, have less boundary but better abilities for dots connections Tso that the business can adapt to changes effectively and innovate continually. Here are three aspects of running a “boundaryless” digital organization.

The “Futuristic” Digital Board When we jump into the digital future of “VUCA” new normal –Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, the digital leadership today must be able to steer the organization in the right direction. Corporate boards today mostly composed of seasoned business executives are no longer just the controller to ensure business compliance, they should have a clear business vision to predict emerging trends in the business, technology or industry. So, they can guide the executive team in the right direction and play the management advising role effortlessly. To discuss further: What is the profile of the “futuristic” digital boards, what’s the business insight those boards can offer and what are the great benefits they can provide for the business’s long-term prosperity?

Digital Master Chapter VIII Introduction: Digital Workforce? The future of work will remain “imperfect”; more stress, faster deadlines, reduced the budget, etc. However, the digital workplace is more flexible and productive, propelled by technology to affect where we work, how we work and at what time we choose to work. Our reach becomes global, distance disappears and connectivity increases, the future of work is indeed more fun, purposeful and intelligent.

Reimagine the Future of the business for Exploring the Digital Minefield Innovatively The very characteristics of the emerging digital era are velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, with the faster pace of changes and exponential growth of information. The digital companies are hyperconnected and interdependent. They have amazing digital traits such as adaptability, differentiated competency, innovation, customer-centricity, empathy, and participation. The organization of the future is designed openly for anyone with ideas on how human organizations ought to be contrived in face of “VUCA” digital new normal and explore the digital minefield innovatively.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5100th 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.

Get “Out of Fear” to Boost Creativity

In the digital age, a “fearless” mind has open-minded thinking, bold perspectives, and courage to be creative.

Creativity is about connecting unusual dots. Every person has the ability to be creative, just tearing down the mental barriers they have, or understanding the emotion they experience and tapping in their inherent abilities. Fear has always been one of the major obstacles to be creative--fear of failure, fear of loss of control, fear of being different, etc. Fear can paralyze an individual to do nothing or become a manipulated mentality to spur negative emotions and stifle creativity. How to get “out of fear” to boot creative energy?


Openness: Do not be afraid to say what we think or make a fool. The ideas come and go and, above all, we must instead leave them free, creativity is just like the fountain flow from the within; do not be afraid to say what we think or make a fool. Be fooled if we must, and get out of the "fear" that blocks our own genius, learn how to liberate the imagination and come up with a new approach to the world. Being creative means you need to get used to stepping outside that old box to unfamiliar territory, you discover and explore your own path. Fundamentally creativity is about changes, to pursue a progress or discover a better way to do things.

Inquisitiveness: Dare a little to ask "Why" or "Why not," is a critical step to spur creativity. Creative people not only ask deep “WHY”s to diagnose the root cause of problems but also ask the open-ended questions such as “WHY NOT” or “What If” to spur creativity, to break down “we always do things like that” mentality and discover innovative ways to do things. They refuse to be bound by constraints and limitations and a pursuit of possibilities rather than impossibilities. Innovation requires thinking beyond, as opposed to outside the box, altering or changing the frame of reference to create previously unconsidered solutions. It is imperative for improving the organization's culture to one that is more innovative, inspires creativity, celebrates or allows failure. If failure is inevitable, fail fast, and fail forward.

Courage: Fear of consequences stifles creativity. It takes courage to get out of fear for releasing creative energy. Creativity is indispensable because it is about breaking down conventional wisdom -where you have left the confines of other people's thoughts, a certain mental, psychological, and conditional chemistry is needed to break-away from thoughts that others have thought about. Thinking outside the box is all about "rule breaking"; the more "unruly" you are, the more creative you become. After breaking the outdated rules, you are "outside the box." Creativity requires a certain tolerance for and acceptance of failure, which is more than just risk tolerance, it’s courage.

In the digital age, a “fearless” mind has open-minded thinking, bold perspectives, and courage to be creative. It takes confidence and intelligence to overcome the “fear of failure” - although it comes dressed in many disguises. Innovators need to rise above the status quo and take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the innovation process from the get-go and push the business and the world forward.

Develop a Learning Organization and Build Breakthrough Innovation Competency

Every organization is different, every innovation initiative is also unique, there is no one size fitting all formulas or practices to build breakthrough innovation competency.

