Saturday, February 13, 2016

Digital Master #130: Three Levels of Digital Fluency

Digital fluency does not mean you only master one language, but multiple; only be skillful in one domain, but interdisciplinarity; not just see things from a single dimension but through different angles.

Organizations’ digitalization is surely a transformation journey, as it has to permeate into business vision, strategy, culture, communication, and processes. etc. If digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies; and to move a step further, digital fluency is the business capability to skillfully manage information lifecycle, to create fresh content enlightening customers; to gain contextual intelligence for solving complex problems; and more importantly to be fluently in innovation management for catalyzing business growth.

Content is more than just "important," it's the lynchpin of the overall digital experience: Digital is the age of customers. When developing customer relationship, it's the content that leaves the longest lasting impression, good or bad. Great content keeps people coming back, not shiny bells and whistles. Content which speaks to the user engages them more directly than any visual appeal could. Content are often not perfect - considering user flows (needs/wants/ expectations) via making a set of inquiries: a) what does the user want to know or do, b) what is logical content structure needed to do this, c) how can the information be packaged in UI to meet the users’ goals, d) does usability testing confirm this, e) do delivery considerations suggest modifications to the content structure, etc. The 'content first' mantra speaks to the user engages them more directly than any visual appeal could. Therefore, it is the type of digital fluency organizations need to master at for optimizing user experience and delight customers.

Contextual intelligence is a higher-level of digital fluency: Digital ecosystem is complex and volatile, for complex problem solving, understanding context is often the first and the important step in understanding, create the relevant context to make a more lasting solution - without it, you are working without any boundaries, or basis for understanding what you are doing. You always have to build a scaffold towards the solution so that capacity can be developed. Only then can the information be used the way it needs to be used.  Context is of utmost importance. The art and the science are in the creation of the context, which some people will perceive immediately. Context is the king, and the purpose makes the difference. Contextual Intelligence is a construct that involves the ability to recognize and diagnose the plethora of contextual factors inherent in an event or circumstance, then intentionally and intuitively adjust behaviors in order to exert influence in that context. Context is part of a polygon. Each vertex dynamically interacts with the other vertices. One vertex is cognitive perception. Another vertex is the expectation that there is more going on than just the image. Each vertex interacts with the other, change happens as it interacts. Being digital fluent in contextual intelligence aids us in understanding what’s relevant and what’s not. From a practical perspective, 'seeing' the context you are 'part' of, allows one to identify the leverage points of the system and then 'choose' the 'decisive' factors, in the attempt to achieve the set purpose. This accompanied by growing global diversity and constant pressure to innovate gives rise to continually changing contexts. In turn, these phenomena require leaders to respond and adapt to quickly changing contexts.

Digital fluency also means to have the better ability for dots connection across the geographical or generational boundaries: Digital is about hyperconnectivity. Creativity is about connecting the dots. In life we come across various experiences (exposure to various situations) as colorful dots, the more dots you have, the better chance your mind can connect them freely. How cleverly you connect your dots by leveraging your experiences and finding a solution to the problems is creativity which is also an important aspect of digital fluency. It could be an out of the box thinking or intuition. On the navigation dimension, a connecting mind, or collective minds in a business setting with digital fluency have more antennae focused on the trends and what’s going on in the world, or what'll it impact the next generation, and what group will have better cognitive diversity with a different opinion, independent thinking, decentralization, and aggregation.

Digital is fluid, digital is also complex. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "non-linear" interaction, you can't separate things properly or you cannot predict the actual effect of interaction straightforwardly. Therefore, digital fluency does not mean you only master one language, but multiple, only be skillful in one domain, but interdisciplinarity; not just see things from a single dimension but through different angles. And digital fluency takes practice, practice, and practice.


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