With increasing pace of changes and cutting throat competitions, to effectively respond to the digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways to build their innovation competency, broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams. In reality, the true innovation always spurs certain disruptions otherwise it is not innovation. Nowadays innovation can occur anywhere in the organization, and frankly, it has to occur in every aspect of the organization, information is the most time-intensive piece of digital innovation. How can companies develop a learning organization and take a structural way to manage innovation, especially breakthrough innovations which are disruptive and will change your organizations in many fields? You need new technology, new processes, new knowledge, maybe a new business model. All that makes them very risky but on the other hand, you will get very great chances and opportunities for achieving leapfrog results.

Spot innovators and develop individuals’ creativity: The digital era upon us is about innovation. The variety of innovation research papers show that organizations that have earned a spot as the most innovative tend to have a larger proportion of innovative employees than organization not on the lists have. Innovators present creatively disruptive traits, disrupt old ways, and inspire better ways to do things. How can organizations hire, retain, and recognize innovators - those energetic individuals with the types of unique characteristics which can help organizations catalyze the culture of creativity and create an optimal environment for innovation? Being innovative is less about thinking alike, more about thinking differently. Being a digital innovator means you need to break down silo thinking, breakthrough conventional wisdom and challenge the status quo. Spot innovators based on how they think, their intellectual curiosity, their ability to connect the dots, and their learning agility. Innovators can ask open questions, identify blind spots or mind gaps, in order to identify the issues behind the scenes; they can shape a bigger box of thinking, think outside of the company, industry, or many other boundaries. In short, innovators obviously think differently- problem-solving is part of their DNA whether it is in the invention, communication, marketing, or repurposing something already being there. Organizations should appreciate their innovators because they can lift the business out of the stagnation and leap the company toward the next level of the growth cycle.

Develop the organizational level innovation competency: Due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, often, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. It is a strategic imperative to develop the organizational level innovation competency. Innovation can happen anywhere across the organization and its ecosystem. When looking at businesses or organizations, the most powerful innovation navigation system involves tapping the organization's ecosystem for collective perspectives and knitting all critical business elements such as people, process, and technology into differentiated innovation competency. To develop the organizational level innovation capability, businesses need to have a balanced portfolio of innovation projects, across the matrix of three types of innovation (process, product/service, business model) and three degrees of innovation (incremental, substantial, breakthrough). There are methodological and outcome differences between managing incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation. First, the incremental innovation always starts with a small objective/aim to achieve; but often breakthrough innovation starts with a problem, having no solution in the current situation. You know what you want but do not know how. Second, incremental innovation generally brings short-term value additions but breakthrough innovation differs from incremental innovation to be a "game changer." Every organization needs to develop tailored innovation principles, methodologies, practices by leveraging effective technologies, tools or methodologies and apply them wisely with the expertise to really add value or drive innovation and develop the organizational level innovation competency.

Build a learning organization: Knowledge is the foundation of innovation. Learning organizations are comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, paradoxes and they have a penchant for candor. A learning organization is one in which leaders encourage learning-doing as the iterative continuum; the majority of the employees at all levels are open to new ideas, experimentation with new ways of doing things, learning from instead of condemning or punishing mistakes, errors. Knowledge is shared instead of hoarding; it also involves those tasks 'which enable the transfer of learning from the backend to frontend employees and vice versa. The business is in the healthy state of flow - information flow, idea flow, and mind flow. It is often true that unless there is a disruption, people very rarely move out of their comfort zone. In fact, the growth is not possible unless people are willing to move out of their comfort zone. Practicing innovation and intrapreneurship is about creating the future via learning, experimenting, and discovering. Developing people’s innovativeness and the business systems’ innovation capability raise different "learning" issues that organizations must deal with smoothly. 'The “adaptive learning” must be joined by “generative learning,” which is the type of learning that enhances our 'capacity to create,’ and develop the collective innovation competency.

Every organization is different, every innovation initiative is also unique, there is no one size fitting all formulas or practices to develop a learning organization and build breakthrough innovation competency. Digital leaders should weave an enriched innovation ecosystem which enables systematic innovation management, with critical components such as innovation leadership, culture, processes, tools, recognition systems measurements, and risk approach. It is a journey, not just a destination.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 11/15/2018

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


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with 5100+ 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.

Three Practices to Drive Digitalization Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way the business is conducted and expand business transformation to the multiple directions. There is no one size fits all formula to pursue it. Understanding that digital business development is multifaceted. It has to permeate into business vision, strategy, functions, communication, processes, and culture. etc. It is the transformation that is reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are the part of the environments in which we live, and the way we think, work and solve problems. Here are three practices to adapt to the new normal of the business world, make change proactively and drive digitalization effortlessly.

An Innovative Board: Setting Guidelines to Catalyze Innovation Digital businesses encourage autonomy and innovation. The corporate board plays a critical role in making good policies and setting right guidelines to catalyze innovation. Digital principles provide a more robust foundation that makes it possible to straightforwardly derive solution-level governance and ensure the effectiveness of innovation management practices. Sharpening innovative “directorship” for getting digital ready is imperative for setting the top leadership tone to rejuvenate the culture of creativity and run a highly innovative digital organization.

Does Passion Fuel Creativity? Passion is an emotion, which is something that comes from within, the bottom of your heart, with the strong sense of connection with "self," not only the reasoning of your mind. What fuels passion? It is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. It comes both from heart and mind. Does passion stimulate creativity? How to discover your creative passion?

Running Digital IT with Pragmatic Advancement With increasing pace of changes and emerging on-demand IT service models, many IT organizations are at the crossroad to either transform themselves as the strategic business partner or gradually turn to be irrelevant. When IT becomes only the mechanism for realizing a vision described by other C-level executives, it becomes a commodity. An effective CIO is a true business partner! Leading CIOs must be able to convey the technological vision, run a high-performance digital IT organization with pragmatic advancement and drive changes proactively.

Heralding an Ecological Digital Organization Digitalization makes a profound impact from a specific function to the business as a whole, building an organization of the future is not too far away. Digital organizations are hyperconnected and interdependent. They need to have an in-depth understanding of gains and pains of organizational design and development. They should also renew themselves periodically to cope with the change effectively to the best of their ability. Heralding an ecological digital organization need to emphasize participation, relationships, communication, and collaboration and unlock business performance and potential continually.

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.

Does Positive Thinking Catalyze Creativity

Every person has the ability to be creative, just tearing down the mental barriers you have and tapping in your inherent ability.

Creativity seems to have emerged with an instinct for survival, basic tools for hunting and gathering, the "must-have" skill for today’s digital professionals. There is a connection, with emotional equivalents, for surviving each day. Developing creativity requires internal motivation, self-awareness, and a positive attitude.

The positive people see the bright side, they have a special mindset that rain or shine, leading them to take risks and develop creativity: Creative people are inspired to think and work nearly every day on creating, they are not waiting for the “Aha” moment, but proactively stimulate the new energy of fresh thinking. What matters is their ability to harness and leverage them and gain from it for the greater good. Indeed, attitude matters, positivity plus adaptation catalyze creativity. Human's adaptation has something to do with survival instincts and strengths. Creative problem-solving depends on the person who faces a situation, how they understand the problem, how they understand themselves, harness and leverage the right attributes within themselves, thinking out of the box in a positive way and handle the problem innovatively. In today's world, adaptation seems slightly tricky, and being a little more creative than others gives individuals a certain edge to succeed. It is "the art of being alive."

A positive mental attitude can catalyze creativity because the mind is focused on strength, opportunities, and inspire creative thinking: Creativity is the high-level intelligence. As the ability to think and produce, creativity requires a certain degree of independence and mental balance, the proper psychological level of inner security, positive attitude, and genuine autonomy. Positivity and negativity reflect the states of mind or heart and they may affect the approach one takes to accomplish a task. To be an innovator, an individual's creative mentality, proactive attitudes, the blend of knowledge and ingenuity, and the right dose of confidence are all valid within the context of his or her creative intelligence. Creative strength comes close to "staying power" or stamina. People who 'think' differently can help to complement different viewpoints, have the ability to bend and try to understand other people's perspective--without losing self, produce a wide range of options, and manage creative solutions.


Positivity enforces resilience; resilience strengthens creativity: Creativity is indispensable because through creativity, the full cycle of imagining, testing the hypothesis, failing, entreating, and improving, new knowledge is developed, and the fresh insight is captured to understand the problem from the different angle, and further solve the old or emerging problems in the better way. Many times, you must be willing to fail a lot and be very persistent to make a successful innovation journey. Resiliency is about bouncing forward- includes bouncing back. It's the ability to respond to change, to recover quickly from setbacks, as well as the capacity to respond to the unexpected in a way that increases gain or minimizes loss. Remember resilient people feel hurt and pain; they have disappointments, they sense failure; they just don't let negative experiences restrict them or scare them away. It’s their positive attitude to overcome the challenge and strengthen their creativity.

Every person has the ability to be creative, just tearing down the mental barriers you have and tapping in your inherent ability. Creativity has many forms and manifestations. By manifesting creativity from an individual endeavor to a collective effort, the horizon of creativity is expanded and the collective creative potential can be unleashed.



Explore Blue Ocean and Shape Digital Organization

 The shape, size, volume, and color of digitalization keep evolving. It’s like many rivers merged into the blue ocean.

We are living in a complex world where inventions, developments, and conflicts are continuously changing, that makes it impossible to have a complete knowledge and understanding of many issues facing the business today. The digital world today with “VUCA” new normal is just like the big sea, not always calm, but full of turbulence and unpredictability. “VUCA” is an acronym used to describe or reflect on volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the digital new normal. In the digital age, any business can be at risk for survival at any minute due to continuous digital disruptions, fierce competitions, and dynamic business reality. In the world moves too fast, marketing, finance, technology, and leadership are all intertwined, how can organizations explore their blue ocean and take the evolutionary journey to get digital ready?

Explore the blue ocean of mindset: Our mind as a complex system, like the blue ocean, is often difficult to understand and grasp, hard to predict, but full of treasures and mysteries. Digital professionals today need to learn how to explore the variety of thinking, just like going to treasure hunt at the adventurous journey to explore the blue ocean. Thinking, in general, is about discovery, to understand things with widely different perspectives figure out the holistic point of view. Digital fluidity enables free thinking, intuition, creativity, and nonlinear reasoning. On the business navigation dimension, we live in the digital era, it requires that we move from mindset to mind flow, from fixed mind to growth mind; from feeling stuck to embracing changes. Creativity clearly comes from "opening" of the mind and it is at the intersection of knowledge and imagination. Creative people are able to expand the boundaries of knowledge, like swim in the blue ocean for treasure hunting. When you have dived into the blue ocean of mindset, gone through the multi-dimensional analysis or process, nonlinear thinking helps you understand things systematically, embracing the emergent changes or properties, comprehending dynamics, inductions or deductions, understanding variables, interfaces, and interaction for connecting unusual dots to spark creativity, or knowing the holism via systems thinking. When you practice all sorts of thought processes, you will master the profound thinking, just like know how to swim in the blue ocean.

Dive into the information blue ocean to discover business growth opportunities: Information is the most invaluable commodity individuals and organizations produce in the digital environment in which they currently function. In fact, in this information-abundant digital age, there isn't really much of an enterprise without the massive oceans of information that flow through the enterprise at any given split second. It’s one of the most invaluable business assets which need to be managed successfully, also one of the biggest business challenges which should be overcome smoothly. In reality, many organizations feel overwhelming by the exponential growth of information. The point is that you have to learn how to swim in the rough sea of information in which we live. Information does not live alone but permeates to everywhere in the businesses. Thus, the value of information is not isolated. You must not feel overloaded, and learn how to manage it effortlessly. The highly effective digital organization has a higher level of responsiveness because information can flow to the right people to allow them making the right decisions at the right time, bring better results and improve business fluidity. You need to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of your business, your products, and resources; and then, explore new business opportunities and prevent risks by refined information and captured insight.

Explore the innovation blue ocean and understand the dynamic business ecosystem: Enterprises have always been parts of simple or complex ecosystems. That is the fundamental nature of the marketplace and the environment within which the enterprise functions. Besides “keeping the lights on,” can they explore the innovation blue ocean to build their differentiative business competency. Streamlining idea flow is not an easy task. There is a consensus that the external environment is an important antecedent of spurring innovation. It is important to capture the rising trends and take advantage of changes in the external environment to spur breakthrough innovation. The innovative appetite and aptitude decide the future of the business. How far you can swim and how deeply you can dive will directly impact your innovation competency. In order to innovate, an enterprise has to be linked to the many and varied “touch points” between itself and the marketplace environment of which it is a part, and something you do not accomplish overnight. The more ambitious, radical, and market-changing innovations are specifically enabled by connecting key assets and resources in their context and vicinity digitally to the resource-rich innovation clusters across the hyperconnected business ecosystem to create synergy. Breakthrough Innovation is disruptive and will change your organization in many fields. Just like you dive into the deeper sea for treasure hunting. All that makes them very risky but potentially high rewarding.

Digitalization is inspirational, iterative, and progressive. The outlines of the fully digitalized world have long been sketched, but the shape, size, volume, and color of digitalization keep evolving. It’s like many rivers merged into the sea. It’s important to create or explore the blue ocean for spotting unique opportunities to increase business revenues and build differentiated business competency to beat the fierce competition effortlessly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Monthly “Dot Connections”: “Simplicity” Dot Connection Nov. 2018



The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Organization of the Future is an organization designed openly for anyone with ideas on how human organizations ought to be contrived in the face of the strategic imperatives of the digital era. The work is not the place you go, but a live organization and an experiment lab you can connect the future dots.

                

Simplicity Dot Connection


Innovation & Simplicity? Innovation is the light every forward-looking organization is pursuing now; however, very few companies can well articulate their innovation process. Effective innovation requires a suitable process as part of the wider holistic 'system' for innovation, encompassing other key aspects such as culture, leadership, and strategy, but how to follow the “simplicity” principle when managing innovation. The following five quotes may bring certain insight.

Simplicity vs. Complexity? Simplicity vs complexity is an age-old dilemma even in English Grammar! The simplicity and the complexity are just opposite ends of the same spectrum. That compounds all "problems." You need complexity to understand and appreciate the simplicity and vice versa. It's all about balance and perception.

Simplicity as a Principle 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 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. So how to address complexity, and what's the advantage to set simplicity as a principle and live with it?

“Simplexity” as the Characteristic of Digital Maturity Modern businesses become over-complex every day, they also become part of the dynamic and complex digital ecosystem. If we accept the business and the world are complex, somewhat unpredictable or not completely predictable, we have to accept uncertainty. Because uncertainty comes with complexity. Simplicity vs. complexity is not only an age-old dilemma but also the opposite ends of the same spectrum. Complexity can either stimulate or stifle innovation. In fact, “Simplexity” is a portmanteau word to reflect the digital reality and how to strike the right balance to achieve the next level of digital maturity.

The Systems Thinking about ‘Complexity’ vs.‘Complicatedness’?
The concept labeled ‘complicatedness’ is often confused with the concept labeled 'complexity.' From the dictionary, ‘complicated’ is difficult to understand. Complexity is not simple, which is composed of various elements and intertwined and interdependent. What’s the further Systems Thinking about a complex system and complicated system?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5100th 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.

Enforcing Creativity in the Digital Organization

The creative workplace is based on a triangle with three vertices - culture, method, and people.


Many forward-looking organizations are shifting from the industrial silo mode to interconnected innovation mode. Innovation is a systematic process to transform novel ideas for achieving its business value. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity. But collectively, how does creativity manifest itself in the workplace? What's the best work environment for creativity? And how to put people at the center of business? Here is the creativity triangle with three vertices in the digital organization.

Culture: Developing creativity is a long-term endeavor. Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment. A culture of creativity must be cultivated. The right kind of mind is the essential feature of real innovation. The collective mindsets shape the culture of the business. Culture must be fostered from the board of directors downwards; otherwise, no real sponsorship takes place. Make sure the work environment encourages creativity and collaborative thinking, help employees at all levels within an organization, from top leaders to front-line employees, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and explore opportunities in new and innovative ways. Employees should be encouraged to think out of the box, take reasonable risks, go beyond their defined roles and demonstrate their intellectual capabilities to bring positive changes. Creative culture is usually outward-looking rather than insular, people are more willing to accept a degree of risks and experimentation, etc. Thus, it is important to create a safe environment for learning from failures. Innovation needs to become your business routine, you have to live it and breathe it every day.

Methodology: Digital workplace is fluid, alive, creative and productive. Organizations need to invest in the cultivation of capacity for innovation. To build a creative working environment, the democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control. Such major remolding or breaking of paradigms means loosening structures and challenging consensus until the new way is adopted and becomes the new structure or paradigm. The scientific methodology is required for achieving high performance, facilitating creativity teams and providing proper creativity tools. In an ideal digital workplace, the organizational structure needs to be solid enough to keep people or things in order; but fluid enough to keep information and idea flow. The most creative digital workplace is the one where collaboration and sharing are the norms. An organization that has a lightweight process to allow ideas to flow, get protected, channeled and nurtured will succeed more often than an organization that has overly rigid processes and functional silos. There are both “hard” factors such as policy, process, performance, and “soft” factors such as culture, leadership, communication to mix together coherently in order to make the digital innovation implementable and sustainable.

People: Innovators often prefer to “do things differently.” Creative people are typically disrespectful of outdated rules, and their creativity is really their way of breaking out of or reframing how we see the world. They have insight and transdisciplinarity to think and work across disciplines and discover better solutions to complex problems. They can ask open questions, identify blind spots or mind gaps. Creativity relates to intelligence, empathy, idealism, and process understanding. Because creativity is both nature and nurtured. Creativity can also be developed based on a triangle with three vertices: altitude, attitude, aptitude. People must enthusiastically participate, get proper empowerment and notice that their initiatives do arrive at the end. Hence, businesses today should spot and recognize their innovators who can rise above the status quo, take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process, and maximize the full potential of the digital organization. Great leaders are creative themselves, who can inspire, provoke, empower, and enable talent growth, provide the direction when needed and give others time, space, and freedom to create. They will build up a working environment to nurture creativity, enable dot-connecting activities such as cross-functional communication and collaboration, and encourage the freedom of thinking and action.

Creativity is a long-term endeavor. There’s no one size global solution to develop a creative working environment, but there are certainly significant core principles and common practices to experiment and experience. By gaining an in-depth understanding of the creativity triangle, digital leaders can create a suitable and hybrid (physical + virtual) environment to stimulate creativity, foster innovation, and measure achieved high performance business result effectively.

Sketch a Vivid Picture of the Digital Organization

Digital leaders are the artists who should learn how to master the “art of possible,” which can only be achieved through vision, communication, interdisciplinary management approach, and continuous learning and practices.

The digital transformation, like the computer technology revolution itself, is a long journey. The outlines of the fully digitalized world have long been sketched, now the phenomenon of digitalization is reaching the inflection point. The high mature digital organization is fluid, boundaryless, and also complex. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of nonlinear interactions in the ever-expansive digital ecosystem. Business leaders today are like scientists who try to figure out their digital formulas for running the new flavor of the business and taking the logical steps on the journey of digitalization. They also like artists who need to select their preferred styles to either sketch a contemporary art piece or paint an abstract picture for fluently expressing digitalization happening in this cognitively and culturally diverse, hyperconnected and interdependent, globally influenced and the technologically advancing world.

Is the digital leader's vision blueprint, business model canvas, and digitalization roadmap impressive and persuasive: To clear the path, whether that is the elimination of obstacles or to provide coaching and guidance, the digital leaders should present their vision blueprint; and have a very clear understanding of why their businesses exist, the value they bring to customers and the very reason for digital transformation. They would also show off their business model canvas which vividly sketches how the pieces of a business fit together; an entire frame of elements that describe the intents and constraints of an organization; they regularly use it to redesign and review the basic building blocks of a business and leverage it as a great planning tool. They can further draw (develop) the business planning which is dynamic, keep iterating, evolving learning and working on the rhythm of sustained products or services delivery. In more detail, they perhaps draw a comprehensive digitalization roadmap with a clear vision and a few impressive highlights to help the business navigate through uncharted water and blurred digital territories steadfastly. The digital world is dynamic, nonlinear, uncertain, and volatile. Define more than one way of achieving the goal. With those leadership masterwork mixing art and science, digital leaders today are able to vividly communicate, accurately judge the coming curves and obstacles on the digital path and get into actions in creative, positive, and productive ways that educate, support and celebrate every emotional step of change curves and take a collective digital transformation journey smoothly.

Is the digital leader's innovation painting contemporary or the fine art? Innovation is the science in the eyes of scientists; innovation is the art in the eyes of artists; innovation is the bridge between art and science. Creativity is a flow, an abstract, an imagination, and an association, or simply the unusual dots connection. Creativity is also full of colors and has many dimensions. Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and hybrid nature. Does that mean the digital leader’s innovation painting is perhaps the right mix of contemporary, abstract, and fine art? Innovation is what leads to differentiation. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. The essence of innovation is made of trying the new combination of known things to create new stuff and figure out the better way to do things. A good design like the great painting is much more than decoration. It is inspirational. It comes in the variety of flavors and there are many opportunities in an enterprise to master the design work. In practice, innovation needs to lay out different structures, thinking and solutions to allow the design to develop into its potential where organizations are combining all necessary and available components in imaginative and advantageous ways. The art of innovation is actually to simplify, that means to eliminate unnecessary layers of complication so that the better or more innovative solutions coming out.

Shall you draw the digital ecosystem as a water-colored or an abstract picture? Everything is interconnected and the business ecosystem becomes more interdependent and dynamic than ever. The digital ecosystem expands when the business community broadens its scope and consumes all sorts of resources. Imagine, visualize and identify the very characteristics of the digital world such as uncertainty, volatility, complexity, unpredictability, and ambiguity. The digital business is dynamic, fluid, and full of story. As the digital leader, shall you draw the digital ecosystem as a water-colored or an abstract picture? To effectively respond to the digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways with strategic planning to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive and scalable. Digitalization painting is definitely the modern art, to reach the high level of digital maturity, an organization of today or the future needs to be organized in such a way that it is a part of the modern world. Analogically, the digital organizations are like the switches connected to the dynamic ecosystem. To effectively respond to the new dynamic, digital leaders today need to understand the tide, wave, and the ripple effect of an evolving digital organization in order to manage changes seamlessly. Organizations need to awaken the ecosystem consciousness, start thinking about ways to influence their ecosystems and create new revenue streams while becoming more responsive and innovative.

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. Digital leaders are the artists who should learn how to master the “art of possible,” which can only be achieved through vision, communication, interdisciplinary management approach, and continuous learning and practices.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Monthly “Problem-Solving Master” Book Tuning: Solving Problems in a Structural Way Nov. 2018

Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver.

The purpose of Problem-Solving Master - Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problems Creatively“ is to throw some light on how to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems effortlessly. Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, show professional maturity, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver.

               

Solving Problems in a Structural Way


From Problem-Solving Conundrum to Solution-Driven Digital Continuum We are experiencing the major paradigm shift from the industrial machine age to the post-industrial information/ knowledge /insight/ digital ages at the societal level. These changes and transformations are reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are the part, and the way how we live, think and work. Running a business is fundamentally a problem-solving continuum. With lightweight digital technologies and well-educated digital workforce, can organizations today move from problem-solving conundrum to a solution-driven digital continuum?

How to Leverage Systems Thinking in Cause-Effect Analysis? Systems Thinking is searching for meaningful relationships both within these subsystems and between them; monitoring and observing links and feedback systems. That is complex. One thing that seems often to be left unconsidered is that in order to leverage Systems Thinking, one must have grown a brain capable of highly complex cognition to do cause-effect analysis, with the goals not to complicate a system, but to simplify and optimize via understanding the interconnectivity of system and digging through the root cause in order to solve the problem more effectively.

Minding Gaps for Building Superior Problem-Solving Capability Problem-solving is both art and science. Fundamentally, every job is to deal with problems big or small both from the long-term perspective or on the daily basis. We all develop reputations for being problem creators, problem definers or problem solvers. Though sometimes, even you have a good intention to solve problems but perhaps just fix the symptom, and causes more serious problems later on. So how to close gaps for building superior problem-solving capability?

Holistic Problem-Solving? “Holistic thinking" refers to a big picture mentality, and understand that the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts. Holistic thinking is the type of thinking practice that appreciates how underlying complexity generates the features and phenomena of interest to practitioners so that they can work with them accordingly. From the problem-solving perspective, what are the characteristics of situations or problems in which we should adopt holistic thinking? When is the trade-off more beneficial in adopting holistic thinking versus mechanistic thinking or linear logical thinking for improving problem-solving effectiveness?

How to Leverage Systems Thinking in Problem Diagnosing and Solving in the Digital Era? The world we live in is full of opportunities and problems. Many problems do exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured by our current language contextually, or often, they get lost in translation. In addition, there's the problem that the same word means different things to different people because they carry different emotional baggage or have cognitive differences. So what’re the best scenarios for problems diagnosing and problems solving? And how to leverage Systems Thinking in managing them?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about 5100+ 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.

An Innovative Board: Setting Guidelines to Catalyze Innovation

Sharpening innovative “directorship” for getting digital ready is imperative for setting the top leadership tone to rejuvenate the culture of creativity.

Digital businesses encourage autonomy and innovation. The corporate board plays a critical role in making good policies and setting right guidelines to catalyze innovation. Digital principles provide a more robust foundation that makes it possible to straightforwardly derive solution-level governance and ensure the effectiveness of innovation management practices. Sharpening innovative “directorship” for getting digital ready is imperative for setting the top leadership tone to rejuvenate the culture of creativity and run a highly innovative digital organization.

Take an oversight of the business’s innovation agenda: Innovation is about how to transform novel ideas to achieve their commercial value. The best point of business view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering the organization-wide capability. Innovation Management System includes policies, structure, and program that innovation managers can use to drive innovation.  Innovation is simply too important to delegate to the management without the board oversight. Because innovation is one of the crucial digital capabilities which are underpinned by varying business elements. The board can help to oversee innovation agenda by asking tough questions to evaluate innovation effectiveness: Has the company's definition of innovation been known and understood throughout the organization? Does the company dedicate sufficient human and financial resources to its innovation programs and structures? Do the company's innovators use the latest and best innovation tools and methods? Does the company have a balanced innovation portfolio with the right mix of incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation? Etc. An effective 'innovation system' is capable of supporting both widespread incremental innovations in products or services as well as the rarer 'step-change' innovations of working methodologies, business models and market positioning.

Setting remuneration policy and process to reflect the desire for the organization to be innovative: Creativity is a long-term endeavor. It must be cultivated. Culture must be fostered from the board of directors downwards; otherwise, no real sponsorship takes place. The three managerial tools for creating a culture of innovation are policies, programs, and structures. The spirit comes from the top. The senior leadership team such as the board can help to set the good policy for encouraging innovation and developing a culture of creativity. Cultural change in an organization begins with the involvement of the top management and their commitment to change. Tie innovations and the innovative culture to the organization's strategy. This ensures that innovations will be supported by management and by all stakeholders. Get these steps right, the board is doing a fantastic work for developing a world-class organization with a strong culture of innovation. In addition, ensure there is the rewarding system in place for praising employees that have brought in new business or exceeded a quota. A recognition system and high visibility for all positive contributions to innovation will help in creating a culture of innovation.


Monitor Innovation Management Performance: The variety of innovation studies showed that the innovation success rate is not proportional to the amount of R&D investment, which means the more money or resource you pour into the innovation initiative does not guarantee the higher ROI from innovation effort. Therefore, monitoring innovation management perforce is critical to improving the innovation management success rate. The board should ask management insightful questions about Innovation Process Effectiveness such as: How will it increase speed in the innovation process? How will it decrease risk in the innovation process” How will it effectively leverage diversity to create meaningfully unique ideas? How will it effectively use the power of stimulus to create meaningfully unique ideas? How will it help to reduce fear in the organization? The board needs to review executive level innovation scoreboard with important KPIs, to keep track of innovation progress and provide invaluable feedback, to justify the initial investment in the program and the initial results (intangible and no concrete, of course) more than to measure financial results. Assuming an organization believes that metrics can lead to continuous improvement and improve innovation effectiveness, it won’t be just a matter of explicit communicating the intention behind metrics, but a matter of guiding the leadership team via an understanding of the purpose of doing that and engaging on that, with the goal to build innovation capacity.

Corporate governance is to challenge the management and make sure that management is doing its job properly. The commitment from the top is very important for any change or innovation to be successful. The BoDs should exemplify innovative leadership, set good guidance to improve innovation success rate and lead the organization to achieve the long-term business prosperity.